“From the dawn of time we came; moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering; when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you… until now” – Highlander
Like some Hollywood script playing out before our eyes, the January transfer window steamrolls into our consciousness daring to peak our enthusiasm however when it finally closes, we are left bewildered and devoid of hope.
The desperadoes make haste to grab whatever meerkats offer to raise their heads high, willing to pay a majestic ransom to secure their services, whilst the public schoolboys flaunt their wads of cash to entice the cream of this month’s flavourings.
As fans, we wonder whether our club will leap with purpose into the fray, to do battle with the mighty knights, to lure the very best to swear undying loyalty to our flag…but all that remains is the questionable allegiance of an overfed serf.
You may question why I hold the January transfer window with such high contempt when others may see this as an opportunity to reshape the balance of an otherwise malfunctioning season. Once again I am torn between the two evils of an unrealised expectation and overzealous advances that leave us covered in raspberry jam with a swarm of flesh eating hornets heading our way.
If I had my way, then clubs would be forced to make their signings at the start of the season and have to cope until season end. There wouldn’t be a rush to panic buy players who have decided to jump ship or whom we wistfully believe will be our saving grace. I would increase the squad sizes and improve the youth program in order to negate any such market trading desires. The bulls and the bears would be banished from our trading farm, with redemption graced when the league programs lay their heads down to sleep.
Every year it amazes me how disorganised our club seems to be where others appear to have their diaries and flow charts primed months in advance. West Ham arrived bulging with the need to fill key positions…most notably in central midfield but one could argue there are right back concerns and a lack of creativity with an end result all over the park.
Early November, David Moyes was appointed as manager of our team that lacked a performance standard, drive and fitness level expected of professional sportsmen. Immediately assessing our frailties and appointing a coaching team, he set about to turn our fortunes around with some success, however that white elephant still loomed large in the room.
At an early stage, I figured there would be only tentative forays into the transfer market. As much as I did not believe the ownership would invest heavily in support of a manager that would be employed until the summer, it also appeared that Moyes was reluctant to commit to any target. Claiming to be his own man and the boss of his kingdom…it sounded more like a man masking the truth, keeping the curtains drawn on a club with little ambition to spend the ample coffers.
So we’ve arrived into the second week of the transfer window with little rumours to be truly excited about. Facts absent and speculation rife, we continue to seek that special player who may forgive our trespasses in midfield and lead us into progressive attacking temptation.
I have sympathy for our manager and coaching team however, they have immersed themselves into a whirlpool of deceit, mistrust and apathy. They have admitted, in not so many words, that they were surprised by the intensity of game by game expectations and have acknowledged that whilst some of our performances have been promising, we have also failed to make the grade or limped over the line in other games.
With that being the case, then why didn’t we target players in November and why haven’t we already made big waves to sign them? Support…or rather the lack of it! We have a new policy of ‘one in-one out’ to keep our net spend low, whilst is admirable in some twisted logic, it also shouts of Groundhog Day – Phil…popping his head out…hoping for an early spring but failing to see the huge arctic blizzard heading our way.
The club should’ve lined up their sights, ready to pounce in December, show ambition and spend the appropriate amount on a marquee player or at least one that has a track record to fill our key position shortfall. But…as yet…we have disappointed and cruelly underachieved.
To add insult to injury, rumours suggest we may even sell what little creativity we have left in exchange for…well much less of the same. Why?
Surely we should be bolstering our squad, certainly not selling any key and in-form player, to see us clear the drop zone at the end of the season, but instead it appears that damp squibs are our focus or as yet unproven debutants.
Underwhelmed, unenthused, deliriously bewildered and simply can’t wait for this pain to be over.
I fear I am right, but I hope I am proven wrong by a manager that has started to grow on me in some ways and by a board that I hope will yield to demonstrate true commitment to the cause.
We may indeed sign some talent that can improve us but I wager instead of a transfer champagne supernova…we end up with fizzy plonk!