Transfer windows used to be shit, didn’t they? Particularly deadline day, but what a day we’ve had today!
Normally I switch off on deadline day, hoping we don’t lose one of the few players someone else might want we have left whilst accepting the inevitable lack of incoming activity from the Reds.
To be honest, it wouldn’t have been a disaster had we not signed anybody today, but after the gathering storm of rumours, we did. And then some.
Not one, but two. James Coppinger reportedly hopped off the Doncaster team bus on its’ way to Yeovil at a service station to agree a move on loan to us until January, and after this – with mounting excitement across the Internet – it transpired we’d not finished and have somehow convinced Southampton that loaning us Billy Sharp for a season is a good idea!
I’ve long admired both players – particularly Sharp, ever since he put three past us when Scunthorpe beat us 4-0. He’s always done well against us, and his goal scoring record is tremendous – he obviously knows Sean O’Driscoll rather well too – as does Coppinger, a right winger – which has been a notable gap in our squad of late!
So not only has the entire transfer window experience been a definite upgrade on what we’re used to, the culmination of this – eleven signings in seven weeks – is what I think a rather more balanced and stronger squad than we had as the season commenced. That’s huge testimony to the Al Hasawi family and Sean O’Driscoll who certainly haven’t rested on their laurels!
Right from when the John Pye sponsorship was announced and the Pye family could barely contain big grins in the old Shipstones building (as a lad who grew up falling in love with footballers in Shipstones sponsored shirts this felt like providence!) I had a glimmer of hope that better times might follow – but well, I’m still somewhat shellshocked and just what a good job the new owners have done.
Let’s take a moment to consider how our squad has changed over the last few weeks…
Okay, Lascelles is a bit of a cheat, but we can chuck in a bonus Gillett as well, who arguably replaces the role that we’ve never quite managed to sort out since McKenna left, and things like the return of Cohen and Blackstock from injury and well – wow. Then factor in that we’ve done this business without spending ridiculous amounts of money and it’s just incredible.
Both Sharp and Coppinger are eligible to play tomorrow should Sean O’Driscoll deign to do so – coming in on loan strangely doesn’t come with the same noon deadline for signing the day before a game that a permanent signing does. Given how well the gaffer knows his new charges, I wouldn’t bet against them being involved in some way…
I was already struggling to come up with a starting line-up before today, now we’ve added some more dilemmas – but nice ones! Of course, as I type there’s still a little over half an hour of the window left – but we’re not about to pull something else out of the bag are we? That would just be greedy.