Because it refers to windows. As in transfer windows. As in…. forget it.
Well, January has departed for the coast, and it’s all now over until the summer in terms of comings and goings.
It was a strange one this time around, probably because the Premier League clubs weren’t spending nearly as much.
Even Sky Sports News appeared to give up long before the deadline, and that was usually the highlight of windows past.
For us at AFCW, it’s a bit of a bittersweet month just gone. The big news of this last month – and indeed, of the season – is the departure of AAH to Ipswich.
There was something always inevitable about him leaving us, especially when rumours of ITFC representatives flying out to Dubai to give him a medical surfaced.
But then, the speculation began as we were about to begin our usual humiliation at Franchise. If not before.
The truth is, hardly any L2 club and most in L1 would have been able to keep him. Certainly in our division, considering he was probably the best striker in it.
And that’s not just us being biased, I genuinely think that was the case.
It’s a massive turnaround in a year, when he was practically benchwarming at Wycombe. Yet even in the horror show that post-January 2023 became, there was something about him.
He really came into his own this season though, after a ropey start (and didn’t he have an injury that kept him out of pre-season training?).
Who knows what would have happened if he’d been on fire when we played at Ponti Stamfordi this season in the Carabao?
But you have to accept that anyone decent will be gone within a year/eighteen months at this club, and it proved no different with the Iraqi Scouser.
Oddly enough, I did wonder if he would end up at a team like Ipswich. No reason to suspect that, just a weird hunch I had, although it’ll be interesting to see how he plays there.
If he plays, that is. I don’t blame him one bit for jumping at the chance to potentially be in the Premier League next season.
Could he find himself warming benches at Portman Road and elsewhere though? Perhaps, although an undeniable life-changing weekly wage will help.
And if we’re being honest here – he has the attitude to do well.
He never had a reputation of being arsey, either within the team or with the supporters. I think he genuinely appreciated us lot, and I believe he fully meant this statement he made.
As for the most important thing of all this, the money is likely to be as much for what Exeter got for Ollie Watkins if not more.
It’s in our interest for him to smash it up at Ipswich, if only because we get more dough with the add-ons.
While we head to Bradford tomorrow, the Tractor Boys are at Preston. And if we draw a blank and AAH scores the winner at Deepdale, it’s going to hurt a little…
We move on, as we must, and we added not one, not two but three new signings this week.
Balmer signed earlier in the week, is on loan from Palace** like JKG, and is a centre back.
** – anyone noticed we’re having more and more links with those from SE25? Maybe our soon-to-be-CEO has something to do with it.
I notice an evening with Steve “Don’t Call Me Charles” Coppell and Alan Smith has been announced. No doubt we’ll come out to Glad All Over the next home game.
Jackson Johnson seemingly out for the season, it’s a no-brainer. An aggressive defender, apparently, one does have to wonder if he’s the sort who gets red-carded at Notts County for an off-the-ball clash.
And yes, I don’t doubt he’s already got the nickname of Annan.
Perhaps the most important addition is Josh Kelly, from Solihull Moors. A new striker to replace AAH was almost mandatory, and we managed to deliver.
He’s scored thirteen goals this season in the National League, and obviously we hope he doesn’t find League Two a huge step up.
Kelly is the sort of player who I imagine we’ll sign more under Craig Cope, and not just because he was ex-Solihull.
Young but not a thumbsucker, eager to prove himself, not a cheap option but no Appiah-esque waster.
I’ll be honest here – because our recruitment in the past hasn’t been up to it, I’ve long wanted us to shy away from these sort of additions.
Back then, we always seemed to buy a youngster and fully expected him to become an old-style Wimbledon signing without any obvious research into it. Think Adam Roscrow.
Now we seem to have a plan that actually works in the real world of the EFL, and not the sling-enough-shit-at-it approach, these sort of signings make more sense.
Striker wise, we seem fine for the rest of this season. We have Kelly, Bugiel (and our next priority is to get him on a longer deal), JKG, Curtis and Manbun.
While we’d all rather still have AAH on our books – that’s not too shabby.
Right before last night’s deadline, we secured JJ O’Toole from Mansfield on loan. I guess they’ve calmed down from Saturday enough to speak to us.
It’s an interesting one, considering he’s played about six minutes this season. I believe that’s not a typo either.
Six minutes. And all of those were against us last Saturday.
O’Toole has a bit of a reputation, it has to be said, although if he’s going to be a nasty little fucker I’d happily see him do it in an AFCW shirt.
It might be an unusual signing to make, although it might be one of those ones where he was available and worth a punt.
A bit like the ones we used to have in non-league where an opposition player eventually ended up becoming one of ours.
Anyway, we lost our best player but we’ve made at least three good ones. We haven’t sold Jack Currie, or seen anyone else depart, so I think we can call this a good January.
It could have been an even better one had the rumours of Aldershot’s Lorent Tolaj come to fruition, but them’s the breaks.
Whether the signings are enough to give us a legitimate push for the playoffs this season remains to be seen.
But it does feel like we’ve put in place a squad that isn’t going to freefall from this month onwards. And that will be a massive step forward in itself.
The club itself has perhaps realised that you can’t cut corners with the playing side of things any more.
You do have to make more investment into the squad each window, and you have to accept that you’ll have to manage debts more than clearing it.
We’ve winged it enough in the past on the cheap, and that got us relegated and almost out of the league.
It seems like we’ve taken some of the AAH money and reinvested it into the signings we’ve made this month. This is what we should be doing.
We won’t get the sums we got for the Iraqi Scouser each window, in fact I think it will be the exception rather than the rule.
Many will want us to clear the debts we have, but I don’t think that will ever be possible without garrotting the squad.
Managing debt instead of clearing it has its own issues, of course, like interest rates. But you have to figure that out because you can’t neglect the core business.
It’s a tough lesson to learn, especially if you’re of an accountancy bent. But without the football side of things, there wouldn’t be an AFC Wimbledon…