We have all debated the lack of strength in depth in defence and up front. We all have our own thoughts on why we are weak in certain positions and why we have not spent as much as some would have liked. We seem to fall into two trains of thought. This is not a rigid definition, but loosely described the two camps…
1) The owner is gambling with our future by penny pinching and trying to keep costs as low as possible in order to make his money back as soon as possible and sell the club for as much profit as possible. He refuses to take a chance on investing in the squad, even though it could take us to the next level.
2) The club is falling nicely within the Financial Fair Play guidelines and stands to benefit in the long run. The owners will not be held to ransom for players in cases where clubs ask above and beyond what our club feels is fair value for a player. We have adopted a methodical, patient approach to out transfer dealings that has seen the club grow in stature and be better equipped to compete in the future without the risk of administration or even liquidation biting us in the bum.
I recently published an article pointing out that although we could have more quality in depth and could have spent more during the summer window, we actually have enough existing depth to be able to compete at a similar level to last season. We have kept all of our big hitters and even signed a few. Meanwhile players like Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux will feel like new signings – plus we have a number of youth players that finally appear ready for some regular action. We can cope.
That said, just 2 or 3 more quality signings could have ensured that we were strong on all fronts this season. Squad morale would have been better than it is now (possibly), genuine competition for places in the team will have been created (of which there is little of) and the crowd will have been a tad more bullish and full of voice during games – giving us that 12th man factor.
There is never any guarantee that a few semi-expensive signings will be a success, but maybe it would appease the fans and show a more substantive signal of intent. Perhaps our current approach to success for the club is a good one, but is not sexy enough for some fans?
We all know that throwing money around does not guarantee success, but there is the argument that if we can obtain quality players on the cheap via fantastic scouting, then why cant we apply the same approach at the same time as actually spending a few bob on one or two faces that will undoubtedly propel us to the next level? There are many very good arguments to be had from both sides of the coin, but nobody can dispute that we currently have the best squad we have seen in probably a good decade or so – having spent relatively little.
The Freddy Shepherd days may have been all glamour and big name signings – sexy on the outside, but riddled with debt and risky management on the inside – whereas the Mike Ashley Ashley days are all about being well oiled on the inside, albeit not a lot to get the heart pumping on the face of it. Feel free to go into depth on the subject on the comments section, but just out of interest I’d like you to cast your vote on one simple question – take your time to really think about this before registering your reply.