The Transfer Window
How does a semi-professional club approach the offseason after back to back league titles? We can’t scout anywhere outside the country, so our transfer choices are rather limited. There are a fair few star players in the side already, and we’ve got over 200k and 1.5k p/w to work with. I’ve had my eye on a few players to strengthen some key areas, but overall this is a strong squad already. Let’s see how the window went.
You already know about Morris retiring and becoming out goalkeeping coach. I’ve let a few more players go on free transfers, as they’re just lacking quality compared to the team now. I’ll miss Kevin Amuneke and his fair few match winning goals and assists, but I just can’t find a place in this team for him anymore. Smyth and Redman had turned into reserve players and their wages were just too high to keep them around.
And then there’s the small matter of the loans. I got a new article that some were accusing us of hoarding players. It’s not my fault everyone wants my B team and youth team! You’ll notice that a fair few decent players have been loaned out to rivals in our own division. These guys were backup/fringe players this past season and while not completely useless, most likely won’t have a role to play this year. Every loan can be recalled, and none of them can play against us obviously. This is probably a risky strategy, but I’m just going to believe that the players I’m bringing in will keep us at a higher level than our rivals. This cleared quite a bit of extra space in the wage budget without losing players I might still need in the future.
I’ve gone a little bit overboard again. Not quite as bad as last year, but more than we needed.
Darren McCauley is the first, and he looks like a solid option in the number 10 spot. He’s no Faulkner (I’ll never get over this), but great work rate and flair at least. The only thing I have to say in regards to Barry Devlin is that I’ve been duped by my scouts. Jamie Glackin adds quality on the right wing and up front, scoring 19 and assisting 6 last season for Dungannon. I cannot believe that Ballymena have just let Matthew Shelvin walk as he looks like real class. Mikhail Kennedy you’ll remember from last season, he came in on a free after his Charlton contract wasn’t renewed.
I had already had my eye on Lyndon Kane prior to last season but didn’t have the resources to bring him in. The fact he popped up in our title winning match against Coleraine at the end of the season is merely chance, I assure you. T.J. Murray was brought in to add some depth and experience to the midfield. After rejecting my first two attempts, the hero of last season Philip Comnell has returned on loan for another season. Despite having good depth on the wings, I couldn’t pass up Aaron Burns and those insane set piece skills.
At this point (as you can tell by the dates) I’d figured that had wrapped up the business for the year. Towards the end of July, both Corey Carson and Garth McClean popped up on my radar. I spent a decent amount of time scouting them both, and eventually decided to pull the trigger on both. It might be a little impulsive, but they’re both upgrades on the current midfield with potential to become even better. This will be the first time I’ve had a player that could actually play as a DM, so a new range of tactics can now be tested.
Firstly, goalkeepers. We have an abundance of young, talented goalkeepers. Lorenz Koller has been developing quite nicely, and Jack Dunlop has returned from loan looking ready to challenge for starts. There’s also Kevin Hughes who’s been progressing well and is headed out on loan this season. 17 year old Brian Allison has emerged as a solid third option in central defense.
If you thought the goalkeeping prospects looked great, just wait until you see the wing players! There’s Gawne and Boydy, The Barr and Gav Cunningham. On top on them (both figuratively and tactically) we’ve got Glenn Foster, Hugh O’Neill, and Paul Watson. Whatever my future is, the future of Glentoran is bright.