Have we gone to the back of the queue?
PUBLISHED: 15:46 28 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:15 14 September 2010
Poor old Peter the Pointer (PTP) was forced to admit this week that we'll struggle to compete for top class players this summer. He told a Colney press conference that try as he might; it's going to be very hard to match clubs freshly relegated from the Premiership.
Poor old Peter the Pointer (PTP) was forced to admit this week that we'll struggle to compete for top class players this summer.
He told a Colney press conference that try as he might; it's going to be very hard to match clubs freshly relegated from the Premiership.
That's right, while cash-rich clubs will be fighting it out for the likes of Peter Thorne, Louis-Jean and Dean Marney - we'll be digging around in the bargain bucket.
Such is life, we shall just have to make do. While PTP will be happy to trot out the (doubtless justified) line about not having the money to compete with ex-Prem sides; I doubt you'll find too many people from the board saying it.
Because they know - we all know - that when we had our moment to wallow in the Sky dosh, we wasted it in a manner that would have Alan Sugar shouting “you're fired” before Doomy could muster a single word about “debt restructuring”.
But ho hum, what is done is done. It still infuriates us all that we missed our once-a-decade chance, yet we have to move on. So where now?
Well, as yet another transfer window looms we are being told to “expect big changes at Colney”.
The Man has grown tired of waiting for such changes - and I sincerely doubt there is any money left now to orchestrate such a revolution.
I fully expect there to be a mini-exodus this summer, but I doubt it will be accompanied by a major influx.
The Man would imagine we'll see pretty much the same XI that is out there today, come the first game next season. There may well be a new full back in the mix - possibly a midfielder that gets into the opposition's box - but I'd have thought that will be it.
A raft of youth team players, good ones too - like Martin and Spilla - will make up the gaps in the squad.
They will have a big part to play next season. If we hang on to Earnie - Hux stays fit - and Grant somehow finds a way of making the most inconsistent performers I have ever seen play consistently - then we may well trouble the top six.
Yet in my heart of hearts if you offered me a top ten finish now I would bite your hand off. There are so many teams who can compete for promotion now that you just have to hope the Promotion Fairy - who visited Reading and Watford in recent years - comes back our way.
Yet The Man gets a horrible feeling that we've had our turn, and we've gone to the back of the queue.
On a separate note, one thing The Man would like to see happen this summer is for Lee Croft to attain a level of fitness that allows him to play 90 minutes of football - the conventional duration of a match.
I'm not going to be too hard on him, because such is the scarcity of our squad it's highly likely he's been playing with an injury for months.
But seeing him - as Iwan would say - “blowing out of his a**e” after 20 minutes in every game is a touch disheartening.
Crofty looked a cracking player at the start of this season and let's hope he returns in similar form come August.
t A predictable draw between two bang average sides.
That's one way of looking at last weekend's game against those we don't speak of.
The Man has to admit, however, I came over a little queer at kick-off.
Maybe it was the stomach-wrenching time I had to get out of bed to get to the Carra; or maybe it was the bottle of Corona at 10am - but I found myself welling with East Anglian pride come noon.
When the sun is shining - making the stands an almost luminous yellow - our place really is something to behold.
Couple that with a crackling atmosphere, and us ripping into Suffolk's premier market town, and it is unique.
Just like Lappy's last minute winner at Luton; it makes all the suffering worthwhile.
Balls to your Champions League, balls to your £50 to get into Stamford Bridge, balls to Bolton, balls to Sky - I'll take this any day.
We didn't end up winning, but given we only had about three fit players, I don't think that's any bad thing.
t Some startling originality at the PFA awards this week…
Eight Man U players in the team of the season.
t Ronaldo named player of the year.
t Ronaldo named young player of the year.
t Ferguson given the special merit award.
I suppose these awards are voted for by the players themselves - so we should not expect too many surprise results - but it does make you wonder how much the rest of the Prem is in awe of Man U.
Have Edwin van der Sar and yard-dog Rio Ferdinand really been the best players in their respective positions?
And surely a Reading player should have crept into the winning XI following their season? Still, who cares? I sure as hell don't.