With the transfer window on point of closing it felt odd as a City supporter to have witnessed most of our business being done surprisingly early. In recent years have struggled to even switch the light on in the office entitled ‘Recruitment’ but this summer, just when we thought our dealings were done, they manage to squeeze another one through the door. But will it be the last?
As things stand we have acquired a centre-back with loads of Championship experience; something that one would assume would please us City fans but of course for a few, before he’s hardly set foot in the place, he’s not good enough!
He hasn’t kicked a ball in yellow on our hallowed turf yet but already Grant Hanley is being written off.
“I mean he can’t even push Russell Martin out of the Scotland side!”
“He didn’t play more than 4 games for Newcastle!”
I can’t pretend I’m jumping up and down with exuberance or thinking we’ve pulled off the deal of the century but I’m hoping he does exactly what it says on the tin; a good solid centre back who can head a ball, command those around him and, above all, knows the league.
He was captain at Blackburn (where a certain Paul Lambert rated him highly – Ed) so hopefully he’s a natural leader. Could he ultimately take the armband from Mr Norwich City himself? Who knows.
One thing is for certain, Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke have addressed the glaring problem in our defence. We have conceded the most goals in the top three flights and lie in the bottom three, but it’s early days and hearing that David Wagner’s career didn’t start all too well at Huddersfield – five defeats in seven games and 14 goals conceded – means there is still a glimmer of hope that it’s just time that is needed and Farke will make this work.
There must be a stark difference from fancy Bundesliga football to the brusque style of the Championship; the difference between having the time to sip and savour your wine compared to having to down a pint in one go. The Championship is brutal with games coming thick and fast. There are no easy games and every one is a physical test, so as we headed into the two-week break there was a lot to address and work on.
So when I just waved off my daughter (who had just passed her driving test) on her maiden voyage I knew she would now ‘learn to drive’ properly by gaining hands-on experience. And that is exactly what Farke is facing head-on right now in the English Football League, along with several of his inexperienced players who are equally bereft of Championship experience.
They will all need to learn from their mistakes; be steered and guided by the experienced players, whose valuable knowledge and know-how will help them understand the grit and steel that is needed in this league.
The problem is Farke is in the driving seat of a fairly new car, with new tyres to bed in, and at the moment and it doesn’t look like he’s managed to get it from first gear into second too successfully. Yet I feel sure that a couple more drives and a few tweaks will help finely tune his model that currently resembles a Lada (of course I’m too young to remember them *coughs*) into a more refined Mercedes, I mean he is German after all.
Of course we expect there to be a few pit stops along the way but we have got to get from first to fifth gear by Christmas and hopefully cruise into at least sixth position; even if at the first time of asking for a rookie team that may be just a little too much.
Perhaps we won’t hit them pole positions this season but if we could reach 8/10th with a whole new model we will have done okay in my opinion.
With baited breath we await the developments of the next few hours to see if we can hold onto our remaining squad. And then we need to get behind our team be part of the driving force come win, draw or lose.
So hop on board, belt up and hold on. It promises to be one hell of a journey.