Right, We've Won The Lottery
Do not reinvest it, just blow it! Well, clearly it's not as simple as that, but I'd like to think we'd get the chequebook out more often than not in the close season.
With Valeri Belokon's imminent cash injection, the future looks bright (or tangerine if you prefer!) and BFC should make sure they profit in every way we can. A thought that sprung to me also, is that we are not being told the whole story. (I hear you cry obviously, but just hear me out). This season we will not be signing players on minimal deals, expiring in a years time. So, instead of the money being staggered out over 2 years, we have the vast majority spent this summer, buying players on two or three year deals. Meaning that a million plus more will be spent just this summer, with reinvestment if needed in July 2007. I've not explained that very well, if I discover a better way to put it, I'll change the text to make it easier to understand!
Now, the nitty gritty. Who are we going to sign? Do we need to keep the present manager? What team will get us out of the division? All areas are covered!
Firstly, take a look at current leaders and champions elect, Southend. They have a natural goal scorer in Freddy Eastwood, coupled with an old pro, who will always score goals (as long as you feed him!), Shaun Goater. Eastwood has got 25 goals this term, where Goater has 11. They also have another four players who have scored 5 plus , so once every nine games in effect. There is a mixed balance in the Southend team. Players are young (Eastwood, Pettefer), old (Sodje, Proir), or at their peak (Gower, Bently) and this gives a great balance to the team, where certain players have to rely on others, but it still all clicks. Then there is the manager. Young and enthusiastic. Just like our current gaffer, Simon Grayson. Tilson has had hardly any backing. He has begged, borrowed and stole for his players, but has also turned 'has beens' into promtion winning players. Efe Sodje and Spencer Prior are prime examples. I can remember when Sodje came to Bloomers and everybody would say 'get onto him' because he was such a weakness in his days with Yeovil, Huddersfield and Crewe. Prior had lost his way big time. Big money moves to Man City, Derby, Leicster and Norwich signify what a big player he was. Even when he was on his way down the footballing ladder, Cardiff payed over the odds for him. But since he has moved back to his home town club, he's never looked back, and his reward is Championship football next year. Tilson's man management and footballing know how are the reasons why these two old pros are going big again, although Sodje won't play a big part, if any next term. But the objective was to get out of this league, not to plan for the next one, which is what Tilson has done, and well.
Where do we need to improve then? Well, I believe that six new players are needed, six big players. Jones, Edwards, Wilcox, Prendergast, Bean and Murphy are not promotion winning players, although all would do a job as squad members. So that's a GK, LB, CD, LM, CM and a ST to buy. The deadwood needs to be rid of also, like Butler, Blinkhorn etc... The team needs to have a good spine to it. Our's does not. We have a 'keeper that has been good this year, but will almost certainly fail next year if he stays between the sticks, a centre half who thinks he's Ronaldinho, two defencive midfield players and a good target man, if he was ever fit. Replace at the back with a sturdy GK, like Chris Day from Oldham, an excellent defender like Gerrard from Walsall (even though his team got relegated)and a LB like Danny Coid (effectively a new signing).
In midfield, a player like Ricky Lambert is needed for goals and all round play, where Richard Langely wouldn't go a miss on the wing. Up front we should be aiming at the top of our league for a new front two. Maybe offer Scunthorpe 700K plus for Keogh and Sharp? Or Hayter from Bournmouth. Plenty of options open to the manager.
That brings me nicely onto the managers role. I was actually coming along to the idea of Larry getting the job fulltime, but after Saturdays dire performance (lets not forget that was an extremely important game) and some decisions he makes, I feel a fresh approach would be nice. Graysons biggest downfall seems to have been the hiring of Tony Parkes. This has totally changed Larrys way of thinking on the pitch, and off the pitch Parkes calls the shots. For example, the team were offered a different form of training at the university of Lancashire last week, which Parkes turned down, without consulting Grayson or Hartford. If it had been Simons choice, he may have took the man up on the offer. My ideal choice would be Paul Simpson, but I feel that will not happen. Gary Johnson with Latvian links may be the name to crop up.
So, in full, my team to take us up:
Manager: Paul Simpson
GK: Chris Day
LB: Danny Coid
CD: Peter Clarke
CD: Anthony Gerrard
RB: Marc Jospeh
LM: Ian Morris
CM: Keith Southern
CM: Ricky Lambert
RM: Richard Langely
ST: James Hayter
ST: Billy Sharp
With the rest of the first team as backup, and the backup this year to be shipped out.
That's six new players, but in effect more, because a manager is clearly worth more than one player!
What would you do if you won the lottery?