#019 - Busy summer at Ainsfield Park
The technical staff did a hell of a job. They managed to bring in eleven(!) new players so far and most of them are a really good upgrade I would say. I will go through our newbies line by line, starting with our goalkeepers.
As you probably know we offered Grant Adam
a new contract, but it was not sure he would be our starting goalkeeper again for the upcoming season. We searched for a new guy, but decent goalkeepers are very hard to find at this level of football. From all the possibilities we’ve got only two guys could become a potential Spartans player. For one of them we had to pay £4,000 the other one was running out of his contract. Both players are quite equal to each other, so it was an easy pick at the end. 18-year old Englishman Joe Young
will join us for the next two seasons. Most of the important attributes have double figures, so I think we need to be happy. It was the best we could get. He definitely will become our starting goalkeeper, but if he fails Adam will still being a decent back-up.
Our defence is probably the best line from the whole squad, so we didn’t need a big improvement here. But most likely we are going ahead with our tactic we ended with last season, the defensive 5-4-1 system. I will show this tactic later on. That means we are playing with 3 centre backs, so I think we need at least 5 of them who can actually play on this position. But we only had three left after Greg Pascazio
has leaved. We found a lot of potential reinforcements, but one of them in particular jumped in our vision because of his good mental abilities. Let me introduce 22-year old Jordan Armstrong
. He is coming from Buckie Thistle
, who are playing in League One as well. We had to pay £2,000 but that was not a big issue. I think he is a really good upgrade and probably will be immediately one of our starting players. For the first time we managed to hire a player from our affiliated Premiership side Hearts
. Right full-back Matthew Thompson
is a very good player and will be a huge upgrade, because our fullbacks performed quite bad over the last two seasons. Although Dean Brett
seems an upgrade as well, he performs really good so far in our pre-season matches. That means John Morrison
is placed back to our B-squad, which he is very angry about. We are trying to send him on loan for the upcoming season.
Then we are in our midfield. An important line because we ‘lost’ almost everybody. But we did a really good job I think. Our first signing is the one I’m the most delighted with. Dean Ritchie
is coming from Premier League side Hearts
were he ran out of is contract. This 20-year old central midfielder has some incredible attributes and looks already better then our best midfielder, Max Ashmore
. I think this guy is going to deliver us lots of assists and probably a good amount of goals as well. Beside Ritchie we have signed another central midfielder called Brian Cameron
. A decent experienced 30-year old central midfielder who will be our first back-up. Furthermore we have shifted our own academy talent Kevin Wright
into the senior squad.
Although Ritchie was an amazing signing already, we were really close to another spectacular signing. Andy Holliday
was running out of his contract at Rangers
, where he didn’t play a single match during the last two seasons. We managed to make him interested in Spartans, offered him a very good deal (the best we could offer) and surprisingly he accepts! But at the end he decides to join Championship side Queens Park
, which we can’t argue to be honest. I’ve shown his profile as well, so you can see what we missed…
Also our wingers need an upgrade. I’m quite happy with the performances last season from Vezza
and our youth academy talent Bill Swanson
on the right hand side, but our left-wingers aren’t that great. We give youngster Bryan Shields
another chance as a back-up, but we really need a decent starting player. We succeed and found Irishman Cory Galvin
. His main attributes are really good for his role we want to use him in, so I’m expecting far more dangerous attacks from the left side of the pitch this season.
Up front we have made another controversial signing. Last year we managed to bring in League One top goalscorer Scott Dunn
, now we have the best rated player from last season’s League One brought into our squad. Sean Brown
scored a lot of goals as well last season, but in comparison with Dunn he is both far more technical and has better tactical visions. Although we play with only one striker in our stating tactic, we can easily switch to a system with two strikers if needed. Beside of Brown we signed Ben Reilly
as a third back-up striker.
Furthermore we signed two youngsters for the future. These two are centre back Sam Sutherland
and striker Declan Hannah
. Sutherland is already loaned out again, he will join Lowland League side Hawick Royal Albert
for the upcoming season. We try to loan Hannah as well, at least that will be far better than performing in the reserve competition with our B-squad. If these two guys reach a point they will be ready to join our first squad then I will show their profiles for sure. So far we only signed players, but actually we lost one player as well. Youngster Gregor Townsley
is sold to Queens Park
. He is a very pacy winger, but to be honest I’m not really believing in him because of some important attributes are just shit. Queens Park made the minimum bid we wanted for our talents (£20,000 and a 50% resell fee) so he left us. That amount of money is around 10% of our yearly budget, so it’s not really realistic if we turned down this kind of offers. Well, that’s all it for now, below I have shown our transfer overview this far.
Overall I’m delighted with our new signings and really believe that we can compete for at least a play-off spot right now. Actually, it will be very disappointingly if we don’t and I will probably draw my conclusions then. We are still searching for one more centre back, but it isn’t a big issue if we don’t find any. Because of the many new signings and introducing them, I will keep our pre-season run and tactics as short as possible. Although we make use of five defenders we are not playing that defensive. Our both wingers play as an attacking winger, which give space to our fullbacks to run into the opponents half of the pitch. If one of them run ahead we still have four defenders left if we suddenly lose the ball (which happened quite often last season…). The big benefit of this 5-4-1 tactic is that we easily can switch into a 4-4-2 system, only subbing a central defender for a striker. Our pre-season results are decent, although the last two games against both League Two sides worries me a little bit. Especially because of our first competition match opponent; we are playing away against Kelty Hearts
, who are relegated from the Championship. So immediately one of the more difficult games this season to start with…