Firstly, I’ll get the trivialities out of the way and offer the usual wishes of all the best for 2007 to everyone (unless you happen to be a Mag reading this of course then in which case I’ll be hoping for you to have a nightmare of a 2007!) and lets hope for it being a good red and white year.
Often New Year’s are likened to a New Dawn or a New beginning, and many people set themselves resolutions as part of wiping the slate clean in order to try and better themselves in the coming year. Well sorry, but I don’t do resolutions, and I am hoping that Roy Keane is not planning on wiping the slate clean and giving a new dawn to the players that have been out on loan.
Of course with the transfer windows that have been imposed on football clubs these days it brings a new sense of fun to the January sales, and it ties in nicely with the New Year for those players hoping to get their fresh start. The signals after only a few days of the transfer window being open though are very encouraging indeed. With the likes of Liam Lawrence and Ben Alnwick having already been given fresh slates hundreds of miles away from the Stadium of Light its been a good start, and even better when you consider that ready made replacements have already been signed so we haven’t let ourselves fall into the trap of getting rid of players before ensuring replacements are brought in. We have had glimpse of Martin Fulop and Carlos Edwards in the Luton game earlier this season but there is plenty of time for them to be judged yet and plenty of time should be given for them to establish themselves at the club. Johnny Evans is also now confirmed as having joined on loan for the remainder of the season also so two of our problem areas this season (right midfield and central defence) have quickly been addressed and will surely only improve us further.
Phil Bardsley is thinking over an offer to join his club mate on loan also, but with Dean Whitehead now starting to look very comfortable in the right back position (even if he prefers a central midfield role) then for me that simply leaves us with one major area in need of strengthening and that being the left back position, however, I would also like to see us strengthen further in the centre forward position as its plain to see that Chris Brown is not going to develop into a Dean Ashton or a James Beattie, in fact he’s more likely to develop into a Dirk Diggler given his exploits with his mates in their attempt at breaking into the gay porn movie industry (I heard a rumour that there was a 16 year old girl involved in the film but from the brief clips I saw it was a bunch of lads standing around having a whack off competition and nothing else). Darryl Murphy has been given plenty of time and chances to make the “big man” position his own but he seems to have far less muscle than the lot on show in the…. I’ll stop there.
I’m not going to speculate as to who the other signings will be this month, although with that statement I am obviously showing my confidence that further strengthening will take place and that is a testament to the lads from Drumaville and Niall Quinn as without them then we would be stuck with the previous chairman and his policy of spending little on players and accumulating little in the clubs bank.
Right then, to end on a positive note of sorts. It’s good to read and hear comments from Keane himself that he has made mistakes and been naive in the first half season of his management career. With the signing of Evans he has commented on how the lad can play left back but “I’ve gone down the road of playing lads out of position, I don’t really want to go there again” is how he referred to that option. Also with regard to the number of players he let go out on loan at one time the gaffer also commented that “maybe I was a bit naïve with those decisions”. Self-appraisal is on the best ways to improve yourself and your abilities, but that means you have also got to be able to identify your own weaknesses and strengths which a lot of people struggle to do (for example some pig headed managers that constantly refer to doing things their own way!) so its another sign that although we are possibly having to suffer from his mistakes as he learns, we are hopefully going to bear the fruit of his improvements as a manager.
Let’s hope 2007 is remembered for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.