Soapbox: a new term starts

Mid-July and still the only news on the BBC football website is that West Ham have turned down our offer for George McCartney, an offer many times higher than we got when he went there. We all know big, exciting signings are on the way. Don’t we? Don’t necessarily hold your breath, sighs Pete Sixsmith, getting his despondency in first….

Is being a footballer, I wonder, the same as being a teacher or a newspaper executive.

Perhaps the money isn’t the same (newspaper execs are paid much more than the average run of the mill Premier League player). But do they have the same feelings about work as us?

Every September brings in a number of new teachers into each and every staffroom.

Some are hard bitten, cynical old pros who have been around a bit and tamed classes in fierce inner city schools, while others are timid and fearful youngsters, just out of university with their heads full of theory and psychology and all that stuff.

They take care not to pinch anyone’s favourite seat and look round for potential allies on the staff, while trying to avoid the wild gaze of the madman in the corner who sits muttering away to himself about the inadequacies of Premier League referees and how education would be better if 9c were made to sweep chimneys a la Charles Kingsley.

I suppose some dressing rooms are like that when the players return from their breaks in Dubai or Jamaica.

Young players brought in from Division 1, a couple of experienced Premier League stalwarts and a guy from Croatia who would have had a decent Euro 2008 if he hadn’t cut his hand while opening a bottle of slivovitz.

However, this scene has not been re-enacted at the Academy of Light as we ain’t signed any new players yet.

There have been plenty of almosts but no actual catches. I’m sure that RK is as frustrated as some of the fans and the general feeling is that he needs to move quickly.

Barney Ronay wrote a cracking piece in The Guardian a couple of weeks ago, where he tracked down the “genuine, authentic Rumour Mill” and it was working overtime churning out stories for both broadsheets and red tops. Unfortunately, most of the rumours seemed to concern a handful of clubs and players with SAFC rarely having the grist of a half decent rumour to be milled.

Let’s face it, signing a Romanian centre back and a couple of reluctant Reading relegatees is not going to dislodge the likes of Ronaldo, Drogba, Lampard and Benitez from the headlines is it?

I’ve been interested in the way that Benitez conducts his business in the market and it affirms my believe that this man is the epitome of all that is wrong about football managers.

He has unsettled Gareth Barry (“Stevie G, have a word with him while you are both in T and T”) and has also courted Robbie Keane through the pages of the tabloid press. The fact that his buying record in his years at Liverpool is about as good as that of Reidy in his last two years with us shows him up as the ultimate charlatan.

For every Torres there is a Kewell and for every Alonso (the most overrated player in the Premier League, in my opinion) there is a Pennant. Any half decent player would do well to keep away from Benitez and throw in his lot with Keano.

So, with the first games looming up in the Algarve, what can we expect? I would be surprised if any new faces appeared on Setanta on Sunday night, but there might be one or two unfamiliar ones. Hands up if you’ve ever seen Russell Anderson? No, thought not – unless you live in Plymouth.

Well, in the absence of any transfer activity in or out, I would expect to see the likes of him, Connolly, Etuhu , Stokes, Prica and Kavanagh being made to earn their wages by actually playing. Connolly disappeared off the radar completely last season, not even being spotted at Hetton on cold midweek nights.

Seriously, the list of possibles is not that long. The Romanian deal appears to be off, there’s no sign of a new forward and the only new face is the giant Frenchman M’Voto who looks big enough to play for Catalan Dragons and who was lucky not to get sent off against Gateshead in last years Durham Challenge Cup Final.

I won’t be in Portugal as I’m still at work, but I will be going to Nottingham at the end of July and I shall be accompanying Pete Horan on his football/tax office spotting holiday to Ireland in August.

It would be good to be sitting in Tolka Park, Dublin or the prosaically named Athlone Town Stadium clocking a couple of decent signings. Steve Hunt and Darren Bent would be a good start!!!

3 thoughts on “Soapbox: a new term starts”

  1. The ever reliable(sic)Sky Sports News says that we have put in a bid for Chimbonda, Mlbranque, Taimo and Kaounde at Spurs. Are Roy and Niall working on the principle “Buy 3 get one free”Any other rumours out there?

  2. Just seen that McGeady has signed a new contract with Celtic, so there’s another much touted target gone. Chances are we will be waiting until the Liverpool game to see anyone new. Signing players has changed so much and the whole thing is like a game of poker where you are waiting to see who bottles out first. I would not be suprised if the deal for Gaian is resurrected and Reading have said that they will release players. Mobile phone companies must love the transfer window – all that profitable air time.

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