Come 11pm on Wednesday there was the all too familar sense of deja vu as another transfer window came to an end with seemingly little activity.
It was all too reminiscent of last January’s efforts where a resolute Paul Ince would not let himself fall foul of the false economy that he perceived.
On the back of the Craig Westcarr transfer to Chesterfield last week, hopes were high amongst supporters that he would almost certainly be replaced – that was at least the impression Ray Trew gave in an interview with Radio Nottingham prior to last weekend’s game with Preston North End.
Alas – it wasn’t to be.
Certainly there was the fair share of rumours flying about. The Nottingham Evening Post suggested there would be both incoming and outgoing transfers. Radio Nottingham claimed they expected a striker to be signed. From out of left field, Reading’s Welsh international forward Simon Church became a leading contender. Talk of Tranmere’s Enoch Showumni resurfaced on Twitter. And of course the ever ludicrous yet predictable rumours of Alan Smith showed their face again.
Of course for all the talk of who was coming, you can’t lose sight of those we’re left with also.
John Harley (currently in Melbourne working on a transfer), Ben Burgess, Liam Chilvers and Sam Sodje’s names failed to appear on anyone’s radar it felt like. It’s no understatement to say these players are leaving Notts somewhat hamstrung budget-wise. That 11pm came with them still registered as our players is easily as big a disappointment as there being no new blood being brought in.
As Big Ben’s (the clock in London – not the injury-prone ex-Blackpool man) chimes rang out across Sky Sports News, you could already predict the incoming anger that there were no signings – ironically by the same fans who had spent the majority of the Summer convincing themselves that Notts County didn’t have a pot to piss in. So why the incredible disappointment and anger? Surely they saw this coming from a mile off?
There was the hope that reality might kick in. That people might wake up and realise that Notts County, the lowest goalscorers in League One last season – are just not that attractive an option right now.
Come January’s window this might change. There are signs on the field that if things click we might be able to make a push up the table. Success on the field is not only vital towards increasing attendances, it’ll be a massive factor in bringing in new blood.
Has the failure to pull the plug on Craig Westcarr’s move to Chesterfield backfired? Perhaps not, and Martin Allen certainly doesn’t believe it will having not seen him as part of his plans.
He’s rested some of his hopes on (the still transfer listed) Burgess. Ben returned to action this week following a pre-season injury and took part in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Coventry City.
The Dog speaks highly of Burg’ and obviously expects big things from him. This Saturday would certainly be a great opportunity to deliver – but you wonder whether an already angsty crowd might become that little more volatile should Burgess not oblige?
But in the cold light of day, everyone on some level or another will feel disappointment in the failure to bring in a new goalscorer. But it was never for the want of trying at least.
Six strikers all came and went through the Meadow Lane halls this Summer, a scary tally make no mistake.
One may very well still be an option to Notts in the near future even once his East Asian adventure draws to a close.
Paul Benson’s agent meanwhile had the stones to approach Notts to try and reignite his protracted transfer and was rightly sent packing. The message is clear that Notts will not be held to ransome for players.
But in the meantime there’s of course still the loan window where Martin Allen and his backroom can try their luck with from Monday. Allen is no fool. He’s already said he couldn’t care less about Wednesday’s events now, he knows his club is more suited to dealings with free agents and loanees – it’s business as usual as far as he’s concerned. A few more players along the lines of Jeff Hughes, Alan Sheehan and Julian Kelly and we’ll be pushing on up the table.
If you think our predicament is of grave concern though – spare a thought for Saturday’s visitors to the Lane, AFC Bournemouth.
For them, they’ve had their first team’s heart ripped out, sold on with no one brought in. To make matters worse – their only recognised striker Steve Lovell retired from the game yesterday!
If Notts can be at their most ruthless this Saturday, it would go some way to ensuring the events of this week would be long forgotten ahead of a historic week ahead for the club with it’s visit to Turin now less than a week away.