New Championship season 2021/2022 kicks off on evening of Friday 6th August.
Final game is 7th May 2022
Championship play off final is Sun 29th May 2022
*Hope we kick off the season at home on Friday evening. Decent crowd back at home for the curtain raiser would be nice.
As a keeper, it's a massive risk to stay put for a penalty. If you do and the taker just rolls it into either corner you look a right knob. It looks better to commit either way.
When I was a lot younger I saved a penalty once just by assuming the taker would hit it into the top left corner. Usually such penalties aren't savable but the lad tried to loft it in rather than going for power and I just caught it, haha.
I'm guessing that our squad of 25 players next season will have a few young ones lets say 5 at around £4K a week, then say a core group of 14 at around £8K to £10K a week so lets call it £9K. Then there will likely be a few who are paid a little bit more say 4 around £12K then I'd guess say two on £20K for their "star status."
I make that a weekly bill of £234,000 and annually just over £12M. I'm guessing that SG and the Accountants will work out how much of a squad wage bill they can afford and work it backwards starting with who is already here and how much are they costing us then the difference is what NW will have to negotiate and wriggle with.
There are all sorts of permutations that can be worked into that, he may prefer to gamble with padding the squad with say the likes of Wood, Wing, Spence and Coulson (or of that ilk rather than them specifically) so he can offer a bit more elsewhere, for example a Striker who is mobile and even scores goals may be deemed value for money in committing a huge dollop of that budget to. Just as an aside to me Fletcher doesn't fit that billing.
Loans where parent clubs pay a big chunk will likely have to be well executed in getting the likes of Kebano back in on loan but the waiting and the chance that you don't get who you really want could leave us short. The £12M figure is just a nominal one, it could be £15M or indeed could be much lower depending upon the real financial landscape rather than the one we are hoping for.
One or two of the younger players or lower paid players are likely on less than £4K or £9K so there may be more flexibility. When it comes to the names being bandied about like Bolasie I'm guessing that he will occupy one of the top salary berths if he came permanently. Like Fletcher I'm not sure that represents a good return on that level of investment, the question then becomes if not them then who?
What do we need now? A goalkeeper and two strikers worthy of the name, and a CB because Hall and Fry have both been missed whenever they've been out.
What will we need by August? Surely that depends how many of the loanees stay or go? If they all stay, I think we've probably got enough bodies and strength in depth without bankrupting ourselves. If players start drifting back to parent clubs, we need to replace them with like-for-like.
On paper, our squad today is stronger than it has been for a couple of years. I do think we could fashion a really good side over the next year, similar to the Karanka-era sides where the starting XI largely picked itself and subs made a real impact, but endlessly chopping and changing playing personnel won't help to build that consistency.
Personally, I'm not a fan of loan signings for that very reason, but I accept they're a necessary evil when we don't have money to pay up front for outright acquisitions.