I don’t think it’s the fact that it hasn’t (yet) started chucking down in London, or that the trend in friendly results is clearly positive, or the approach of holidays, or even that Goldman Sachs’ results for once raised a chuckle. Perhaps it’s just the natural order gradually being reinstated, which means an unavoidable decline back to lunacy. But I’m starting to get positive about the season ahead. The men in white coats aren’t (yet) at the door, as I’m not confident that we will win every game and secure promotion by Christmas. But as the prospective squad is becoming clearer I’m at least feeling that disaster (ie relegation) will be avoided, that we can be competitive, and that, just possibly, I’ll find a way to enjoy games. This is probably a fair sign that we’re about to get turned over at Bedford, Barnet and Bromley, let alone Watford.
I was cautiously encouraged by the comments made by Doherty after his signing and the return of Jackson, at least unconcerned at the Welling work-out, pleased by Dailley’s resigning (although I’m assuming that it means Fortune’s return is much less likely), and undoubtedly pleasantly surprised at the signing of Reid. I thought he’d gone for good (like I suppose Mooney) and to pick him up on a free has to be great business. And with McLeod departing at least the picture is clarified on that front. (The litany of failed strikers of recent seasons just goes on too long; they’re history – and hardly glorious history at that.)
Of course there’s still the risk of further sales, although the departure of Shelvey, Bailey and Richardson doesn’t exactly leave us stocked full of cash-raising assets. For the life of me I don’t understand why the transfer deadline extends to end-August rather than the end of July, at least outside the Premiership. It’s not as if Parkinson and the board should be having holidays to interrupt deals. I just want it all sorted before it begins in earnest, not to have further disruption.
We know the starting keeper, Elliot, with presumably a back-up to be signed. A defence of Solly, Jackson/Basey, Doherty/Llera/Dailley may not look overly blessed with pace, but could pass muster in this division. I get the impression that Semedo could be called on to play in midfield or provide cover at right-back or central defence, barring fresh signings. In midfield, Wagstaff and Reid provide the width, Racon the guile, and McCormack/Semedo the grit. Not much cover, aside from Stavrinou, but enough to be working with.
I think we all know the missing piece – and what we need to fill it. I now have a signed photo of Killer on the wall and it stares out at me. With the departure of Dickson, McLeod, McKenzie, Fleetwood, Burton (assumed) and no return as yet for Mooney, there’s Sodje and Tuna on the books. Bauza seems to be waiting in the wings, but I would have thought Parkinson’s seen enough of him to either make an offer or pass. Maybe we're waiting for the dosh from Cardiff for Hudson. I’m not privy to inside information, so perhaps he’s still considering other options (if he turns out for someone else this weekend I guess we’ll know). Whatever, we need two more strikers. Bringing them in might just tip me over the edge.