David Cameron Walker

Posts Tagged ‘transfer window’

Deadline Day Dealings at the Orient

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Jim White, reporters interviewing Harry Redknapp through a car window and football fans up and down the country gurning like morons behind Sky reporters – it can only be transfer deadline day.

This one was a classic, with Norwich making 300 bids and failing to sign former Orient-loanee Gary Hooper from Celtic, Forest’s owners making the club look like amateurs, Beckham agreeing to donate his wages at new club PSG to a local children’s charity, but best of all Peter Odemwingie humiliating himself by turning up uninvited at QPR in the vague hope of Harry giving him a job, in the most awkward moment since BBC staff got caught dancing to the Jim’ll Fix it theme tune at their Christmas Party!

But what of the mighty bald eagle himself, Russell Slade? Orient typically do precious little business in the winter transfer window, and this window saw further efforts to cut costs, which is unsurprising given that the club lost 1.4million last season which is projected to be down to £500K this year according to Barry Hearn. Slade warned that investment in players beyond the end of the season was not possible, which raises big concerns over our ability to keep the superb Moses Odubajo at the end of the season (although at least we kept hold of him for the rest of this season!)

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Summary of Orient Ins and Outs in the Transfer Window

In (Loans)

Shaun Batt                   Millwall                       Loan    31 Jan, 2013

Ade Azeez                    Charlton                      Loan    18 Jan, 2013

Out (Loans)

Michael Symes            Burton                         Loan    31 Jan, 2013

In

Charlie MacDonald     MK Dons                      Free     11 Jan, 2013

Elliott Omozusi            Unattached                 Free     January 2013

Out

Marc Laird                  Southend                     Free     04 Jan, 2013

Ryan Allsop                 Bournemouth              Free     18 Jan, 2013

Ben Chorley                Stevenage                   Free     31 Jan, 2013

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In terms of signings, reaction from Os fans has been mixed. Charlie MacDonald’s arrival on a free was largely positive, with many feeling his experience would help in a similar way to Scott McGleish and imperative with Kevin Lisbie currently injured. Elliott Omozusi returns to Orient for a second chance after serving his prison sentence. Ade Azeez is an unknown quantity, although promising and rated by Charlton fans, although he hasn’t played since the Doncaster game after apparently getting a knock. Reaction to Shaun Batt was very mixed, both among Os and Millwall fans. He tends to polarize opinion. Slade has “had him on the radar” for quite a while and feels he is tall and awkward and sees a fit for him at Orient. Fans point to his Calvin Andrewesque goal scoring record and general lack of ability. Personally I prefer to see players kick a ball before criticising them!

Unsurprisingly Michael Symes made the move to Burton. He has looked lumbering, awkward and generally lost at Orient, so a move will do him good, either as an O’s player or for selling him on in the summer.

Leaving was Marc Laird who opted to turn his Southend loan into a permanent move after Orient released him and will no doubt face us in the Johnson’s Paint area final next week.  The biggest losses have been Ryan Allsop, a ‘keeper without any senior appearances who was signed from Millwall on a 6 month contract in the summer. After some superb performances he caught the eye of moneybags Bournemouth who doubled his wages compared to what Orient could offer. It’s a loss for the club, but with Jamie Jones and Lee Butcher getting fit again, Orient already has two good keepers at the club.

The biggest shock was big Ben Chorley leaving for Stevenage. From chants of “You’ll never beat Ben Chorley” a few seasons ago to “It’s never your fault” last season, when he had a dreadful season (as did most of the squad), Chorley has focused and been superb for Orient this season, becoming a real lynchpin in the backline. While many, myself included, would have been happy to see him go in the summer after a poor season, to see him leave now, with a settled and solid back line and Southend coming up in a few days, is worrying to say the least. While Baudry is rapidly improving and Cuthbert and Clarke are excellent players, their injury records are a cause for concern, the club may find itself short in that position later this year. Nevertheless, with a longer contract on offer, nobody blames Chorley for moving on.

So where does this leave the Os for the rest of the season?

Well, the good news is Rowlands and Cook, both of whom have been excellent for the Os this season have signed extensions until the end of the season. Clarke and Butcher are coming back to fitness and having Chorley off the wage bill takes pressure off the club. Key players such as Cox and Odubajo are still here and overall the team is playing consistently well at the moment. Even without Lisbie. Slade seems to have gradually overcome the dreadful performances of last season and earlier this season and we finally look a tougher side to beat. Massive games await against Southend with a trip to Wembley the prize and we are already on 40 points – just 10 to go to that magic 50 point mark, relative safety and then who knows?

Up the Os!

Written by Andy Brown, We Are Going Up’s Leyton Orient Blogger

Andy tweets at @OrientMeatPie

Palace Can’t Afford To Fixate On Zaha

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Quick, shout out something you know about Crystal Palace at the moment.

If your answer did not in any way involve Wilfried Zaha, you are probably either lying or a Palace supporter.

You may have heard that Palace’s 20-year-old ‘starlet’ has been sold to no fewer than 15 different clubs in the past year and a half or so. Since the start of the 2011/2012 season, he has been linked with clubs from the high-horses (Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid) to the relegation scrappers looking for a youthful boost (West Ham, Reading). Seemingly every week, we get a new report saying that a successful transfer bid has finally been reached with *insert club here*, and Zaha will be gone any day now. Heck, we’ve actually gotten to the point where media outlets are so desperate for Zaha news that they’re posting photoshopped fake tweets ‘from his account”.

From what you’ve heard around the papers and the blogosphere, there isn’t much to Crystal Palace’s existence at the moment except for the Zaha saga. But as any Palace supporter would tell you, there is far more to the story, and Palace can’t afford to let themselves get swept up in the gusts of the transfer tomfoolery. There is a fine squad playing weekly at Selhurst Park, and they have shown plenty of quality to get up to the top places in the Championship. (Their run through the first chunk of the season was so impressive that even with one win in their last eight games, they’ve managed to stay in fourth.)

The point here is, the season will likely not be decided by where Zaha is or isn’t going. Guys like Andre Moritz, Glenn Murray and Yannick Bolasie have put together enough of an attacking push every game that even when Zaha has disappeared for stretches of several games at a time – and make no mistake, Zaha has most definitely disappeared for several games at a time more than once this year – the points have continued to come for the Eagles. The defence Dougie Freedman built is still solid if not spectacular, Julian Speroni remains one of the top ‘keepers in the league and they have more midfield depth than they know what to do with.

What I’m saying is that Palace is not a squad that will drop down to the lower mid-table like they did last season after the Carling Cup run drained every last iota of energy out of the depleted and injured squad, they’ve simply got too much quality this time around to do so. What I’m not saying is that they’re completely ready for that run to the Premier League quite yet. That’s why focusing on Zaha, even if they do eventually agree to a sell-and-loan sort of deal that would see him come back to the team for the final stretch of the season, would be a foolhardy move by Ian Holloway and the Palace staff. There’s far more to be done during the transfer window.

The lack of finishing during the recent winless stretch has proven that the team needs another goal threat up top to pair with Glenn Murray on the days when he gets cold or gets smothered by multiple defenders. (Indeed, the ‘Hack-A-Murray’ method of defending, to borrow a Basketball term, seems to have gotten popular in recent weeks.) Defensive lapses by the oft-injured back four has proven that the team very much needs extra depth at the back. If there are any hopes about getting back into the automatic promotion spots, these are moves that will need to be made. Thus-far, we’ve seen nothing of that sort with every news piece about Palace fixating on Zaha. Palace’s current problems are prevalent even with Zaha playing every match, they won’t cease simply because he has been kept or brought in on loan. The transfer window is going to slam shut sooner rather than later if they can’t keep their minds off of the wonderkid.

Fortunately for everyone, Ian Holloway seems up to the challenge. At least, his scathing comments to journalists asking about Zaha week-in and week-out certainly makes it seem like he does. Hopefully, he can add a few new names to the Palace squad first, and worry about a big sale for England’s favorite transfer target later.

Written by Chris White, We Are Going Up’s Crystal Palace blogger

Chris tweets at @uzworm

Tight budget, but the Gills require one more January signing

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

With the January transfer window just around the corner, it was about time those dreaded words were made public….

“If players go, then we are balancing the budget, but we have a good squad and that’s the squad we have pretty much until the end of the season now”

Gillingham’s chairman Paul Scally told Kent Online this week. And so, like the majority of lower league football fans up and down the country, it looks as though dreams of a promotion-clinching signing can be stored away for another six months.

No money in the wallet. No loose change down the back of the sofas. Just make do with what you’ve got. Yet, without denying another signing or two would be welcome – when would it not – the majority of Gillingham fans will be reasonably happy with the squad heading into the new year. There are areas where the team could have extra cover, but with an already large squad and some decent acquisitions last summer it may be a case of trying to get the best from what is at the club already.

That may not be a bad thing, either. The players used so far have set the foundations for a play-off campaign, while hopes of a top-three finish have not yet been extinguished. As we approach halfway in the league season, the dial is pointing more towards success than it is failure.

If the club needed any reminder of progress that has been made of late, it only needs to take one look at last season. After 20 league games in 2010-11, they were recovering from a poor start and had just been dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league Dover. League form had been indifferent, occupying ninth place with only eight goals in nine home games. Strikingly, their third away in 37 league games had just been achieved.

Yet now Gillingham are in the play-offs and five points ahead of last season. The squad is also stronger with goals coming from a wider range of sources. Saturday’s 0-0 draw away at Macclesfield was the side’s third clean sheet in a row and they go into a busy Christmas period seven games unbeaten.

The club has also managed to reach the third round of the FA Cup to set up a tie with former manager Tony Pulis and his Europa troopers. Sadly, toughened Stoke are quite possibly the best-prepared side for a cold and atmospheric Priestfield Stadium, but ticket revenue and a Premier League challenge will be most welcome.

Yet there still are a couple of snagging problems. One is a new contract for Luke Rooney, with player and club failing to reach a settlement. Rooney has a spark of genius that can turn games around – it would be a great shame to lose him, but with praise coming from the likes of Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio, this could well be a possibility.

Bigger still though, is the problem of finding a replacement for Frank Nouble – currently on loan from West Ham – and trying to grab Jo Kuffour on a permanent deal in January. Nouble looks likely to return to his parent club permanently, while Kuffour’s form could interest teams in higher leagues.

Which brings me back to the chairman’s quote on the playing budget. While he has done everything to provide Andy Hessenthaler with a squad capable of challenging in League Two, the club may need just one more financial miracle to attract Kuffour from Mr. Scally.

The striker is in the final four weeks of a three-month loan spell, then there’s a chance of a permanent move. Agree a deal and the club will be looking good heading into the new year. If he heads elsewhere, Gillingham will be back to only having a couple of strikers and the goals could dry up.

While the foundations of a decent season have been set, the January transfer window represents a crucial moment. And if signing Kuffour means balancing the books, there could be some nervous faces around the dressing room over the next few weeks.

Written by Ben Curtis, We Are Going Up’s Gillingham blogger

Ben tweets at @benjamin_curtis

Disaster? What disaster?

Monday, September 12th, 2011

May 22nd 2011, Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool. Since that fateful day last summer Blackpool have lost players that notched 40 of our 55 Premier League goals, the goals came from DJ Campbell (13), Charlie Adam (12), Luke Varney (5), Marlon Harewood (5), Jason Puncheon (3) and David Vaughan (2). The sales of Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell put £8.5m into the transfer pot, Jason Puncheon and LukeVarney returned to their parent clubs, Southampton and Derby respectively, Marlon Harewood was released and David Vaughan ran his contract down and joined Sunderland on a free transfer. Let’s not forget the 10 players that were released by the club including Andy Reid, Richard Kingson and Malaury Martin to name a few, our squad was now wafer thin.

A rebuilding job was top of the agenda. Ian Holloway and his backroom staff brought in 11 players before the first game of the season. Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips were the pick of the bunch, not forgetting youngsters Tom Ince and Gerardo Bruna from Liverpool. One of my favourite signings of the summer was unproven striker Craig Sutherland on a free transfer from North Carolina State University Wolfpack of the US College leagues. It later emerged that Ian Holloway had signed the player only after watching a DVD of him in action, the recommendation coming from Holloway’s wife Kim who was given a pile of DVD’s to watch.

An up and down pre-season didn’t help the cause. The players weren’t gelling, there was no creativity and chances were few and far between, beating Hull City away from home on the first day of the season was looking impossible.

However Blackpool did beat Hull 1-0, the players looked sharp, they were gelling and we had plenty of chances. It was nothing short of a miracle and goes to show that pre-season form means diddly squat! It was a fine performance in front of the Sky Sports cameras and it was our squad hadn’t changed. A League Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday didn’t do too much damage, the following Sunday the Tangerines recorded their first home win of the season against newly promoted Peterborough thanks to a brace from evergreen Kevin Phillips (a recent fans poll declared the 38-year-old Blackpool’s best signing of the summer) We were flying.

A smash and grab home loss to Derby County certainly took the wind out of the sales with Ian Holloway declaring that there was still plenty of work to do before considering themselves promotion contenders. Next up was Brighton at the newly built AMEX Stadium. 2-0 down after 50 minutes and the visitors looked down and out but step up Super Kevin Phillips, another brace from the former England international was enough to take a point back to Bloomfield Road (at the time of writing Blackpool are the only team to have taken points away from The Seagulls). A further point away from home against Crystal Palace was enough to take the team up to 7th before the international break, as fans we were happy.

I was also happy with our summer signings but the general consensus on our fans forum were not, they wanted bigger, expensive WOW signings as many put it. The club had a few days to bring players in on permanent deals before the transfer window slammed shut. There was talk of Adam Le Fondre (who went to Reading), Rob Hulse, Jason Puncheon (joined QPR on loan), Stephen Quinn, Jason Scotland and Nile Ranger. The list is endless. In the end James Hurst arrived on loan from WBA, followed by Daniel Bogdanovic from Sheff Utd for a fee of £250,000.

The fans were not happy and neither was Ian Holloway. Ollie came out in the press and said that on deadline day he had bid for 15 players and all bids were knocked back. He stated that the club were being held ransom because of their new bank balance (Premier League TV money, parachute payments etc.) and ended up signing an England U-19 and a League One reserve player. I for one am not passing judgement too early, let’s see these boys play and then make our minds up, not forgetting the added luxury of the loan transfer window. All Premier League clubs have now named their 25 man squads until January so it’ll be up to Ian Holloway and company to pick off the best players available. Rob Hulse, Danny Shittu, Tom Soares and Danny Collins are a few names that catch the eye and are all players who possess the quality to help a team on it’s way to promotion.

A 2-0 win against big spending Ipswich calmed the nerves for Blackpool, goals from Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Barry Ferguson were enough to see off Paul Jewell’s men. It was a game where you had to take your chances – the team did and now find themselves 8th in the Championship after six games. The real test will come next weekend against Cardiff City. Malky Mackay’s men have been playing some impressive football in the past couple of weeks and are just a place above in the standings.

Blackpool fans have been asking for more new faces, will they come before the Cardiff City game? Only time will tell.

Written by Adam Kinder, We Are Going Up’s Blackpool Blogger

Adam tweets at @adam_kinder