Where are we headed now?
Well the much talked of January transfer sales (agents late Christmas bonus month is possibly a better description) have been and gone now so where have we move forwards to now under Keane?
He has previously only had one day to do any serious wheeling and dealing with transfers (other than loans which we have been able to negotiate during the season), and in that one day he managed to make some significant and major changes which resulted in us having the likes of David Connelly, Dwight Yorke, Liam Miller, Ross Wallace, Graham Kavanagh and Stan Varga to call upon from September to the end of December, and you have to wonder just exactly where we would be were it not for the purchase of those players as they have all played various parts in the previous four months. Closer to the bottom three than the top three would’ve been the most likely scenario without those players.
So, with a full month in which to do some wheeling and dealing (and not in the Harry Redknapp or Peter Reid style of wheeling and dealing I might add) its fair to say that a fair few of us were expecting quite a few more major transfers to help nudge us further up that table towards the play off spots, and whisper it, but even towards the automatic places.
The additions of Martin Fulop, Carlos Edwards and Anthony Stokes came within the first week of the month almost and meant we’d spent nigh on £4m immediately, with around £1m or so being recouped with the sales of John Stead and Chris Brown. Has that £3m net investment been well spent? Well its hard to say at this moment in time, but for one the outfield players were sought after by a few Premiership clubs and they chose us and two, both players have already shown a significant attribute that they have – Pace. If there’s something that we seem to have lacked a lot of in recent years it is pace, and Edwards and Stokes can now be added to the likes of Wallace and even Nosworthy in that they have a good turn of foot which is a major plus point these days. Surprisingly, the only other additions after the initial flurry have been Danny Simpson and John Stern with the second of those two being the one that raised the most eyebrows, but I’m sure that after the Crystal Palace game a few supporters will already be realising that Stern would’ve been the “different option” that can so often swing a game from a tight nil nil into a tight one nil win and he can provide something different again to the side when called upon.
All in all I think its fair to say that Mr Keane has made some good steps (baby steps he claims) in the right direction, but to fully understand how significant those steps are just think back six months and remember how we were looking desperate for someone to drop the anchor and stop us from sinking let alone make a swift about turn.
Finally, Mr Quinn has been making noises about the lack of “supporters” returning to the Stadium of Light, and it is possible that part of that is due to a perception believe it or not that little has changed as of yet. In reality that is nowhere near the truth of what is happening with the club. It doesn’t appear, as though we have splashed much cash, but perhaps most surprising is the fact that if you look at the list of amounts spent in January we are within the top five or so. How many times do you hear of a Championship club doing that? Not often, so it’s an indication of the ambitions that the club now has, and although its not going to be a quick and easy journey, we are firmly headed in the right direction.
Roll up for the Keanolution…!