|Where Do Mick's Intentions Lay?|
Written by Mullet on Friday, 4th Jul 2014 20:56
The transfer window is barely open and the club isn't so much gently sucking in the fresh air of inevitable squad change, but blowing out the cobwebs with gusts of activity.
Already Mick has thanked and forgotten about the prospect of utilising last season's Loach, Green and Richardson. All of whom finally joined the long list of ex-players under the ME banner. With them goes Aaron Cresswell.
By cashing in on Cressy and allowing the Liverpudlian to become a Hammer, Mick has the opportunity to forge a much stronger squad next season. The diminutive left-back was undoubtedly one of the brightest stars to shine during the darkest hours which preceded McCarthy. He was almost heroically at times, the embodiment of the exception to the rule of both Marcus Evans and the man who signed him Paul Jewell.
However, no man is so valuable that a deal of this magnitude can be ignored. The hype surrounding Aaron may at times have been victim to bordering on the delusional in a minority of cases or simply a comfort in drowning out the din of discontent early on his time here, but there's no doubting the lad is special.
A wonderful left peg and the type of delivery you really miss when it's gone (or in some industries privatised) the assists and odd wonder goal he supplied in all but eight games since July 2011 will be the biggest conundrum Mick has to solve.
With the countdown to the new season steadily ticking, one would assume this big money sale is the antidote to the ravages of FFP, it's an injection of cash we need to stave off another false dawn. Not only will Cresswell need replacing, but the team fell short in terms of numbers, creativity and pace last season which ultimately cost us the unlikely dream ticket into the top flight.
Parallels many including myself have drawn with the Kieron Dyer deal may be altered by the context of amounts and timing but the interest it will generate in Town's coming bids for other clubs' players can't be forgotten about.
Mick is one hell of a poker player though. When it comes to the media, he keeps his cards close to his chest and instead of brandishing his metaphorical irons in the fire, he's gone about stoking quite an influx of fresh faces it seems.
The steady grind of the rumour mill has it that joining Chambo's hopefully former-tormentor Cameron Stewart, is a similar slew of talented freebies and low cost players in the guises so far of Jonathan Parr and Bartosz Bialkowski.
It seems that this well-rehearsed and secretively planned blitzkrieg approach to agents' voicemails is fitting on the day Andy Coulson goes down. But it would also suggest with little thought that Mick is still intent on shoring up his defence with the talented Parr and the known unknown that is previous loanee Bialkowski. It's an area which Mick has special affection for given it was the fundament of his Great Escape from the moment he arrived, and the rock on which he built his improving side.
The prospective addition of the Pole shows that Mick listens to his coaches as much as his guts, with the glovesman being known to keeper-coach Malcolm Webster from his days working with another Town connection George Burley at Southampton. Reading between the lines as well as the sticks has been an oft-repeated hot topic for Town fans and with the blue haze surrounding Loach removed we have a fair fight for the No.1 jersey looking likely.
Likewise, all those who assumed the athletic and prolific driver of a one man, cringe-inducing 'banter bus' that is Tyrone Mings would be the obvious and hulking frame to fill Cressy's hole; will debate the prospect of him being below Parr next year with similar relish to those who weren't sure about Gerks. The young full-back who swapped Chippenham for chipping away in our development squad might still have to bide his time and perhaps be best served as more hermit than Hermann for the time being.
However, he may well rejoin the swelling ranks of kids on the cusp of the squad who can bear witness to the fact that 'Mick never plays youngsters', or has 'favourites' depending on which way the winds of social media blow after every defeat next season. A crumb of comforting sustenance for the heretical cynics already.
What the future holds for Veseli, Doherty, Marriott and Hewitt is going to be a source of scrutiny no doubt. Joining them in almost newly traditional manner is last season loanee and now free agent Alex Henshall. The young winger has good pedigree and potential but despite joining in a similar manner to the sensational McGoldrick, has yet to have an opportunity to make his mark in a Town shirt. With the wings well stocked we might look to the middle and front end of the squad and still wonder.
What must not be overlooked is that with signings like Bialkowski; going for who and what you know is a strategy which has been key to serving Mick and us well. The retention of Stephen Hunt might not set fans a quiver, but the Irish bloc that sees him joined by Daryl Murphy and most importantly of all, Mick himself has me shaking like a dog sh1tting razorblades.
Murphy is a crucial part to how we play with his physical presence and ability to grind out space and time for others as well as more goals than you might expect he second only to the grand architect himself, Mick in terms of significance. Having both around signals that along with Terry Connor and his proverbial baseball bat, Town may well be swinging for the fences next season with a much more confident disposition.
One conclusion we can draw from all of this, is that all things have now surely changed under Evans. This is the first time he's retained a manager. This is also the first season of business without the man some love to paint as the villain of the piece Simon Clegg. Our new MDs mark a turning of styles at the business end of the club and must surely take credit by this presumptuous logic for such a swift job lot of business.
As one of the finest World Cups in a generation or two is nearing it's brilliant crescendo, the wave of optimism we should have around ITFC is about to wash away even the stubbornest filthy residue of the past few years. I believe this is a new ME-headed ITFC. The mistakes are looking fewer and far between this time around.
Additionally, the fears and years of nearly knowing what it's like to be Norwich (without any familial or moral transgressions), of knowing what it's like to be small and failing, are soon to be distant memories with the added bonus and delight of derby days on the horizon for next term.
The best part is, there's no doubt more to come. Mick has nodded at last season's lift through Welsh wonder Williams and early campaigner Tunners with talk of Premiership squads still in flux due to the Brazilian distraction and predictable influx of fresh foreign talent that powers the games bloated economy.
Misfit Taylor may well have come back flying according to McCarthy, but even this latest news begs suggestions he still looks hotly tipped for Playford Road's departure lounge given his on and off-field misdemeanours.
Wages are the new currency and he is unfortunately old money in today's fast-paced and changing post-FFP footballing world. There is little doubt that what he lacks is not talent. Even so, renegotiating his future let alone his role in the club's monthly expenditure would alter even more for us.
Whatever happens between now and next month it's safe to say the future's bright and the away kit's orange.
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