The transfer window has now closed and my immediate thoughts? It wasn’t great.
Now I would like to clarify before carrying on that the players we have got through the door, I am pleased with.
The business we have done is pretty solid. It’s the timing of it and the business we didn’t do that is frustrating.
I would also like to clarify that I believe we have a solid first 11 and a couple that can come from the bench and with the loan signings being discussed (which can be made up until the 31st of August) even with the outgoings of two very good and vital players, we will have a solid squad.
I would also like to say that criticism has become a bit of a dirty word and a lot of the social media chat indicates criticism to be negative.
To be black or white and never grey. It is possible to criticise and not be negative. I’ll touch on this a little later.
The criticism that fans have aimed at the club and at each other recently, has revolved around the transfer window. The window can be looked at long term and short term.
Long term by the way of strengthening the squad and the progression of the league campaign.
How the players slot in to their role in the squad or press their claims for a new side. Financially how a player’s value rises and falls over the following seasons.
In the short term, by the way how your club conducts its business and also how players can have an immediate impact and then either fade, fall out with players/staff/club etc .
In both respects we have got it right and wrong over the years.
One long term example is Adama Traore. After losing a popular player in Albert Adomah, we replaced him with an inexperienced, inconsistent player.
Short term, it was ridiculed by many (me included) in the short term view and goal of staying in the Premier League.
While this signing didn’t help massively, there were many other factors that lead to our relegation.
Fast forward two years and after relegation and a playoff season in the Championship. Interest from France was resisted under Garry Monk.
Traore progressed massively under the tutelage of ‘best buddy’ Tony Pulis and was sold for more than what we bought him for.
It could have been a lot more and would have loved to have kept him this season, but in a way, it was a ‘win’ in investment terms. Short term viewed as a poor decision. Long term, a viewed as a great signing.
One short term example is Gaston Ramirez.
He was brought in to bolster our promotion push with his creativity and flair. A vital addition that definitely helped us in our aim of getting promoted and was viewed as pivotal to our season in the top flight.
Eventually he downed tools and wanted away and we looked bereft of creativity in his absence and ultimately succumbed to relegation.
Short term, brilliant signing and did his job and got us promoted.
Long term, didn’t commit to the cause and wanted away and, whilst we got a profit from the sale, his absence hurt us badly and added to the disharmony in the squad.
There is no way of knowing straight off the bat whether players will be good for the club long term or short term. They could be great for both, for one or neither.
Now take the window as a separate entity and disregard the consequences going forward and look at how a club conducts its business.
We have admirably and on a number of occasions refused to bow to greedy agents and chairmen who are difficult to work with.
Jordan Rhodes is an example of that. We walked away from a deal before a season had started as Venky’s were playing games and we made them sweat for a while.
Then when we looked, to wrap the deal up for January’s Deadline Day. The agent was causing issues but we held firm and Rhodes chastised his agent and pushed the move through.
It was a victory against the scourge that is money-grabbing agents and difficult chairmen. Now we got that deal over the line just in time.
The problem with leaving your dealings so late in to the window is that when these kinds of snags and obstacles appear, you have very little time to react and navigate them before time runs out.
Also with the sales of Traore, Gibson and Bamford, clubs knew that we would potentially be receiving over £40 million in transfer fees and Pulis saying that additions were needed.
So we go into the last few days with money to spend and clubs looking to get their “valuation” (or pay through the nose to you and me) for their players.
If you get your deals done relatively early and are keeping an eye on the market and maybe look for one or two to strengthen, but can walk away if needed – then your bargaining position is much stronger.
You can walk away saying “we would have liked one or two more but pleased with what we got”.
But Pulis said yesterday we were in for 7 or 8 players and we got the grand total of none. That is startling.
When your manager says you need strengthening and has said so for quite a while and you wait until the 11th hour and get clubs saying no to you, it’s not ideal.
Surely starting negotiations early and steady communication between clubs, progressing the deals to Deadline Day or before is the way to go rather than selling your assets and scurrying around as the time ticks away.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that I have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of our negotiating team or the club, but that is what it looks like to some (including me) from the outside.
On the plus side, we’ve not just blown our money on average players and we are keeping our powder dry.
Besic was pretty much a done deal until agents or the clubs couldn’t agree on something.
Either way it looks like it will be a loan deal with a view to a permanent move. So while disappointing and frustrating at first glance, should be fine on the next couple of weeks or so.
And this loan window might be our saving grace. Besic looking likely and Everton’s hand being forced after Yannick Bolasie didn’t leave permanently for the £15 million they were desiring, we have 3 weeks to thrash out a temporary deal.
Like I said, the core XI is good and we have a couple more who can come in for others.
But we are still a little threadbare in places and hopefully this can be rectified in the coming weeks. A few more additions would give the place a lift.
The Sheffield United game was encouraging but not every team will be as poor as they were and we need options to turn to. I trust the loan signings will provide this.
Going back to criticism, to be clear I’m not talking about Boro or our fans here specifically, just football fans and clubs in general.
Being needlessly negative regardless of the situation and trying to pick the worst out of every single thing a club does and being blind to anything positive is counter-productive. It fosters an attitude of negativity that can bring a club down.
On the flip side, having your eyes closed, following blindly and your fingers in your ears going “LALALA” while things deteriorate around you can allow a club to stagnate and get left behind or go backwards which is equally as counter-productive.
Constructive criticism and debate should be encouraged and not be divisive of fans of the same club.
Constructive criticism stops the club becoming impassive and complacent. It holds the club to account.
Like I said, I’m not talking about us specifically, just of fans and clubs in general.
Criticism is not a dirty word. Some criticism is unwarranted and uncalled for, but we should never be afraid of properly directed and constructive criticism.
There is a time and a place for it. Everyone has an opinion. Not everyone will agree with it and you can only call it how you see it.
But, providing you can back up your argument then you shouldn’t be ridiculed for it. People may disagree and that’s fine. But we should also reflect.
We all have our own opinions, some people back up their own argument better than others, but we can still an opinion.
When the players cross that white line and the game is on, I’m sure we all give the players, the manager, the club our undying support 100% and will continue to do so.
That is where the passion and energy should be focused on a match day.
That being said, 3 points Saturday, with Britt to get his goal that his work ethic deserved against Sheffield United. Onwards and upwards.