Skip to content

Cold as ice

And we were willing to sacrifice our love. Well, the weekend anyway.

Yes, SW19 is back, and if truth be told I wasn’t massively upset Crawley was called off on Friday.

One or two for AFCW-related reasons, but mostly non-football related. Not just jetlag.

If we could somehow ensure Tuesday was postponed as well, that would give us a better chance of turning up to the Frenzydome and doing something I don’t think we’ve ever done.

I’d rather shit a hairbrush out than go to watch us at Franchise, especially without the guarantee of victory, but a rare-as-hens-teeth win would make it a lot sweeter.

Hell, just turning up for once will do me. For too long, we’ve embarrassed ourselves with some lame performances, almost as though we’re too scared to play them/there.

Not having AAH and Bugiel as well doesn’t help, and it will be just our luck Iraq and Lebanon end up getting to the knock-out rounds of the AFC Asian Cup.

But all that’s for Tuesday. Back to yesterday, and I understand it was a bit nippy in SW17 the past week.

Unless you fire up the undersoil heating (do we have that installed at Plough Lane?) you’re pretty much buggered if the temperature is -4c for a good while.

Granted, it got up to 7c yesterday when the game could have started, but these days pitches are much better maintained and playing would have knackered it.

Especially with the Broncos playing on it.

It will probably explain why RPV went ahead, a mere three miles away from PL, because let’s be honest here – they are unlikely to have the same playing surface standards as ourselves.

Incidentally, pitch quality is why we (and other professional teams) never send squads for a pre-season game at these type of venues. Why risk even an under-18 with a ankle injury due to a rut caused by hardened mud?

But we had the weekend off, and it gives us time to reflect on what’s been an interesting transfer window so far.

Let’s start with the latest news first. Before the weekend, we nabbed the services of Ronan Curtis and John-Kymani Gordon.

The latter is, as you all know by now, a Palace youngster and the sort of signing we’ve often made in the past.

These days, we thankfully don’t fill our squad with those type of transfers, and as such JKG might have a better chance of having an impact.

Why? Because he gets to play with actual senior players rather than in a jumped up Academy squad that we attempted in the past and cost us our League One place.

Yes, I’m still bitter at what we did that season.

The former is a very interesting signing. Curtis is short-term (again, something we’ve clearly learned the hard way to do), and if his fitness holds up he might be a coup.

He’s been training with us for a while, and apparently he knows Bobby Bacic (our ex-Pompey physio) well.

I read a couple of Pompey forums after we signed him, and it seems to be that injury buggered him up.

Although it seems playing under the Cowleys didn’t do him much good either.

If – if – we can keep AAH until the summer, we might actually have a decent front line for the second half of the season.

I still don’t think we’ll see him in an AFCW shirt again, and maybe the Curtis/JKG signings are preparing for that?

But we might be pleasantly surprised. As we were with probably the biggest transfer news this window.

While I was putting feet down Stateside, our signing of Joe Lewis on a permanent basis might have been the most important since Ollie Palmer was shipped off to north Wales.

It was a statement of intent that we weren’t going to let decent players go without a fight. Which is something you definitely couldn’t say in the recent past.

Like most of our fans, I fully expected Lewis to be back at Edgeley Park and us scrabbling around trying not to recall Will Nightingale.

So to get him and to make him ours

As JJ admitted to the SLP, we had to put a decent bid in for him to keep him. And that’s another lesson the club has had to learn.

You just can’t run a professional football club on peanuts any more. You never could, although for too long we convinced ourselves otherwise.

I certainly doubt if Curtis is cheap, even from now until the end of the season, but if you want to be more than a League Two bottom feeder – you have to start paying the going rate for players.

Running even a L2 club is expensive, and it’s not going to get any cheaper from now on.

The news that Lewis’ transfer was part-funded by John Green isn’t surprising, as having wealthy backers helped us get back into the EFL in the first place.

We had more than a little help from the likes of Mike Richardson, and/or Iain McNay, and/or others who kept in the background.

How else did we afford people like Kedwell or Main to begin with? Let alone paying their wages and their goal bonuses? Hint: it wasn’t down to putting coins in a jar.

I fully support this, by the way. It’s the way of the football world, and I’d rather see a better product on the field than us scrimping about, trying to find purity in being poor.

We’ve always had sugar daddies, even if too many people convince themselves we haven’t.

Needless to say, I fully support any moves to make the club’s ownership 50%+1, and in that instance it’s a case of when, not if that happens.

I suspect any vote in the near future will get a majority but won’t get the requisite amount. But that will set in motion the inevitability of it finally happening.

Football finances will dictate that, especially if we keep losing our best players and have to sign cheap replacements.

It might mean a gun to the head of some supporters (metaphorical or literal, I haven’t decided which yet), but the way we funded Joe Lewis has convinced me of that more than ever.

As for the rest of this month, we may still lose the Iraqi Scouser and Jack Currie, but so far this has been a better transfer window than we expected.

It’s certainly given us a little optimism that we won’t suffer the post-January collapse that has broken the collective patience.

There’s a sense of some actual proper planning now, and JJ’s comments about getting more in this window if it works out is good to hear.

Granted, we’ve lost Lemonhead but Alex Bass is with us until the end of the season, so we don’t have to worry about the keeper.

Though I wonder if Tzanev might move on if an offer comes in for him?

It could still go badly wrong, but right now you suspect it won’t. And it would be very nice if that proved to be the case.

We’ve had too many seasons recently that have sucked, so let’s have one that doesn’t.

And while we’re at it, we do need to start winning on the road again. Tuesday wouldn’t be a bad time to start…

Published inUncategorised