I seem to be certainly not in a majority in that I’m quite sad that James Perch has gone to Newcastle. The Magpies were after him last season, and even upon attaining promotion have kept up that interest, and today completed the signing of him for an ‘undisclosed fee’ (rumours suggest that the fee would round up to a million, which – despite me liking him – feels like a fair price verging on outrageous generosity in fairness).
Whilst some people on message boards seem overly eager to point to his performance in the play-offs at left back (which were bad, in fairness), I too can remember notable positive performances – certainly up at Newcastle last season which I imagine would have cemented their intent to sign him. Then he was at right back, and that for me is his best position from my viewing of him, so it’s unsurprising we’ve let him go – because he’s not as good as Gunts.
The problem any fullback has at Forest is the fact that we have – for some time – played without any form of ‘proper’ wingers, and that means there can often be a real onus on our fullbacks to attack, and when we’re under the kosh, a lack of cover for them to help repel the attacks on opponents. It’s a situation which almost inevitably leads to our fullbacks looking exposed, and quite often a bit silly – certainly not helped when they’re playing on their wrong side.
The other problem for Perchy is that he was a victim of his own versatility, and his willingness to (attempt to) adapt to different positions. A great tackler, but relatively poor passer, meant his cameos as a holding midfielder often looked unconvincing. He never seemed ‘big’ enough to cover centreback (his supposed preferred position) – but his willingness to work hard and honestly meant he was frequently deployed his suboptimal positions.
Looking at Newcastle’s squad I can see him being lined up as a rightback, and whilst there may be question marks over whether or not he’ll step up to the top flight – I think if that’s how Newcastle deploy him he might surprise a few of those supporters who seem to take great delight in his departure. Coupled with a solid centreback pairing and an actual right winger infront of him… but we shall see, I suppose!
With season ticket general sale well underway, it refocused the spotlight on the lack of incoming signings so far – there have been LOTS of rumours, lots of ‘done deals’ yet to materialise and supposedly talks and interest ongoing. I would hope in dispensing with the services of a ‘utility’ player it would suggest that there is a degree of confidence that we are covering some of the gaping holes in our squad – but well, past experience suggests that might not be so!
Regardless, pre-season training is underway – and if you check out this page on the official site you can see spirits appear to be good in the Forest camp, with some slightly goofy poses from Kelvin Wilson, and a slightly disturbing shot of Billy stretching! If I were a betting man (which I am), then I would be expecting to see some kind of incoming transfer news at some stage this week, and will certainly be having a bit of a sulk if I’m wrong.
However, to return to the original thread of conversation – I would at least like to thank Perchy for his time with Forest, and wish him the best of luck with Newcastle. He’s not always had what I believe to be the fairest treatment from some sections of Forest fans despite being a local lad who’s come through the ranks, it will be very interesting to see how he gets on elsewhere and whose assessment of him abilities turns out to be more realistic…