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Waiting for Godot

The plan was to do the update you read below after confirmation that Callum Kennedy has signed. While according to Brian Laws it’s “done and dusted”, the paperwork still hasn’t been done.

So just pretend that he has signed, and that the delay is down to us not having a pen that works/him getting the National Express down from Scunthorpe. To be honest, I can’t imagine him being gazumped…

If/when he does sign, that is the defence more or less sorted out. One assumes there will be an addition in the CB role as and when the right player comes up, I can’t imagine us not having one, but with luck the outright institutionalised shiteness of our back line has been put into the dustbin of history.

There hasn’t been too much more transfer traffic, although Frankie Merrifield is gone. It’s always a shame when a youngster gets released, although he was another player who found himself at the wrong club at the wrong stage of his career.

But then, the whole youth development system seems to be swept with a new broom, and you suspect that NA is proving a point getting shot of Merrifield and Huw Johnson – we need to develop players who will become first team regulars in future, and not ones we have to loan to Staines.

The OS is putting up a few articles recently about the first year pros – we’ve signed Callum Overton from BHA although it’s old news – and while it’s perfectly possible none will make it, at least they’ll get some increasingly proper development these days.

One should read what the guy involved with Southampton’s development says about how you need to bring out more than just talent these days. Obviously a Prem club is a lot more in-depth than the embryonic one of this League Two outfit, but the philosophy is one worth following.

That said, it’s still odd that according to Mark Robinson we’re still a few weeks away from putting in a new development coach. I would have hoped (and perhaps expected) that this would have been sorted by now, especially as the cut off date for CVs was in the middle of last month.

Maybe NA is taking full control of the acquisition and initial steps himself for now? It would make sense, if so – it would give the new bloke a setup with some degree of thought put into it already. And at this moment, the first year pros are better off being with the first team.

It’s worth getting this right by waiting a couple more weeks. Just think how much easier it would be for us if somebody like Overton has been developed well enough so we could play him in the odd League game and perhaps save us having to import yet another player…

As we can’t bring through our own we’re still looking around, and yesterday morning NA made the startling admission that we’re still on the lookout for another midfielder.

Perhaps going for Oyeleke isn’t such a surprise – the Chronicle first leaked it as soon as the season ended – but NA saying we’re still looking in that area is. Now, we’re not exactly short in the centre of the park, as this list off the top of my head of our midfielders suggests:

– Harry Pell
– George Francomb
– Luke Moore
– Sammy Moore
– Chris Arthur
– Peter Sweeney

Anyone I’ve missed? I know I should consult the team section of the OS, but you might as well read here to find out what our current squad list is.

So if we add one more midfielder, that’s eight players. And like the goalkeeper situation, we’re overstaffed if anything. So unless we’re really expecting to rotate the middle, one name sticks out as being the most replaceable on the list.

Sammy Moore.

If you look down that list, virtually all of them are signings that NA has either made himself or has made efforts to keep. Mr Herbalife himself isn’t, and we know how much our boss has thought of the players he inherited.

As we still know all too painfully, last season was full of disappointments, and Sammy Moore was one of them. At the very least, NA openly talking about adding to a position we thought we were fine in is a bit of a warning shot to the incumbents, and one suspects we could see a fair bit of benchwarming.

And when players start becoming out of favour at this club…

Speaking of being surplus, and in a genuinely eyebrow raising move – Jack Turner is on trial at Brentford. Presumably he’s finally been caught for whinging too much.

One player who won’t be joining us is Bayo Akinfenwa, who the rumour mill (and more than a few of our fans on Twatter) were linking with us – Gillingham have got him.

And to be honest, I’m glad they’ve signed him up and not us.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt he’ll be a handful and would have given us an extra dimension to our play. But there seemed to be a bit of, ahem, extra-curricular activity that probably would have been a distraction.

This is what he posted on Twatter after he signed up with Martin Allen:


it’s official I am now a Gillingham FC Player I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and looking forward to bring to Prestfield

To be honest, I’m glad we don’t have to put with with this “BMO” shit (Beast Mode On, for the uninitiated). I’ve no doubt that some would want to buy into the whole thing, wearing the t-shirts and acting the image.

But that’s the sort of thing Audley Harrison would come up with, and we all know what a prize prick he is.

I expect that we would have bent over backwards a fair bit to indulge him, and probably break the bank (and our back) in the process. For a player who I wasn’t that impressed with when I saw him for the Cobblers, especially not if he’s likely to have costed more than Jack Midson.

In other words, one senses we’ve dodged a bullet here.

Sour grapes? Perhaps, but I felt the same way when Marcus Bent didn’t come to us too.  It sounds as though we’re still looking for a striker, and I don’t doubt there’s others about.

The club released the squad list yesterday (so there’s no excuse not to update the relevant bit of the OS now), and apart from noting how far down both Seb and WC are, we don’t have a #9 as yet. So that clearly suggests we’re after another starting centre forward.

Neither Sheringham and Strutton are proven enough to be starters, although neither have the baggage that Byron Harrison had. But we do have Midson who most certainly has proven himself at this level, so it’s not like we’re toothless up front.

But given that our defence is now as good as sorted – at least in the starting back four – we’re in quite a nice position. We haven’t panic-bought, at least it appears we haven’t. We can be a bit more selective with any other additions, within reason, and if after Kennedy/AN Other LB we don’t get anyone in until the season gets under way, it’s been a good summer of trading.

Not to mention we may/should still have some in the kitty when we inevitably need to bring in reinforcements.

Anyway, Meet The Manager is tonight, and your editor will be there. Don’t expect a report, or at least an in-depth one (though I will have my notepad and pen with me). Unlike this time last year, when I really couldn’t listen to TB, I’m genuinely interested to hear NA’s thoughts about last season, this season, and why we haven’t got too many PSFs…

Speaking of the games where they’re purely for fitness and nothing else, earlier this week we went down to Gillingham’s training ground and lost 2-1. Cue mass wrist slitting and calls for the manager to be axed.

Getting any sort of info out of our own OS on the game is like trying to run the Cairo branch of the Mohamed Morsi Fan Club, but helpfully the Gills OS obliged. By the sound of it there was a lot of promise, and obvious ring rustiness aside, it does sound like things are moving in the right direction.

Obviously, it’s the initial run-out and it’s only about fitness (sic), but given that NA and Martin Allen are pretty chummy with each other, one ponders what they were discussing…