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2018/19 Season Reviews/Conclusions

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Just now, Exiled in Toronto said:

The defence has to be the priority for recruitment; we need a better goalie, RB and CH. Bell may get good enough, he’s definitely learning, but either way we need another LB. Throw in a top midfielder and another scoring option and we could have an exciting year.

So in your view, 6 out of the 11 need replacing then?

Perhaps that's why BRFCS was hyperventilating, we went on more than one multiple losing run, and there were several relegation threads!

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Just now, RevidgeBlue said:

So in your view, 6 out of the 11 need replacing then?

Perhaps that's why BRFCS was hyperventilating, we went on more than one multiple losing run, and there were several relegation threads!

We need 5 or 6 adding, I don’t believe 5 or 6 will leave. 

Mid table teams are mid table because they are inconsistent. Our inconsistency wasn’t spread evenly across games but we were never ever going down.

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Just now, Exiled in Toronto said:

Now the season is over, the history books will only show a decent 60-point return to this level, marred by an inordinately high goals against column. Against that background, to have had two sack the manager polls and a temporarily hyperventilating relegation thread says more about BRFCS than BRFC. 

The only other factor worth considering for me after a season ends is who in the squad will get better next year, who will be good enough, who will get worse and ergo not good enough. I was enthused by the young talent on the field when the whistle went today, we have several players who should get better. The defence has to be the priority for recruitment; we need a better goalie, RB and CH. Bell may get good enough, he’s definitely learning, but either way we need another LB. Throw in a top midfielder and another scoring option and we could have an exciting year.

I think any football club would have seriously questioned the manager after a run of one win in eleven (which included nine defeats) John. The points total is decent but let's assume the bad run came through August, September and October instead of towards the end of the season when we were quite safe. I do believe Mowbray (or any manager) would have been sacked then.

Going forward he has identified areas of improvement which most have seen as weak for some time. I really hope he can bring in the right players to eradicate the concession of soft goals. He can't afford to waste money on any more Gladwins or Whittinghams. He needs more Dacks and Rothwells.

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Just now, arbitro said:

I think any football club would have seriously questioned the manager after a run of one win in eleven (which included nine defeats) John. The points total is decent but let's assume the bad run came through August, September and October instead of towards the end of the season when we were quite safe. I do believe Mowbray (or any manager) would have been sacked then.

Going forward he has identified areas of improvement which most have seen as weak for some time. I really hope he can bring in the right players to eradicate the concession of soft goals. He can't afford to waste money on any more Gladwins or Whittinghams. He needs more Dacks and Rothwells.

Can’t argue with you there Tony, winning promotion at first go last year is what perhaps what saved him from the chop, plus it’s clear the owners like him. But we had some bloody good runs too: losing 3 out of the first 17 plus two 4 wins in a row. I think that losing run made his mind up about who needs replacing, so perhaps it’ll turn out to have been a blessing, albeit a very stressful one at the time.

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I'm very much in the "very satisfied" camp, if there is one on here! Yes there have been dark times; 2 runs where it seemed hard to see where the next win was coming from; too much loyalty to below-par players; some very inept defending & lack of intensity offensively; a failure to kick on after January. 

But I'm extremely heartened by the young, creative, pacey forward options we have, and TM's acknowledgement that we need new 1st 11 defenders. We've a number of forward-thinking players who will cause defences huge problems next season, and our style of play is definitely showing signs of evolving into something less direct. What the manager now needs to do is find a proper team identity that is founded on hard work & team spirit but is more than that, which finds the right balance between being solid & competitive whilst also being dynamic & pleasing on the eye.

It's not an easy task but were it not for several poor late goals earlier in the season & some eyewatering individual errors scattered across the season, we could quite easily have finished on 70 points. If we can cut half of those out, I don't think it would take as much change / overhaul of what we have as others have suggested to enable us to hit 75 points plus next season.  75 points qualified for the playoffs in all but 2 of the last 10 seasons.

 

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4 hours ago, DavidMailsTightPerm said:

He has given youth more of a chance than any manager in our recent history. Yes - sometimes it has been forced on him - but he is promoting young talent all the time.

He gets a lot of criticism - but you can see in spells why some of these players have been held back ;-

Travis - adds drive to midfield, but still gets caught on the ball, and has been lucky on more than one occasion this season not to give away goals while trying to retain possession.

Rothwell - looks like a Rolls Royce when running with the ball, but still too often makes the wrong ball and not good at sniffing danger defensively

Davenport - injured a lot of the season

Reid - I may be alone, but when he played centrally thought his positional play was poor. So can see the decision to play him wider.

I do wonder whether TM bottled it this season, or injuries and form forced his hand. But IMO players like Davenport, Rothwell and Brereton were brought in to change our playing style - lets hope we see them best of them next season.

A decent experienced, tall centre half to partner Lenihan would go a long way to cure some of our issues.

 

 

You can point out issues with various players to justify their lack of regular starting time but the trouble is you could make out a much bigger case against the ones he kept selecting.

Agree we need another first choice centre-back. Have been saying so since last summer.

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I'm just glad we saw the end of his '2.5 attackers' dullard bullshit. He proved himself wrong in the end. 

That's is always the worry with Mowbray, he thinks he's some kind of tactical genius reinventing the wheel when in fact he just talks a lot of shite. If he keeps it simple next season and plays people in their proper positions we may have a chance. 

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"Who's the b*sta*rd in the black"?  We scored the most penalties in the league this season with 9.

HOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFF - Long balls per game for Rovers = 83  (joint 2nd highest in league) Ipswich hoofed the most with 87 per game. Swansea the least with 58 per game. 

Edited by blueboy3333

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The long ball stat doesn't surprise me but it maybe does shed some light on why Dack's form has been so inconsistent. Some games he's just been rubbish, but no attacking midfielder wants to play in a team where the ball is constantly flying over their head. Graham has done an excellent job holding up play and winning knock downs, but I hope we begin to change our style next season to have the ball on the deck more often. 

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A bit of debate about what constitutes a young player.

Of players given squad numbers this season, as at today:

16 are 25 or under

8 are 21 or under.

Looking encouraging for the future.

Plus the likes of Rankin-Costello for whom many are making the case for being good enough now.  

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Just now, philipl said:

A bit of debate about what constitutes a young player.

Of players given squad numbers this season, as at today:

16 are 25 or under

8 are 21 or under.

Looking encouraging for the future.

Plus the likes of Rankin-Costello for whom many are making the case for being good enough now.  

That’s probably unprecedented since the ‘59 youth cup winning team graduated.

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15 hours ago, Atko's Engine said:

I'm very much in the "very satisfied" camp, if there is one on here! Yes there have been dark times; 2 runs where it seemed hard to see where the next win was coming from; too much loyalty to below-par players; some very inept defending & lack of intensity offensively; a failure to kick on after January. 

But I'm extremely heartened by the young, creative, pacey forward options we have, and TM's acknowledgement that we need new 1st 11 defenders. We've a number of forward-thinking players who will cause defences huge problems next season, and our style of play is definitely showing signs of evolving into something less direct. What the manager now needs to do is find a proper team identity that is founded on hard work & team spirit but is more than that, which finds the right balance between being solid & competitive whilst also being dynamic & pleasing on the eye.

It's not an easy task but were it not for several poor late goals earlier in the season & some eyewatering individual errors scattered across the season, we could quite easily have finished on 70 points. If we can cut half of those out, I don't think it would take as much change / overhaul of what we have as others have suggested to enable us to hit 75 points plus next season.  75 points qualified for the playoffs in all but 2 of the last 10 seasons.

 

Go the whole hog. For if, buts, maybe and average Joe players we could have had 138 points!! 🤣🤣

 

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On 27/04/2019 at 03:32, Stuart said:

I’ve already explained my view.

Pound for pound they have.

You should be in politics my friend.  What a spin doctor, you damn near had me buying it too.  Good stuff Stu.

Can we not then argue that they spent MORE on their PLAYING staff then?  Since 7 m of our spends hardly ever played.  Being a smartass.

Edited by USABlue

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On 28/04/2019 at 18:24, 47er said:

He's a slow learner, an over- cautious man. That's the worry.

Yes but now he has signed on to BRFCS we will be ok.

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On 05/05/2019 at 10:39, RevidgeBlue said:

We won't know how good a season this has been until twelve months hence.

Personally I think it's been a pretty disastrous season in the sense we're no further forward than this time last year and if TM remains I expect a relegation struggle or us to go down next season.

However if he changes his spots, ditches the old guard, gives youth a proper chance and supplements that with signings that will go straight into and improve the first eleven who knows?

Wuh?  So we are NOT a division higher?  I'm confused.

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5 minutes ago, USABlue said:

Wuh?  So we are NOT a division higher?  I'm confused.

that doesn't count... 

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3 hours ago, USABlue said:

You should be in politics my friend.  What a spin doctor, you damn near had me buying it too.  Good stuff Stu.

Can we not then argue that they spent MORE on their PLAYING staff then?  Since 7 m of our spends hardly ever played.  Being a smartass.

Took you nearly two weeks to come up with that? I wouldn’t have bothered pal.

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My two penneth

Firstly well done to the BRFCS Podcast group, good listen, well balanced and very entertaining. Would love to be a part of an episode in the future!

To put the seasons conclusions into a succinct  word it would be ''progress''. Particularly from our ill fated last Championship campaign and literally as we've held our own after being promoted in the 17/18 season.

If Blackburn Rovers continue to progress, I will be very happy going forward.

Without wanting to go over things already said, in my opinion, there is more to be encouraged by than there has been in a long time. Stability on and off the field, a youthful side, who have gained invaluable experience and the team spirit seems to have remained as strong as last season.

Obvious failings at the back need addressing, the team has been crying out for a dominant centre half since Hanley left, a new left back would also be welcomed. 

With Cardiff, Huddersfield, Fulham, Luton and Barnsley added to the league, I really do see next season as being as wide open as this season. A dozen or so clubs will fancy their chances, I don't see why we can't be one of those teams mounting a playoff challenge.

As the players did their lap of honour at the weekend (ironically I stayed this year - as the pitch was not invaded) the song blasting over the PA system was 'Sit Down by James' a great track from the early 90s. The song has one particular lyric that really resonates with being a Rovers fan, at the end of the second verse.

''If I hadn't seen such riches, I could live with being poor...''

As a fan of nearly 30 years, days out at Wembley and Cardiff, the European nights at Ewood, the ruffling of the feathers of the big boys, the team full of internationals, Tugay, Roque, MGP, Nelsen, Big Brad, Flowers, Hendry, Sutton and Shearer..... I think as a fan base have such high expectations and we can be a bit too eager to point the finger and have knee jerk reactions to poor runs of form. (see Mowbray out thread)

We're all so desperate to see these days again.... its easy to overlook the baby steps we've taken this season. The fact we finished higher than Wigan and Rotherham and were never in any serious trouble in regards to relegation. The development of Travis, Buckley, Magloire, Butterworth, Raya, the return of Armstrong and Chapman, keeping Dack and Lenihan and the late season emergence of Joe Rothwell. 

Perhaps the right lyric that befits my overall theme is from the Take That song 'The Flood' which simply says

''There's progress now, where there once was none..."

 

 

Edited by rog of the rovers

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"Knee jerk reactions to poor runs of form" is a bit harsh imo. Under Mowbray we went on the worst run of form since the days of Steve Kean, and it only changed when TM threw his hands up, played an experimental team at Derby and found that it worked. From then on he had little choice but to keep going in that direction. He persisted for far, far too long with a system that wasn't working, possibly partially because of our strange run of good form in January which broke up an otherwise dire period between November-March. That's not just a poor run of form, it's a significant chunk of the season where we really struggled to gain points. It would be foolish to ignore this on the back of a set of wins in mostly meaningless matches, imo. 

I think the division will be a lot more competitive next season and I'm not sure we can afford to go on the types of bad runs we went on this season. It's up to Mowbray to work out what was going wrong during those periods and ensure we're prepared to counter that next season. He's earned the right to take that challenge on, so let's see what he comes up with. He's talking a big game right now and promoting high expectations, so hopefully he has a solid plan to fulfil that. As fans we have every right to feel expectant when the manager is talking about spending money and mounting a serious promotion challenge next season. 

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Season review/conclusion; 1 word: frustration. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the final position was more than respectable. There were some good games too, and nice memories. A couple of exciting players were brought in, especially Rothwell, but despite all of that, the feeling I mainly come away with is frustration. 

Why? Well, to me, all our mistakes were absolutely avoidable and of our own making. Sometimes the circumstances well and truly get the better of you: the small squad under Hughes running out of steam with 3 cup runs in a tough league being one example of this. Or last time we got relegated - I'm no fan of Owen Clueless but selling our best players for £10 million plus and giving him only £250k would have hampered anyone. And TM probably would've kept us up if those making decisions had been halfway competent had fired Clueless even a game or two earlier.  

This season though I feel all our mistakes were well and truly avoidable. 

- The 2.5 attackers and therefore struggling. As soon as we dropped this we looked really exciting going forwards. Everyone was clamoring for Rothwell months before he was a regular in the team. Who knows what would've happened had he been played even a month or more sooner?  

- Likewise the Evans/Smallwood combination clearly didn't work. Again in Reid and Travis we had some better options, but often these options were overlooked. Hypothetical, but who knows how many more points we would've gained had the Evans/Smallwood axis been broken sooner? 

In both cases it's not an if only we had a Kante or a Messi (or more realistically whatever the Championship equivalents are!) - we had the players on the books. 

- Defense - we knew from the last 2 seasons that Mulgrew and Lenihen were both susceptible to injury. Yet the only other "centre back" we brought in was an equally injury prone converted midfielder. There was no way we should have got caught out with injuries in this position, it wasn't unlucky - it was inevitable given all our centre backs have a history of injuries. Insult added to literal injury in this department was letting Downing go out on loan. I'm not entirely sure he was the answer, but surely cover was better than nothing. We dropped the ball so many times on defensive cover from not buying adequate cover in 2 windows, and letting last season's cover - who performed well last season - also go out on loan. Another entirely avoidable situation. 

- It was probably obvious to all that we needed strengthening in defense (especially with injury prone players) and top quality cover for Graham up top, but frustratingly we had the resources to do so. 7 million of them. 7 million could well and truly have brought in enough players to ensure we had good quality cover in both of these positions. 7 million in the championship can go a long way if used wisely, as there are some cracking deals out there - the ex-Hibs midfielder now at Villa looks a snip at £2.5 mill, and the Norwich lad who was top scorer was a free transfer (and I need to get better with names too.) All this talk of needing cover and strengthening really shouldn't have been an if only, as £7 million well spent would have made a huge difference. I'd probably rate TM as 50:50 in the transfer window but even 1 or 2 more additions of good quality - say 1 striker to take the pressure off Graham, or one better quality cb - would have made a massive difference to our campaign. The money was there, and we blew it. 

- Many players staying in the team despite bad runs; Mulgrew, Evans, Smallwood, Bennett, Williams (at lb). Again we had options to replace them with, yet these players were allowed to go on lengthy bad runs. Hypothetical again, but who knows how we would have done if a couple of them were withdrawn till they picked up some form? Equally with younger players withdrawn and singled out after a couple of poor performances, I'm unsure as to how the favoritism of veteran players would've helped the squad moral and dynamics. Again, this was avoidable, if a player is persistently poor over a few games, withdraw them. 

- Finally the not getting started for the first 20 minutes. This happened so, so many times. Everyone starts slowly now and again, and sometimes the opposition out-think  or outfight you. Sometimes you simply get it wrong tactics or personnel wise. But for it to happen so often with us not addressing it, suggests that we aren't really learning. That it's happened repeatedly suggests that it shouldn't be that hard to spot, and therefore address. Again a hypothetical, but had we a stronger start in a proportion of the many games we started slowly in, I wonder how many more points we would have had. 

 

In short I feel that there is a lot of potential in the squad, and despite all the - blatantly rectifiable imo - mistakes we still were comfortably mid-table. That suggests to me there is a heck of a lot of potential in this squad, and with a bit of nous we should be optimistic going forward. The caution for me is that these mistakes are all of our own making, which makes me doubt whether we will actually make good on our potential. 

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20 hours ago, Stuart said:

Took you nearly two weeks to come up with that? I wouldn’t have bothered pal.

No i only read it yesterday.  But you are right I shouldn't have.  Pal.

Edited by USABlue

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On 08/05/2019 at 19:04, Blue blood said:

Season review/conclusion; 1 word: frustration. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the final position was more than respectable. There were some good games too, and nice memories. A couple of exciting players were brought in, especially Rothwell, but despite all of that, the feeling I mainly come away with is frustration. 

Why? Well, to me, all our mistakes were absolutely avoidable and of our own making. Sometimes the circumstances well and truly get the better of you: the small squad under Hughes running out of steam with 3 cup runs in a tough league being one example of this. Or last time we got relegated - I'm no fan of Owen Clueless but selling our best players for £10 million plus and giving him only £250k would have hampered anyone. And TM probably would've kept us up if those making decisions had been halfway competent had fired Clueless even a game or two earlier.  

This season though I feel all our mistakes were well and truly avoidable. 

- The 2.5 attackers and therefore struggling. As soon as we dropped this we looked really exciting going forwards. Everyone was clamoring for Rothwell months before he was a regular in the team. Who knows what would've happened had he been played even a month or more sooner?  

- Likewise the Evans/Smallwood combination clearly didn't work. Again in Reid and Travis we had some better options, but often these options were overlooked. Hypothetical, but who knows how many more points we would've gained had the Evans/Smallwood axis been broken sooner? 

In both cases it's not an if only we had a Kante or a Messi (or more realistically whatever the Championship equivalents are!) - we had the players on the books. 

- Defense - we knew from the last 2 seasons that Mulgrew and Lenihen were both susceptible to injury. Yet the only other "centre back" we brought in was an equally injury prone converted midfielder. There was no way we should have got caught out with injuries in this position, it wasn't unlucky - it was inevitable given all our centre backs have a history of injuries. Insult added to literal injury in this department was letting Downing go out on loan. I'm not entirely sure he was the answer, but surely cover was better than nothing. We dropped the ball so many times on defensive cover from not buying adequate cover in 2 windows, and letting last season's cover - who performed well last season - also go out on loan. Another entirely avoidable situation. 

- It was probably obvious to all that we needed strengthening in defense (especially with injury prone players) and top quality cover for Graham up top, but frustratingly we had the resources to do so. 7 million of them. 7 million could well and truly have brought in enough players to ensure we had good quality cover in both of these positions. 7 million in the championship can go a long way if used wisely, as there are some cracking deals out there - the ex-Hibs midfielder now at Villa looks a snip at £2.5 mill, and the Norwich lad who was top scorer was a free transfer (and I need to get better with names too.) All this talk of needing cover and strengthening really shouldn't have been an if only, as £7 million well spent would have made a huge difference. I'd probably rate TM as 50:50 in the transfer window but even 1 or 2 more additions of good quality - say 1 striker to take the pressure off Graham, or one better quality cb - would have made a massive difference to our campaign. The money was there, and we blew it. 

- Many players staying in the team despite bad runs; Mulgrew, Evans, Smallwood, Bennett, Williams (at lb). Again we had options to replace them with, yet these players were allowed to go on lengthy bad runs. Hypothetical again, but who knows how we would have done if a couple of them were withdrawn till they picked up some form? Equally with younger players withdrawn and singled out after a couple of poor performances, I'm unsure as to how the favoritism of veteran players would've helped the squad moral and dynamics. Again, this was avoidable, if a player is persistently poor over a few games, withdraw them. 

- Finally the not getting started for the first 20 minutes. This happened so, so many times. Everyone starts slowly now and again, and sometimes the opposition out-think  or outfight you. Sometimes you simply get it wrong tactics or personnel wise. But for it to happen so often with us not addressing it, suggests that we aren't really learning. That it's happened repeatedly suggests that it shouldn't be that hard to spot, and therefore address. Again a hypothetical, but had we a stronger start in a proportion of the many games we started slowly in, I wonder how many more points we would have had. 

 

In short I feel that there is a lot of potential in the squad, and despite all the - blatantly rectifiable imo - mistakes we still were comfortably mid-table. That suggests to me there is a heck of a lot of potential in this squad, and with a bit of nous we should be optimistic going forward. The caution for me is that these mistakes are all of our own making, which makes me doubt whether we will actually make good on our potential. 

I think what you've wrote there sums a lot of my feelings, i'm satisfied with where we are now but we made some unnecessary mistakes along the way. Mowbray still has a lot riding on Brereton, if he contributes 10+ goals next season alternating with Graham as the CF then it might be worth it, if he doesn't then he stays a big misuse of funds.

My own preference would've been to see the younger players come into the side sooner, I wish Butterworth/Davenport/Buckley had got at least 5 games under his belt for example, he could be good back up in the Dack role next season and with the window shutting earlier again next season it becomes more of a punt as to whether he's going to be able to contribute.

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1 hour ago, BlackburnEnd75 said:

I think what you've wrote there sums a lot of my feelings, i'm satisfied with where we are now but we made some unnecessary mistakes along the way. Mowbray still has a lot riding on Brereton, if he contributes 10+ goals next season alternating with Graham as the CF then it might be worth it, if he doesn't then he stays a big misuse of funds.

If you look at the Championship players who got fifteen or more goals this season, very few of them cost close to 7M...

Pukki - 29 goals - free

Maupay - 25 goals - 1.6m

Abraham - 25 goals - loan

Sharp - 23 goals - 650k

Gayle - 23 goals - loan

Rodriquez - 22 goals - 12m

McBurnie - 22 goals - 315k

Adams - 22 goals - 2m

Bowen - 22 goals - £0

Grabban - 16 goals - £6m

Dack - 15 goals - 750k

McGoldrick - 15 goals - free

Wilson - 15 goals - loan

Now I know part of Brereton's fee was 'for the future' and because he was young and had potential, but at the same time should a club just promoted from League 1 be splashing £7m on players 'for the future' when there are positions in need of attention in the present? To my mind, the answer to this is no. That type of money should only have been spent on a player who could have an instant impact, irrespective of their age or potential. Literally the only player to cost more than Brereton in the above list was Jay Rodriguez, who WBA bought when they were still in the Premier League. I don't think there is any real excuse for the fee we paid for Brereton, especially when you see that the likes of McBurnie only cost £315k, Maupay was £1.6m, Che Adams £2m, Billy Sharp £650k and even our own Bradley Dack was only £750k. It's very hard to argue we did anything other than massively overspend on Brereton, almost to the point of total madness.

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It's always been the case in this division there are many bargains to be had from other places or lower down if you look hard enough and have the right people looking. Not even that though as some don't cost much or come on a free and don't have massive wages so it's a worthwhile gamble and nothing really lost as opposed to committing millions and ten grand plus per week for years.

The Brereton signing just smacks of having agents finding players for you instead of scouts yet again I don't think there is any getting away from that. Mowbray is an old school manager so lets hope he's now implementing some old school ways into it.

I don't think the BB signing was dodgy and it could still prove a worthwhile investment it just looks like it's going to take a few seasons. On that basis I wouldn't call it misuse of funds more misguided (again), wrong to tie up big money and commit to long contracts on that type of signing at this moment in time.

Signs there is actually a player in there somewhere at the end of the season though but the manager has to carry some of the can for the lack of impact he needs to use him properly from the get go next season.

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46 minutes ago, DE. said:

If you look at the Championship players who got fifteen or more goals this season, very few of them cost close to 7M...

Pukki - 29 goals - free

Maupay - 25 goals - 1.6m

Abraham - 25 goals - loan

Sharp - 23 goals - 650k

Gayle - 23 goals - loan

Rodriquez - 22 goals - 12m

McBurnie - 22 goals - 315k

Adams - 22 goals - 2m

Bowen - 22 goals - £0

Grabban - 16 goals - £6m

Dack - 15 goals - 750k

McGoldrick - 15 goals - free

Wilson - 15 goals - loan

Now I know part of Brereton's fee was 'for the future' and because he was young and had potential, but at the same time should a club just promoted from League 1 be splashing £7m on players 'for the future' when there are positions in need of attention in the present? To my mind, the answer to this is no. That type of money should only have been spent on a player who could have an instant impact, irrespective of their age or potential. Literally the only player to cost more than Brereton in the above list was Jay Rodriguez, who WBA bought when they were still in the Premier League. I don't think there is any real excuse for the fee we paid for Brereton, especially when you see that the likes of McBurnie only cost £315k, Maupay was £1.6m, Che Adams £2m, Billy Sharp £650k and even our own Bradley Dack was only £750k. It's very hard to argue we did anything other than massively overspend on Brereton, almost to the point of total madness.

Ah but would any of them play for £5 per week and a packet of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls?

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