Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Queens Park Strangers

I have to credit the official website for that title, which grates a little, but for all my sins I don't like to plagiarise :-). Seven new players have come in this week, and there's still talk of two or three more. Akos Buzsaky signed permanently (woo hoo !) and Hogan Ephraim has returned, so we know all about those two. Kieran Lee (a 20-year old right back) came in on loan from Manchester United just before the new year, as did Gavin Mahon. I expect the latter is much more likely to be here for more than half a season. Fitz Hall and Matthew Connolly (also 20, from Arsenal) have signed up in defence. Those are all understandable ; the odd one is Patrick Agyemang who has arrived from Preston, which is a strange one, he hasn't been in the side much at Preston, he doesn't have a great reputation and he's never particularly caught my eye. Still, the management must see something in him.

The idea seems to be to put together a squad of 22 with genuine competition for every place, which would definitely be something we're not used to :-). You can see how much healthier this is ; in the past, when a regular first-teamer was suspended or injured, then either someone would play out of position or a squad player would come in who everyone knew wasn't good enough. As soon as the regular was fit, he'd be back in. Now players like Leigertwood might think twice about getting themselves 4-match bans for dissent, as they'll wonder how long they might be out of the picture for.

It's maybe harsh on some of the players who have done well lately, but at least we haven't had any trouble bringing in the players we want, by the looks of it. Some of them are on longish contracts (Hall and Agyemang are both 27 and both on 4 1/2 year deals) ; I suspect that this is down to player power from players who have several offers on the table. They don't necessarily negotiate for higher wages, longer deals give them more security. Anyway, we'll have to see how it pans out. There's still talk about bringing in Rowan Vine, a backup goalkeeper and an Argentinian winger !

The game against Chelsea tomorrow is the focus for some interesting parallels ; talk about the soul of the club (as in the blog linked in a comment below) is bound to come up. I might post about that later. If you fancy a punt tomorrow I'm sure enough that Chelsea will win, but we might run them close, and the Rs might be worth a nibble on the Asian Handicap +2 or +2.5.

Meanwhile I am sparing a thought for Barnet who had to let Liam Hatch go to Peterborough ; it's a shame but as the chairman points out, having a reputation for not standing in players' way when they have a chance to better themselves is a big selling point for attracting half-decent young players to the club in the first place. A £250K bid for Jason Puncheon from Leeds has (apparently) been rejected, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone met the asking price before the month is out. At least the Bees have accumulated enough points to be fairly secure for the rest of the season.


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