"The new bloke we're going to sign "
Now it hasn't got quite this bad (yet) but the amount of negativity surrounding Oxford United's transfer dealings on a particular fans forum is beginning to get on my nerves.
On Monday, the Oxford Mail contained an article indicating that OUFC are close to signing two new midfielders to fill the gaps left by the departed Asa Hall, Paul McLaren and Mark Wilson. After weeks of silence in the transfer market, this should have been met with excitement and anticipation by all supporters. The key word in that last point was should, but the negative vibes that dominate the fore-mentioned website mean that any green shoots of progress are stamped back into the ground with cruel denial.
At the time of writing, I have seen no reliable source which suggests a possible name for either or both of these two signings. Some posters have decided to interpret lines from the OM article in a rather damming way. The players are described as "free agents with 'football league experience'".
With most Football League (FL) contracts ending on the 30th June, this could mean that the two players have already been informed by their clubs that they will not be retained i.e. they've been on a "released list" or have confirmed to their current clubs that they will not be signing a new deal. On the other hand, the term 'free agent' could meant that they are already out of contract and have been for a large amount of time. The second point is how some posters have decided to interpret this particular phrase and within this interpretation written off the signing of anyone who has been out of contract for a long time.
How one interprets "with football league experience" is also an interesting proposition. Does this statement hint at the players having a large background in the FL? i.e. their most recent club or does it indicate that they have played in the FL at some point during their career? i.e. their most recent club was non-league or in a non-English division. Again, the forum has a mixture of views, some of the belief that they must be from the non-league and therefore rubbish whilst others protest that they could well be players with a majority of their career spent in the FL.
Somewhat ironically, the forum has been full of posters pointing to the non-league as a good area to recruit new players from. Hidden gems such as Craig Mackail-Smith, Chris Smalling and Jermaine Beckford were all plucked from its depths before their successes at higher league clubs.
I cannot understand how anyone can begin to cast off potential signings without knowing who they are? Presumably these kinds of people look at everything in life from a negative aspect and not just Oxford United's transfer dealings.
Personally, until a new signing has played half a dozen first team games for the club, I don't develop a for or against opinion. Their background is interesting to look at but is by no means the proof that a player will be a success or a disaster at OUFC. Deane Smalley came to Oxford on the back of a 15 goal season for champions Chesterfield but has been a massive disappointment. The same can be said for past players such as Marcus Kelly (highly rated at Rushden)and Tim Sills (prolific for Aldershot). On the flip side, players such as Rob Hall (considered to young), Liam Davis (considered a poor signing after Northampton release) and Simon Clist (signing questioned from FGR) have all gone to have a successful spell at OUFC.
I'm just trying to look forward to a NEW season, one that is completely different from the previous, with as much hope as possible. If I took everything I read on the forum to be true than I'd be believing that we have no money, every single player has fallen out with Chris Wilder and we're not going to sign anyone else. Surely there's something positive? Regardless of ones personal opinion about CW and the chairman, I still look to support my team.
Hopefully some posters will look on the bright side for a change!