Saturday, February 03, 2007

Not good enough

Phew! Thank goodness the transfer window's shut! I don't think I could have coped with much more of the frantic activity of the last few days...

(No, I think you'll find sarcasm is the HIGHEST form of wit.)

What do we have to show for our endeavours? A 24-year-old USA international centre back called Oguchi Onyewu, signed on loan from Standard Liege, who is a promising talent but essentially unproven at the very top level.

Sorry Fat Fred and Glenn, but that's just not good enough. You might be thinking / hoping that the injury situation can't possibly be as bad in the second half of the season as it has been in the first, and that players will soon be returning from long lay-offs - but I've followed this football club long enough to know that you shouldn't be counting on that.

Our Academy youngsters have performed manfully on a number of occasions, but were found out in the most painful way imaginable in the televised FA Cup replay against Birmingham. Even with Stephen Carr, Steven Taylor and Titus Bramble back against Villa, we looked decidedly shaky, and on another night debutants Ashley Young and John Carew could have helped themselves to hat-tricks and their new club to an even more handsome Tyneside win than their near neighbours. Expecting "Gooch" to sort that out single-handedly is wishful thinking, I'm afraid.

And what about the other mooted signings? In the last couple of days rumours about a number of players - Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ryan Babel, Frederic Piquionne, Joey Barton - came to nought, while others (I'm thinking mainly of Matthew Upson here) went elsewhere.

Time will tell whether our reluctance to part with cash pays off, but I'm sceptical.

Meanwhile, we failed even to offload Albert Luque, despite PSV having the hots for our grumpy Spaniard. In a statement, the Dutch club laid the blame squarely at Fat Fred's door, labelling him "obstructive". After the Milner saga in the summer, our midweek opponents Villa can probably sympathise.


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