What’s on our mind
There’s so much to talk about in pre-season that sometimes 140 characters just aren’t enough for the cerebral readers of Ramspace. So, take a few minutes to ponder some of the issues of the day with us as we share our thoughts. Pour yourself a coffee, cup of tea, or crack open a Polish lager in the back of your mates car…
If Nigel Clough was ever asked in Shoot “what would you be in you weren’t a footballer?” The chances are he wouldn’t plump for something in Sales, Marketing or PR. Clough obviously saw selling Bailey as bringing some income, so made it public he was available. What he said roughly translated to the outsider as “he’s not good enough/required by a mid table Championship side – get your cheque books out and form a queue!” Surprise, surprise, the queue didn’t form.
In January there were strong and entirely believable rumours that Wigan tried to sign Bailey; but the latest spec I heard was that Scunthorpe were interested. I think Clough really should have left this one to the dreaded agents to create a whisper that Bails might just be available at the right price. I remember reading about a genius piece of work when an agent tipped off Harry Redknapp that Liverpool might part with Titi Camara and Rigobert Song if Harry got in there quickly with a few million. That’s the way to do it!
On the plus side, Bails is still here and the squad is stronger for it.
Regular readers will know we’re not the biggest patriots when in comes to football and whilst we’re Backing Britain everywhere else, it’s difficult to show much passion for Team GB in football. The reason? Psychopath.
All footie fans will have a casual interest in the tournament but honestly – who is really going to get hyped up by it? What do you sing for a start? It should have been a celebration with Beckham and players from all the nations. Instead the Psychopath thinks it’s the World Cup and has completely alienated the casual observer, whilst getting pilloried by the tabloids (we like the latter bit, especially the massive “Stabbed in the back by a Psycho” headline after omitting Beckham).
Forest and the Kuwaitis
It has been widely reported that the Red Dogs new owners plan to bring several Kuwati/Middle Eastern players across and one of our mates has already heard that there are several Kuwati trialists already. The owners might wish to check the work permit guidelines for footballers which states that permits won’t be granted for players from nations outside FIFAs top 70. Kuwait are 93rd.
It’s possible that you could get someone in on appeal but its notoriously difficult for Football League sides. A flawed plan from the start which will hopefully lead to a rapid loss of interest. Having said that I’d would quite like to have seen this particular plan carried out!
An improved squad?
On the surface, there has only been a few tweaks to the squad. However, the thing with a young squad is that players improve (all being well) and like a good batch of shares, our existing stock should have grown.
Consider Hendrick, O’Brien and Robinson a year ago. All were viewed as peripheral players who might contribute. A year later, they are all significantly better players more than capable of performing in the Championship. Ditto Tom Naylor who joined later.
Frank Fielding had yet to play a full season anywhere and Craig Bryson had yet to acclimatise (I wouldn’t have predicted Player Of the Year after the Birmingham game!)
Aside from that, we had the reigning player of the year John Brayford being either injured or returning from injury most of the season and the same for Nathan Tyson who I still believe can make a significant contribution.
Bennett and Hughes will also be like new signings in the way that Hendrick, OB and Ball were. Training with grown men every day should accelerate their development and they will strengthen the squad.
Barker will obviously be missed and a lot depends on Keogh being at least as good as Shackell. We still need another striker but finally, we have no fat on the squad eating into the wage bill. We’re optimistic – but aren’t we always?
Why has a new striker dropped down the agenda?
When we finished last season, Nigel Clough highlighted a new striker as top priority and the fans unanimously agreed. When it became clear Steve Davies was likely to leave, it became two strikers. Now Callum Ball has also gone for the year (don’t underestimate his role last season – 25 appearances and 3 important goals) but speculation is dead. Why is this?
The two popular reasons are 1) Clough has said that after the acquisition of two wide men, Ward will be used down the middle and 2) a Premier League loan looks a preferred option and that will mean waiting for squads to be finalised.
However, there is also the lesson from last year. If you recall, Glick bullishly said that we weren’t waiting to get rid of players before recruiting. We signed several but could not shift Pearson, Leacock, Bywater, Martin etc al who we hoped to get fees for. Not only did we not get fees, we ended up paying to get them out – a massive budgetary swing between a few hundred grand incoming and having to pay players off six months later. An expensive lesson learned. I wouldn’t expect much to happen before Davies departs (happy to be proven wrong here!)