Well, that was a fun summer wasn’t it? We’ve felt the full force of the official SISU cost-cut campaign, a drastic fall in fan and club expectation, and have started the season in line with that apathy, having yet to register a single victory. Roll-back 12 months when Aidy Boothroyd was sending us all giddy with his “getting places quickly” talk, and it’s hard to believe how bad things have become. 

A comparison of this year’s squad to last shows clearly the unfortunate (and unfair) task new boss Andy Thorn has, especially losing a spine of top players in Westwood, Turner, Gunny and King – three of those able to leave on a free. If losing a raft of players wasn’t enough, the absent-minded folk in charge seemed perfectly content to allow the team to enter the new season with minimal (that’s being generous) reinforcements. Amazingly, this could have looked even worse. There were bids for Sammy and Lukas on top of those who’d already left, so it’s only by the grace of God (and by the board realising that Onye was at risk of kidnap if they weakened the team any more) that they weren’t sold as well.  

So, now it’s firmly slammed shut, here is my round up of the ins and outs during the latest summer transfer window.

Right, who’ve we managed to bring in?


Joe Murphy

(Free agent – Scunthorpe)

Spent so long letting in goals in the Championship for Scunthorpe, does make you wonder whether they were the ones who were useless, or it was actually just him. Eitherway, we needed a replacement for Keiren, and of the available keepers who we stood a chance at getting, he always seemed the most likely. Has had a mixed start to the campaign, bumbling out a fair few saves into the path of the opposition, but is experienced at this level so will have to do. Even if he does bully Chris Hussey.

Sky Blues Blog usefulness rating: 3 / 5    

Chris Dunn

(Nominal – Northampton)

I’ll be honest, I know very little about this guy aside from some of the far from complimentary comments he received in pre-season. Back up, quite clearly, but given the departure of Westwood and young Quirke, this back up was needed, seeing as Danny Ireland still appears to be nowhere near the first team.

Sky Blues Blog usefulness rating: 2 / 5   

Cody McDonald

(Undisclosed – Norwich)

Our only ‘real’ signing of the summer, and it came on the final day of the transfer window. Christ, it was needed. We all know our squad is bare, but in attacking areas, we lost King and suddenly the lack of pace was frightening. This guy has a good record in recent seasons, and had a hugely impressive season for Gillingham last year, scoring 25 goals, including a ludicrious amount with his head (for someone of regular height). We lost out on the far more fashionable Adam Le Fondre, but a comparison shows that Le Fondre got a fair few of his goals from the spot, wheareas this guy’s were all from open play. Make of that what you will. By all accounts, Norwich fans are sad to see him go, but that’s nothing compared to how happy I am to see him here. The 20 goal a season striker is a myth that has far too many dependencies – I’m more concerned with the attributes to add to our current attacking offer, and I reckon this guy has what we need.

Sky Blues Blog usefulness rating: 4 / 5     

Is that it? Who’s slung their hook, then?


Keiren Westwood

(Out of contract – Signed for Sunderland)

Oh Keiren, how I miss you, you brilliant bastard. Often, I feel a team can get away with a less than great keeper if the line in front of them offers enough protection. Unfortunately, given the lunacy of our team, we often relied on the brilliance of Westwood to keep us in games. In fact, this guy was worth 10 points extra a season through the saves he made, which other keepers wouldn’t. We’ll miss those wonder saves – who wouldn’t?

Bloody hell fire rating: 5 / 5 

Michael Quirke
(Released – Unattached
)

Podginho. Performed admirably when he was called upon, but I think Thorn and Oggy felt he didn’t quite have the physical attributes to make it as a regular Championship goalkeeper. Shame for him, as the times he played, it never showed. But they made the call, and while I’m not entirely sure if the other two reserves we have are technically any better, I can see why he was released. Not a huge loss – just feel sorry for the lad as it must have seemed quite ruthless from his perspective.

Bloody hell fire rating: 2 / 5

Stephen O’Halloran

(Released – Signed for Carlisle)

Never looked fit, and only had one (possibly two) decent games for us. In this case, being ruthless was fine with me. A slight issue is the lack of natural cover for Chris Hussey, who is having a mixed campaign himself thus far, but with Cranie, Wood and Clarke, I assume Thorn is of the opinion that he’d rather one of those at left-back, instead of risking another O’Halloran nightmare.

Bloody hell fire rating: 1 / 5 

Lee Carsley

(Retired)

Carsley returned, performed somewhat reasonably, got injured, and was never to be seen again. While ‘grit’ isn’t high on the list of qualities I prioritise for a footballer, that’s something Lee gave us, as well as leadership. I’m more than happy for Sammy to step into that role this year, although with so many kids around him, I’m sure the ocassional appearance by Carsley could have proved useful. Not to worry though. I wish him well.

Bloody hell fire rating: 2 / 5 

Marlon King

(Out of contract – Lied, then pissed off to Birmingham)

What a swine eh? And we’re not much better for thinking he could act any differently. It’s not the leaving I resent – it was the entire scenario around it. If he was that easily wooed, he shouldn’t have told Thorny he was staying. True, we were at fault for not clearing our announcement with him beforehand, but I can see what they were trying to do; with other players, making it public that they’d agreed to stay might have been enough to keep their word. They wouldn’t fancy the reputation as someone who reneges on deals.

Marlon’s reputation, on the other hand, couldn’t get much worse, so what’s one more reason for fans to hate him? Away from him being a sod, he was our main striker, and was also a complete striker. We lost him, and our strikeforce suddenly looked a shadow of what it was. The dynamism had gone. His influence and general whingy-ness never really sat well with me, so in that respect, I shan’t miss him. But I’m not daft enough to think we can lose a player like King and not notice. For all his short-comings as a person, he’s a player that most Championship sides would appreciate.

Bloody hell fire rating: 4 / 5 

Isaac Osbourne

(Released – Signed for Aberdeen)

Isaac Osbourne was a good player stuck in an unconfident person’s relentlessly knackered body. He’s a giant, and with a bit of nurturing in that soppy old head of his, could have done a job for us. We’re lacking a bit of strength in midfield, but this year it seems that Thorn is looking for something different from his midfielders, so Osbourne would have only been a last resort. With Bell, Baker and McSheffrey all making a pigs ear of the season so far, there may have come a time when we needed Oz. But if it’s good enough for Barcelona not to have an Ox in midfield, it’s good enough for me I suppose. (Again, don’t take that seriously. I’m not really comparing us to Barcelona).

Bloody hell fire rating: 2 / 5 

Michael McIndoe

(Released – Unattached)

I didn’t hide my feelings about Michael McIndoe while he was here, so you’d think I wouldn’t care about hiding them when he’s gone. And you’d be right, I won’t hide them. He just wasn’t good enough. Weak, and a shadow of the player who ran us ragged in his Bristol days, he’s started to reach that uncomfortable stage for a winger when they still think they’re quick, but actually, their legs don’t move as fast anymore. As with everyone on this list, we’ll possibly miss the numbers, but does anyone remember that moment at the end of last year when he won the ball, then got scared, so just kicked it out again? Well I do, and it was bloody embarrassing.

Bloody hell fire rating: 1 / 5 

Aron Gunnarsson

(Out of contract – Signed for Cardiff)

Let’s get one thing clear. Gunny was good. Unfortunately, as with many Scandinavian footballers, it also means he’s an all-too-aware show off. And not in a good Thierry Henry kind of way, either. It held him back, and meant he spent more time trying to appear like he was doing a good job, than actually doing a good job. When he was on his game, he was great. He’d stride past players like they weren’t there, and gave us a presence in the midfield. I would have liked to have kept him, and certainly wasn’t pleased we got bugger all (aside from a minimal compensation payout), but it’s still in the balance where his career is going to take him. Besides, I don’t think I could have handled many more of those interviews when each and every word is a surprise to him. Corr, they annoyed me.

Bloody hell fire rating: 3 / 5  

Ben Turner

(Cardiff – £750,000+)

Ben you wally. If only you’d stayed fit for the whole of last season, who knows what might have happened. You’d be worth a whole lot more than the £750,000 initial payment we apparently received for you. I know you should never use the mad money Leicester throw at players as an example, but they signed Matt Mills for over £5 million? That makes me cross. The problem with Big Ben getting injured when he did was that many will have forgotten the influence, impact, and most importantly, the improvement in his game that he demonstrated in those successful opening months for us last year. I too was one of the doubters when I saw him lining up alongside Cameron in the first game. My memory was blighted with episodes of Turner wildness, in particular his performance against West Ham in the Carling Cup when he seemed genuinely incapable of learning from his mistakes. His consistency was in question, and in the 2-2 away at Watford, he had yet another stinker and my first reaction was ‘here we go again’.

Then, he embarked upon an inexplicably consistent run of games, not only demonstrating a previously-unseen understanding of the game, but also proving himself to be a dominant force from attacking set-pieces. Injury struck at the worst possible time, and word on the street is that he should have been back playing a whole lot sooner, if it wasn’t for Aidy Boothroyd forcing the issue against the better advice of his medical staff. Can’t blame Aidy for wanting him back. We were finally starting to see the best of him. We have cover, but I got the feeling this guy was coming into his own, so I’ll miss him.

Bloody hell fire rating: 4 / 5  

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