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Here we go again

Yep, SW19 is on the eastern side of the Atlantic again, and raring (?) to go. Honest.

First things first – I’m not doing Meet The Manager tonight. Which might be an omen as the last one I missed was TB’s last one (which was quite infamous). I’m sure others will fill in…

Second things second, it seems like our fax machine has been pretty busy in the last fortnight, with all the ins and (mostly) outs from KM. Just think of the waiting around we did for the whole of May and most of June.

So, farewell Jake Reeves, Dom Poleon, Bursik and Tyrone Barnett. Hello to Cody McDonald, Deji, George Long and, erm, a couple of trialists for tomorrow at Eastleigh.

A little bit more on them later. Firstly, those who have departed – once Bursik found himself on Eurosport during the close season, he was always likely to be snapped up by a Prem club. We wish him well, except when he gets the inevitable loan to Brizzle Rovers and he has a blinder against us.

Speaking of inevitable, I guess cashing in on Reeves was the best move for all concerned, especially with getting £0 for Tom Elliott. If nothing else, we’re (slowly) learning how to do transfer business again.

I know most would have wanted to keep him, but we would have ended up with a player on the last year of his deal and in truth unlikely to sign a new one. And when Bradford showed their interest, I don’t doubt his head was turned.

C’est la vie, as they say in Poland.

Unsurprisingly, it’s an undisclosed fee, though the rumour mill is suggesting between £150k and £250k. Too cheap? Or just simply the going rate for a player from an ordinary L1 team?

See, none of our players are actually worth that much – not the first teamers, anyway (which might shock a few of our more insular fans, who seem to think simply wearing a blue/yellow shirt adds £300k to any price tag).

If Reeves goes for £200k, say, then it’s because that’s what he’s worth in the football transfer market. He’s not the only one going for that sum between L1 clubs, guaranteed, and some may need to re-educate themselves on where we really are in the pecking order.

Mind you, if some consider our midfielder going to be poor business, then they won’t be saying the same about Poleon. That was a bolt out of the (yellow and) blue, and any dosh we got from him is most definitely a bonus.

He started on fire, got injured, then came back a shadow of what he was. I suppose if you’re going to lose a player, better him than Taylor. No doubt he and Reeves will gub us when we next face the Bantams…

But perhaps the best bit of business happened yesterday. Or was it the day before? I’m still working on Eastern Standard Time. Anyway, Tyrone Barnett is gone, and no – I still don’t think I understand.

I’ll be nice and simply suggest it just didn’t work out for him. It was a mistake, a bit of a panic purchase last year, and one that literally ended up being costly. So, convincing Port Vale that he was the answer was a masterstroke.

Did we cancel his contract? Did we pay him off? Did we get a fee? More to the point – who cares? I’ll never forget the game at Chesterfield last season, when I wrote the following. As the bishop said to the actress, excuse the length:

Point to ponder: Whither Tyrone Barnett? There’s something of the Banjo “Byron” Harrison about him, even down to the sense he was a bit of a panic buy.

Yesterday, he tried hard for some of it, but we didn’t seem to miss him when he went off. And that’s quite worrying, because I would have expected him to last the full 90 minutes.

When you’re third in the pecking order behind Elliott and Taylor, you’re not going to play the full 90 minutes unless you offer something more.

But when you’re yanked off when your only replacement is a former yoof teamer, then something is wrong.

Is his head not right? Does he really want to be here? He’s shown sporadic bursts of what he can do (Charlton and Curzon) but they are few and far between.

I doubt if anyone will come in for him during what remains of this transfer window, but it’s already hard to think he’ll be here in 2017/18.

And to think that when we won at the Valley, we were all predicting he would finally fire into life.

As many have said, there’s a decent player in there, but he’s lacking something. Motivation, perhaps. I don’t actively hate the guy, but he does seem more interested in picking up pay cheques than properly asserting himself on the field.

Port Vale’s loss is definitely AFCW’s gain.

So, we’ve got rid of more players, who have we got in? To be honest, I’m not going to say too much until they’ve properly played competitive games. Why? Because there’s a habit with our fans that the more a new signing gets hyped up, the worse they end up playing.

We won’t know how good McDonald is until about September. We won’t be able to call the re-signing of Deji and Appiah an act of genius/failure until they’ve played at least ten games.

George Long is a gamble though, especially as we won’t have Shea as backup any more. NA and especially Bayes can’t afford another Ryan Clarke-esque fuckup, because I think people really will turn nasty if he makes a blunder or three.

That’s also why I’m not shitting my pants over the two trialists we’re, erm, trialling tomorrow on the south coast. They can’t be that bad if they’ve come through the Boro/PSV ranks, and there’s a lot of players like that about.

NA is looking out for four more players, and considering there’s a lot out there who are sans contrat right now it’s a case of just holding your nerve and not splurge out on the first striker that comes up.

PSFs start tomorrow, but competitive football starts in a month, and the actual transfer deadline isn’t for another seven weeks.

Plus of course, our aim this season – and the next few of them as well – is simply to stay up and establish ourselves as a L1 level club. There was a lot of much-of-a-muchness last season, and even with our bunch of eunuchs up front, we still stayed up comfortably.

People talk about a more difficult L1 next season. But is it? I’m sure I always used to hear how L2 was getting harder and harder each season, yet we somehow managed to get out of it.

In the right direction, as well.

Nothing has convinced me to change my mind that providing our squad is as strong as it was last season, we’ll probably repeat staying up relatively easily once again. That is a caveat, admittedly, and the tightening finances can no longer be ignored.

This season might end up proving to be one of reckoning with regards the dough in our pocket. Before I went away, I mentioned about the WAWF jar coming out again, and three weeks on the Dom Poleon transfer has likely dwarfed its effectiveness at the stroke of a pen.

You’d like us to have completed our business already, but football doesn’t work like that, and that doesn’t matter unless we’re seriously thinking about promotion to the Championship. Which we won’t be for a good couple of years yet – though longer than that, in truth.

We do have money in our back pocket, though transfer sales, but how much we’ll have after NPL takes out remains to be seen. I expect it will be a little bit more that we let on in public, though keeping other clubs guessing is no bad thing.

If waiting another week or two to get the right signing means is what we have to do, I’ll happily be patient. After all, as said many times on SW19, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on shite in this division. As I’m sure those at Vale Park will be telling us by about October…