Earlier this month I glanced at Swindon Town and felt a huge pang of sorrow for them. They are setting a pace in League Two but saw loan strikers Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates recalled.
I didn’t worry but I did empathise. I thought we might lose Jake Hesketh or maybe Joe Morrell, but the big concern was surely Tyler Walker? 16 goals is not to be sniffed at and without him, we’d surely struggle. However, I’d had it suggested to me there was no recall in his contract, which is what I confidently told everyone I knew. I was so sure in my belief that Walker was going nowhere. I fear I may now have been made to look a bit foolish.
Now, it seems, he is. Several reputable sources suggested Forest had recalled him today and I’ve seen nothing to the contrary. I didn’t drive to the training ground to see if he was there, but I strongly suspect that if I had, I wouldn’t have seen him today. My gut and the reputation of the sources suggest to me we’re back down to two strikers, for now.
I suppose the reason we might not be told yet is that we’re lining up a replacement and want to release some good news after some bad. It’s felt like bad news after bad news for a while now, escalating from Mickey and Harry leaving, now Tyler and the ‘supposed’ bad news of the losses, which really isn’t as bad as it sounds. That said, it’s surely time for some good news? I know it is one game, but anyone watching Tom Hopper and Tyreece John-Jules miscommunicate their way through Tuesday’s limp defeat will surely be worried.
This transfer window, at the time of writing, does not look like a success. We’ve seen first-team regulars go and just potential come in. I do wonder if we’d been fifth from bottom and needing points, would we have sold Mickey so quickly? Would we have started the rebuild early?
That’s what much of this is. The rebuild we all expected in the summer has started now. Players who would most likely have left, have been allowed to do so. John Akinde and Tyler Walker will have earned a fair few quid between them and that’s now shifted off the wage bill. You know what that leaves us with? Potential.
I’m not going to write a long article here because as yet, Tyler’s departure isn’t official and there might be a late u-turn, but I wouldn’t write anything at all if I thought that was even 20% possible. The next 30 hours or so will be hugely revealing; MA didn’t expect to be spending a late evening at the office and right now, it seems we’re still in need of three players; a centre back, left-back cover and most critically, a 16-goal, £2m-rated centre forward replacement.
No pressure boss, but you did say if our key players were recalled you’d be able to bring in better. It might just be time to turn what looks like a tough window into a show of our pulling power with players. I know it isn’t the end of the world and I do trust in our board and manager to deliver League One football next season and the new business model, but it does look bleak when you lose players who provided 21 of your 36 league goals, or 27 of your overall 44 in all competitions. I appreciate people do sometimes come here for reason and calm, but this latest ‘news’, should it develop as expected, has left me feeling a bit empty.
I know there has been talk of us being compensated for any recall and all that, but I doubt we’ll ever really know the details of that. I’m not a huge fan of undisclosed fees, but in this instance there will be fans wanting to understand better how we arrived at this situation, especially when we were led to believe earlier in the week that the deadlines were yesterday.
What I would say, as kind of ‘PS’ at the end of this article, is that the loan market seems really unfair. If you loan a player for a year, commit to paying wages and the like, clubs shouldn’t have to find out they’re losing their adopted forward with only a few hours to sort a replacement. A recall option, which I suppose there must be given the players are someone else’s property, should be activated on January 1st and then the borrowing club given three weeks to find a replacement and keep the player. Surely, immediate recall at this point is hugely detrimental to the borrowing club. Especially after we’ve given him senior football at a decent level, pushed his value up by £1m no doubt and brought him on in terms of physicality and senior football exposure.
It seems desperately unfair to me for us to be treated in this way. I know people will say ‘that’s football’, but right now it’s making me really quite unhappy. At least Bristol City have some decency, eh?