Scunthorpe. Even if you emphasize the last syllable with one of their deep local drawls it still doesn't sound as bad as I thought it was going to be. And the realisation that we're not going to be playing one of the big boys couldn't have been made more clearer really. The Premiership? Yeah, we'll be back, some day over the horizon but are we going to miss it? I don't think so. Obscene amounts of cash washing about, all them foreigners falling over, fools on TV giving their views and then insulting reports in the papers. Who needs it?
So it's time for a change, something everyone needs, and on to the fizzies and after everyone getting a tad upset months ago at the very thought of relegation and having to play the likes of down-market Scunthorpe, here we are meeting them in the first game on August 11th. Pards says its going to be tough, and perhaps not the best time to meet a promoted club but at least it'll mean that we'll not have an easy three points giving us any delusions. If we win we'll know that we are capable of doing something in the League. If we lose, God help us, but we'll find out straight away that we're not good enough at the fizzy level and have to improve.
On the player front, the Elk is officially off to Qatar and now there's the intriguing news that after jetting back from his hols to discuss the matter, our little Benty has decided NOT to join the Hamsters. A very good deal for the club and a lotta wonga for the man himself and he turns it down. What can be the reason? Is he really one of us and likes the Valley so much that he'd rather stay for just one more year?
Our Reg explains it all away, or rather doesn't, on the official site and looks forward to having Darren with us come August.
But as Ketts says on frankie its all rather strange when a simple NO could be arranged over the phone. Perhaps he wasn't enjoying the sun in the Caribbean, perhaps Reg wanted to have a word or perhaps everyone's holding on to the Spurs ticket. Maybe Darren prefers working with Pardew rather than Curbs and is prepared to wait for another offer from a bigger club. But above all its significant that since Pards has been involved the value placed on players seems to be more realistic than under previous regimes. 16-18 million and a player that he's been after since he arrived - Mullins - included in the deal would seem to imply that at last we have a manager who can obtain a decent price for players.
Whether Pards can similarly get round the more astute Jol is another matter. If there's anyone who knows the value of money its Mr Jol, just ask Murphy.
In fact, Darren's move could well turn into one of those eBay deals where nothing really happens until the last 3 minutes and then the price skyrockets. Trouble with playing so close to the wind, of course, is that Pards wants to know how much cash he has to play with and a last minute deal will leave him with little time to plan and there will come a time when perhaps poker skills will come to play. Who has the expertise, I wonder?