Dom Roman – @DomRoman
So its bye bye to Gints and greetings to Jason and Asa this week, as the Plainmoor revolving door continues to squeak and slowly turn this summer. The pace of the incomings is not exactly setting #TUFC Social Media alight, but at least our squad is starting to take shape under the massive shadow of the World Cup – at least until England take their final bow, whenever that may be (Matty H tells me “It’s coming home”).
McGinty leaving had been confirmed last week by a Facebook post from the centre back. “Onto the next chapter” he commented and where would that be we wondered? Bromley, Barrow, Basingstoke….no silly it’s Partick Thistle, who were relegated from the Scottish top division last season. Bit of a surprise to Yellows everywhere that a club who were 11th best in all of Scotland in 17-18 would want a player who captained the 114th placed team in England to relegation misery.
No disrespect to Sean who gets a very good move, but it’s a sad indication of the terrible state that Scottish football finds itself in. I remember the glory days for the north of the border teams, when Rangers and Celtic could more than match English counterparts – plus the likes of Aberdeen and Dundee United also had successful spells both domestically and abroad. Nowadays the money isn’t there and nor are the players, which is a real shame as the passion for football up there will always be huge.
Sean leaving doesn’t particularly disappoint me. He was an ever-present trier and did care in a squad where defensive partners were rotated like the food in a YO Sushi, but let’s be honest he should have still done much better. Also that distribution will never be missed – I don’t think I can recall a player with so many over-hit passes under his belt! (I’m sure we’ll find other players to keep the ball boys busy..) Maybe the Thistle manager will cajole more quality displays out of a defender who was once a promising youngster at Man Utd (just in case anybody had forgotten). I wish him well for the future, but time to move on.
The first INCOMING this week was Jason Banton. Another ex-Woking winger to join Bobson and perhaps an indication that 4-4-2 will be preferred by Owers this coming August. Reports on the lad are mixed, from talk about undoubted talent to indiscipline and inconsistency – typical winger then! Can GO coax the best out of the ex-Argyle man? Coaching-wise Gary has so much to prove, that is for sure. I’ll judge Jason (and every other signing this summer) from his performances when the season starts, it’s the best and fairest way to treat them after all.
The second INCOMING was predictably midfielder Asa Hall. Asa is an experienced ex-league player, who should easily have the class to hold his own in the NLS. He has had injury problems over the years and will be 32 this year, so there could be concerns on fitness. However at our lowly level there’s always going to be IFS and BUTS attached to each signing. A calm playmaker in midfield could be crucial to any success we have in the season to come and after playing 37 times for Barrow last season maybe injury worries are a thing of the past for Asa. I look forward to seeing AH pull some strings (not hamstrings mind) for United in the friendlies.
The pattern of signings so far has been fairly consistent with the rest of the incomings since Owers/Kuhl arrived last September – and yes that is worrying. Generally the guys arriving have represented teams at higher levels and are looking for a new challenge as their football careers falter. It didn’t work last season did it! Owers best signing Elliott Romain bucked that trend, as he was clearly determined to prove himself as a National League player and win a new contract at Daggers (which he did).
I would like to see young guys arrive who are on the up and are motivated to treat United as a stepping stone to better things. Sure it means they might not stay for long, but rough diamonds have the potential to improve and the drive and energy to spur us onwards into a promotion battle. For example signing Asa Hall could be very good business and surrounding him with dynamic and hard-working players primed for NLS action would help hugely. The overall balance of the class of 18-19 must be fit for purpose and I’m not convinced so far.
A pretty good example of ‘the right balance’ takes me back to 2007 when Paul Buckle had to re-model and re-energise a relegated TUFC to fight for promotion in the Conference. Much like now we were a pretty big fish in the division’s pond, and he was able to attract players who knew the Conference very well in the form of Nicholson, Todd, Sills etc, add young talent such as Benyon, Ellis and Stevens and top it off with proven league ability in the form of Chrissy Hargreaves. Making strides like 2007-08 is a big ask, but we have to aim high don’t we – otherwise what is the point?!