It seems that last season’s leading scorer, Anthony Scully, is leaving the club, with Championship Wigan the destination.
It’s something the doom-and-gloomers have been prophecising for 18 months or more, and it seems to be the only subject of conversation this evening. That’s a real shame for Matty Virtue, a player we’ve needed ever since Liam Bridcutt left the club, and hopefully, someone to give our midfield some stability. The former Liverpool trainee is a free agent this summer as well and therefore ripe for signing if he fits in. Still, that’s not the right thing to talk about, is it? Not when we could be arguing like a cat and bloody dog again.
Tomorrow evening, Chris Laming and I will be doing a transfer window podcast special for you to listen to, but I have to get some Scully things off my chest now. Sadly, I can’t get the point across in 144 characters or whatever Twitter gives you, so I’ll use my site and hope it doesn’t crash again. I’m going to pick up on some points from the socials this evening and give my opinion on them, if that’s ok. Remember, the headings are the opinion I’ve got from the socials, not my own opinions!
We Won’t Miss Anthony Scully
That’s rubbish, of course, we will. Scully almost has a goals-to-game ratio to match Gareth Ainsworth, which is ironic given that Wigan were a club we turned down when selling Gareth. Scully has hit 37 goals for us, 25 in the league, and they’re obviously going to be missed. I don’t buy the opinion (and that’s all this is as well) that he’s been going through the motions or hasn’t been putting a shift in. He hasn’t had as much joy since coming back from injury, but he’s the type of player who could conjure something from nothing. It does him a huge disrespect to claim he’s wanted away for months, and it only really fits the narrative some have been spouting since he dropped out of the side after Sheff Weds. Of course, we’ll miss a player with 106 appearances, 37 goals and a League One play-off final under his belt, and it’s madness to suggest otherwise.
Anthony Scully Must Be Replaced.
Here’s the thing; we’ll miss him because he’s been good for us, but the squad as it is can take his departure. Charles Vernam and Jack Diamond proved to have pace and trickery this week against Barnsley, whilst Jordon Garrick has already got fans on side. If Scully stayed, only one of those three could play on the other flank; now, two can. I understand the club also sees Danny Mandroiu as a wide player, making four for two spots. So, why do we need to replace Scully? People say we must reinvest the money; what about Mandroiu and Vernam, two wingers of our own we can look to improve with game time? Were they not investments? Garrick and Diamond could be targeted if they do well with their contract situations, so why do we need a replacement for him right now? We don’t, that’s the headline. In my opinion, we’re short an attacker of some sort – if Ben House is classed as an attacking midfielder, which I think he looks like, we’re a striker short, and that’s a concern, but we certainly don’t need to bring in another left winger. You can only play two wingers at a time because there are only two wings. Do the maths.
Selling Scully Shows a Lack of Ambition
The old classic, selling Scully shows we don’t have the ambition to progress. I’m not going to refer to a model here. I’m going to refer to a fact; all clubs sell their best players. Oxford have been doing it for years and sustain League One football as a similar-sized club to use because of it. Peterborough are a similar-sized club to us (yes, Posh fans, you are), but they progress through selling players. Do you know how Scunthorpe got to the Championship? Yep. Selling players (Hooper, Sharp, Maclean etc). Only one type of club can hang on to their players at this level – one that doesn’t need money to keep ticking over. We do. We can’t rely on the benevolence of Clive and the other investors the whole time. Remember the fanfare when the Jabara family came on board? Their initial investment was what, £750,000? My guess would be the total we might get for Scully, with add-ons, would match that, and that’s a big sum for us. So sure, we’ve sold a key player, but for the sort of money we’ve received with fanfare in the past, for a player who was one of five vying for two positions and whose contract was winding down. Surely, a lack of ambition is signing players like him and letting them go for nothing when their contract ends?
Personally, I think the club planned for this, and I think we signed the ‘replacement’ at the weekend. I think had we not sold Scully, the outgoing that was talked about might have been one of the other wide players, not Garrick or Diamond as they’re loans, so Mandroiu or Vernam. How would that have looked, bringing a player in and loaning him out? If it wasn’t, what would have become of those players? Vernam is the one I really like so far; he looked fast and tricky against Barnsley and has barely had a kick. If we didn’t (don’t, it’s not been confirmed) sell Scully, then what happens to those investments? What is more detrimental to the club’s progress, selling players for a profit, or signing them and not giving them a chance? We all remember Zack Elbouzedi, who has played European football this year, or Theo Archibald currently doing Charles Vernam and Jack Diamond-style things for Orient – for me, that is a worse reflection on the recruitment strategy than selling a player for a massive profit. Vernam, Mandriou and any other player we sign has to play; we’ve seen it with Roughan, Sanders and Sorensen this season.
My only disappointment right now is the lack of cover for Tom Hopper, the lack of a six-foot burly bugger to bring off the bench and change a game we’re chasing, like Wickham for Forest Green, or the chunk Fleetwood brought on at the weekend. That’s the letdown for me, not selling Anthony Scully. I’m not saying he won’t be missed, he will, and I really liked the lad, but I’m damn sure I’d rather see him go and the bank balance go up, see him pack up his locker and already have a player in the changing room with minutes to take his place, than I would see him walk away for free next summer.