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Friday, August 03, 2007

Only 4 and a Half Left.

With the news that stalwart Jon Fortune - since his debut in 2001 our current longest-serving player - could be off to Stoke City after a fee, reported to be £400,000, has been agreed between the clubs, perhaps it's time on a slow-news day to reflect on things at the moment.
Pardew's efforts to get the two more bodies in seem to have slowed somewhat but he seems confident, as reported in CAFCPicks, that things will happen over the next few days - "hello, Andy" - .
Meanwhile, on the playing front the 0-0 draw at Aldershot was disappointing and not what was expected just 10 days before facing the Iron. Even my assertion that we are Number One failed to impress the locals as only 1505 people bothered to turn up despite the appearance of an ex-premier side and it being in a good cause. When 5000 people turn up at Scunthorpe to see them play Sunderland makes you realise that nobody else sees us as a Big Club, either. But then again, maybe those squaddies just don't like football.
For a short opposing view of the Aldershot game there's one here and the same website will also show you that Aldershot have already suffered a 2-0 defeat to Palarse during another of their pre-season home games....And a spy at the game classifies our performance as "cack", with no other useful adjectives given. Several first-teamers on the bench for most of the game will be the excuse but it makes it all the more important that tomorrows game against Sporting Braga is taken very seriously indeed.
Our first opponents of the campaign, Scunthorpe, meanwhile suffered their first defeat of the season 1-0 against Lincoln City on Wednesday in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup. They've already drawn with Chesterfield 2-2, beaten Boston 3-0 and of course beaten Sunderland 1-0.
And if you think that after 7 glorious years in the Premier that the Iron will be a pushover and are a team we always beat, then think again. We've faced Scunthorpe 14 times in our history and honours are even with 4 wins each with 6 draws. They've just had probably their most successful season ever, winning the League One Championship with 91 points after enjoying a 19 match unbeaten run this year and ending up 7 points clear. They'll be bringing 1500 fans to the Valley but leading scorer from last season Billy Sharp with 30 goals will not be there. He's been sold to Sheff U for a couple of million. They've added 7 new players to the team, including Kelly Youga, who'll be keen to show what we were missing I suppose.
In fact, if you want even more unsettling news, of the 23 other teams in the fizzies we only have a positive record against 9 of them. History shows that the other 14 have beaten us more often than not.
But to finish on a more positive note, and a clear indication that the Monica and Curbishley years are well behind us, here's the 20 players that were on view in our only Home fixture in last year's pre-season, the 1-1 draw against New Zealand. Myhre (Andersen 67); Young, Ashton, Hreidarsson, El Karkouri (Fortune 83); Bolanos (Euell 83), Hughes (Kishishev 65), Holland (Walton 65), Rommedahl (Sam 75); Hasselbaink (Walker 75), M Bent (D Bent 65).
Sub (not used): Farinos.
Of the 20 only 5, well 4 and a half, - Holland, Sam, Walker, Marcus Bent and Jon Fortune remain at the club. No less than 15 of them have been released or transferred although two of them, Bolanos and Farinos never really arrived. Oh, and Kevin's gone as well.

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