Modern-day fans are never satisfied. Even with the countless fortunes splurged on creating a damn-near perfect squad there’s still that left-back in Portugal who’d be a vast improvement on what we’ve got at present. Come on chairman, sort it out! Matthew West argues that most supporters today have never had it so good yet don’t even know they’re born…
In the modern era your average football fan seems to have a very tenuous grasp on reality. It would seem, no matter how much money your club spend, how many positions they strengthen or new players they sign, it’s never quite enough to sate their appetite. We could have done with another striker. What if Sergei Notgoodenoff gets injured? We’re awfully weak at left back. Everyone can see the weaknesses in their squad far better than the manager, or so they would have you believe.
Take City for example, somewhere in the region of £76m has been spent during this transfer window, and a huge number of players have either come or gone from the City of Manc….. sorry, The Etihad Stadium. We needed a top class striker. Aguero arrived, so check. We needed strengthening at left back. Clichy arrived at a bargain £7m, so again check. We could do with some depth at centre half. The promising prospect that is Stefan Savic was drafted in, another check. We needed a reserve keeper to replace the outgoing Shay Given. The unfeasibly gigantic Romanian Mr Pantaloons was signed. Check once more. We couldn’t rely on Silva to carry the entire creative workload, Nasri and all his Premiership experience comes a calling. A big check. Yaya Toure will be off at the ridiculously scheduled African Cup of Nations this winter, so in comes Owen Hargreaves, a man that makes Michael Owen look like Wolverine. A risk, but also a check.
So, given the multiple signings, you’d think of any Premiership fans, those at City would be the happiest? Nothing much left to concern us? Perhaps, however there are still “issues” being raised. We look awfully lacking in natural width some will claim. Now Wright-Phillips has left we’re very much dependant upon Adam Johnson. They may have a point. However, when you consider the Premiership as a whole I don’t think there are too many other clubs that have dealt with the squad’s inadequacies in quite as forthright and comprehensive a manner as City.
So it would seem Venkys are making a big profit this summer. KFC will be extremely worried.
There are those that have thrown money at the issue regardless of the quality, stand up Kenny. In Enrique he may well have found a bargain to a troublesome position, however in Adam, Downing and most certainly Henderson he’s paid the “British premium” on players who no-one but the most blinkered of Liverpool fans could claim were World Class.
You’ve got the “oh crap it’s August 31st, better start buying people” approach which has, inexplicably, been the transfer strategy (and I use that word, well, inaccurately) of Arsene Wenger. How he thought it was sensible to sign no-one but unproven youth players (Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain) and a striker with an unfeasibly large forehead (Gervinho) until lunchtime on deadline day, despite have the very spine of his side ripped out (Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy) is unfathomable. The upshot of this was a mad panic where signing anyone as long as they could fill out the shirt seemed to suffice. An unheard of Brazilian fullback, a giant centre half with the pace of a beached whale, and two decent, but ageing, midfielders. Hardly setting the world on fire, and you could argue (correctly) that none of those players would find a place in the starting 11 of City, United, Chelsea or Liverpool.
You’ve got the scattergun transfer policy adopted by Sunderland’s own Rocky Dennis, why sign 3 or 4 quality players when you can bring in virtually an entire starting 11 of mediocre players instead. Westwood, Brown, O’Shea, Elmohamady, Larsson, Vaughan, Ji, Wickham, Gardner and Bendtner all signed, and all surely underwhelmed the Sunderland fans.
As bizarre/annoying/surprising/underwhelming as the above may be, they are still all far more desirable than the fates that have befallen the fans of both Blackburn Rovers and Everton. For different reasons both sets of fans will be viewing the transfer window with either disbelief or resignation.
Blackburn, despite bringing in a decent amount of money by selling Phil Jones and Nikola Kalinic (£23m in total potentially) have spent, well, chicken feed in return (sorry). Yakubu, Dann, Vukcevic, Petrovic and Goodwillie will worry no-one in the Premiership, and will have cost, at most, £10m between them. So it would seem Venkys are making a big profit this summer. KFC will be extremely worried. If you are a Blackburn fan however (admittedly a rare creature indeed) you can be forgiven for wondering exactly how Steve Kean believes Blackburn will be a Champion’s League contender in 3 to 4 years when you could very well be a Championship side in 12 months.
With so much money spent, and so many players moving clubs, you’d expect the majority of fans to be happy with the activity.
Everton, on the other hand, spent nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not a penny (unless you count loan fees). Their transfer kitty passed away years ago, presumably from FAIDS. Not that this comes as a surprise to your average Evertonian, they knew incoming transfers were unlikely. What they will view incredulously, is the outgoings, and the timing of them. What is the point in allowing both Yakubu and Beckford to leave, when goals were already going to be hard to come by? The unpronounceable Argentinian they loaned on deadline day will need to be a Tevez/Aguero hybrid for Everton to have any chance this season. Then there’s the Arteta debacle. Moyes holds fast on allowing Jagielka to join Arsenal (a position, arguably Everton could actually lose a body from and still cope) yet sends the heartbeat of their side off down the motorway to London with his blessing?! The £13m/£14m Everton received will, almost certainly, not be available for new signings come January. How can the fans possibly be happy with a weak squad being catastrophically weakened on deadline day? Will Everton find themselves in the Championship next season? Perhaps, but a top half finish must surely be a distant memory now?
£485. That is the total figure spent, by Premiership clubs, during the Summer Transfer window, and that will not take into account any loan fees paid, and there were numerous of those. So, with so much money spent, and so many players moving clubs, you’d expect the majority of fans to be happy with the activity. However, I’d wager, that if you asked fans from each of the 20 Premiership sides, they’d all be able to find faults in some of the signings, they all see areas that still need addressing in the squad, and they’d all want just that little bit more. That’s the modern day football fan, fed on a Sky Sports diet, enough is never enough. You have to wonder how they would cope should they be instantly transported back to the pre-Sky days, when the First Division was “where it was at”, when Oldham, Wimbledon, Luton and Oxford were (relatively) big sides, and where the money spent, and the signings made, were minute in comparison. Believe me, those were the days where you were crying out for just a little more gruel from your club’s chairman.