Picture this: An exhausted Stan drops the mouse from his hand and the earpiece from his lug-hole, he blinks with sleepy eyes at the half-finished mugs of tea littered around the room, and moves slowly to the sofa. His mind is abuzz with new names; his fists are clenched in frustration.
At last it is over, the season can continue. But first, at 12.01, Stan needs to sleep.
Ten hours late and was it all worth it? Well, it was certainly busy. Four in and two more out in the space of two days, plus the sorting out of young Ched for the rest of the season, suggests that Glenn and his minions were hard at it to the bitter end.
The squad looks better in terms of numbers, the clubs from which we have acquired our new assets are bona fide Premiership ones, and that all important competition for places has intensified. On the face of it, things seem to be looking good.
Problem is, it only 'seems' that way at the moment. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding. Now, Stan's slightly negative tone here stems from a couple of sources, and should not be taken as meaning he is in any way dissatisfied. To date, Roader's choice of signing have been exemplary, and there is no reason to suggest the new batch will be otherwise.
So let this old boy get two things off his chest.
First, no Tiny. For all Brum's shutting the door in a huff, Stan can't help but think that the Taylor deal could have been wrapped up over Christmas. By playing a rather childish game of chicken, we have missed the opportunity to sign permanently the best centre-back to pull on the yellow and green since Jon Newsome.
True, Doc and Shacks are finally getting their double-act together, but the whole things smacks of an own goal. Stan just hopes that the close season will bring the big man back to us.
Second, the temporary nature of our current squad gives Stan a little cause for concern. We now have a nice mix of up-and-coming talent and old heads, but almost half the squad is here either for the short-term or committed to new careers in the summer.
Truth be told, Stan hoped to see the foundations of the real Team Glenn be planted, with at least a couple of permanent signings signalling the way forward for 2008-9. In particular, the lack of deputy for Dion makes Stan a little nervous.
Of course, Stan accepts that it would be daft to pay too much over the odds for anybody, and it seems that a couple of potential moves were blocked by various turns of event. Still, it leaves Stan feeling that we are a little light. With all the big names on Glenn's Christmas card list, we are becoming a fine training ground for our Premiership masters – but we have not recruited the tried-and-tested or finished article.
But let's get back onto more positive ground. Of the four new boys, Matthew Bates and Alex Pearce seem the most sensible signings, providing both cover and competition for our much beleaguered defence. We'll ignore Bates' stint down the road, as Stan wonders if he may be here longer than just the season.
Whatever, the two new boys will ensure our improving back four do not rest on their laurels. As for Kieran Gibbs, well anything Arsenal sounds exciting. James Henry, meanwhile, looks set to put more pressure on poor old Crofty – though the meaty one is flying at the moment and would feel rightly miffed if he lost his place today.
Overall, we have bolstered the defence and added further dimensions to the midfield. Let's just hope they provide the ammo for the frontline to do the business.
Finally, a word about Lappin and Jarvis. In the latter case, this really is the last chance saloon: time to grow up or ship out. Given Stan's family as Notts County connections, he hopes he takes to life on the Trent.
As for Lappin, Stan can't help but feel that he has been unduly tarred by the Granty brush.
A decent man and a decent player, whose only crime was to lose his confidence amidst his being required to play in almost every imaginable position. Stan wishes him well and will remember those goals against Luton and Cardiff fondly for many pint to come. Now, where's the black coffee …
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