Whilst player trading is an opportunity, the biggest threat in my eyes is player departures. That could be in the short-term, such as with Brennan Johnson going and leaving a gap in the squad, or it could be the likes of Jorge Grant in the longer term. Nobody wants to see good players come into the side, play well and leave for free and that for me is a huge threat. I think back to the likes of Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Dany N’Guessan and Jeff Hughes, all of whom came in, did well and left for nothing. All of those players were worth £500,000 or more when they left the club and yet thanks to Mr Bosman, we got nothing. Yes, a player such as Jorge Grant can help us get where we want to be in his time contracted to the club, but it would be a crying shame to see him leave for nothing. Sadly, this is a threat the club cannot seriously counteract. Yes, they can offer new deals, but a player doesn’t have to sign them. They can offer longer deals in the first instance, but what if a player loses form, gets injured or the manager changes and leaves them in the wilderness? Then you find yourself spiralling back to financial oblivion.
This is fairly obvious and is probably the worst threat of all, but the current pandemic is a big problem for this football club, as it is to many. The lack of fans might be causing Sincil Bank to feel empty and desolate, but that is reflected in the club’s bank balance. The longer this goes on, the more likely we are to suffer the effects on the field, especially if we struggle to recruit players, pay the wages required and bring income into the club. The price of testing is a big cost too, I would imagine one the club were hit with post-Sunderland. I know Covid-19 is pretty much a threat to everything, business, leisure and sanity, and the football club is not exempt. Everything you see on the field, everything you hear from Michael and everything you believe we can achieve is currently under the spectre of this bloody virus.
The last threat is another which I feel is closer in terms of timelines than most. I fear this squad may suffer burnout. There is talk of a circuit-breaker round of postponements at present (mutterings in the press, not so much officially) and whilst that may help get a few players fit, it would leave serious fixture congestion as we move into 2021. We are still in the Papa John’s Trophy too, meaning more games which are financially lucrative to the club. All of this is going on with just 15 fit senior footballers ready to play and there is a lot of pressure on them. Jorge Grant, James Jones and Alex Palmer have started all 18 games in the league, Tom Hopper has played in all 18 and TJ Eyoma has started 16 times, playing 17. This squad is playing two games a week, almost every week, and that presents problems. we have already seen players getting injured and others have been in and out with knocks and strains. If the fixtures do pile up towards the end of the season, one can only imagine burnout is a real possibility.