This is one episode of a wider series. To instead start at episode one, please click here.
We are heading towards the 2022 campaign. Yes, we had a disasterous season. Yes, we’ve been relegated to the second tier in Norway. Yes, my e-Golf has had “c*ck p*ss Lockhart” sprayed on the side of it, outside of my apartment in Oslo.
But life is not all bad at the Åråsen Stadion. In fact, it’s not bad at all…
On top of the sponsorship revenue, my diligence in the transfer market ahead of this season has ensured the retention of our strong financial status, at least until we bounce back (writer’s note – these Partridge references are getting a bit much, I thought you were better than that).
Now this will mainly be a transfer episode, because to be frank (writer’s note – Lampard? De Boer? Butcher? You’re getting worse at this), there are quite a number of new faces joining here at the club, even if the core players remain largely the same.
Firstly, the exits…
Ex Almería defender Antonio Marín leaves for Häcken in Sweden for £250,000. This wasn’t an easy decision, as Tony was our first choice right back. He joined the club on a free the year before I arrived and played moderately well. Taking up one of those precious non-homegrown slots, not being of our top stars, and offering up that £250k in pure profit, however, I couldn’t say no to letting him go.
Benjamin Källman followed Tony out the door at the Åråsen (I’ve just come up with a brilliant joke I should’ve thought of much, much sooner. You will love it, I guarantee it (writer’s note – No, you won’t, it’s dire)). Benji K heads to Kalmar (also in Sweden) for £115,000. I’ve mentioned this before, but he was by far our highest paid player, is an attacker, and bagged 1 goal and 0 assists in 18 league games. Was I right to let him go? I think I was.
Here it comes. Undoubtedly the blog’s finest moment so far…
I shouldn’t have hired a Volkswagen e-Golf…I should have got an Åråsen Ford!
I’m going to give you the time it takes to read this block of text to stop laughing, because that was so good.
In fact, I stop looking at the transfers altogether momentarily as I grab my mobile and call Gordo, he’s got to hear this one. Gordo answers and I text him the photo. He doesn’t get the joke. Forget it. Just forget it.
Spaniard Edu Ramos leaves for Silkeborg in Denmark (a country I have my eye on potentially managing in after Norway) for £100,000. Edu was another decent all-round midfielder who played 15 times in total for the club and had originally arrived on a free transfer before my time here. It made good business sense for him to go for a profit, especially as much like his countryman Marín, he was taking up one of those non-homegrown slots in our 25 man squad.
First choice goalkeeper Tom Mickel joins Mordovia for £45,000. I have an ideal planned replacement to come, don’t you panic. Today I learned that Mordovia is in Russia, and is not, in fact, a fictional town from the He-Man universe.
Long term exit strategist Mathias Hebo moved to Örgryte for £34,000, and Filip Brattbakk joined him there on loan. Petter Olsen went to Sandejford on loan too. The third tier Norwegian football team, not the health clinic of a particular specialism in Glasgow.
That takes care of the exits, now for the exciting bit, starting from our least expensive signing and working our way up.
Here we go. All images are clickable to have a closer look. All thoughts or predictions for these players are very much welcome in the comments or on Twitter.
My most expensive signing being just £200k, and considering the exits from the club, means that I only actually spent £300,000 overall from the available transfer budget. We also now pay £2,000 a week less in wages than we did last year. I think it’s been a great window, do you?
Incredibly, having met Oaken from the kids movie Frozen in an earlier episode, a pre season friendly sees us come up against (and demolish) Arendal. Which is definitely only spelled differently to Anna and Elsa’s homeland from the popular movie, due to licencing issues. Arendelle (sorry Arendal) must be just like ‘Zebre’ this year. That must be it.
Can you tell I have a three-year old daughter yet with some of these references? And no, I don’t mean the Alan Partridge or Morrissey ones.
We are half way through our pre-season unbeaten, our carefully assembled squad are starting to improve in morale after the disappointment of relegation, and the mood is lifting around the town.
But then something even more surprising than some of Buduson’s finishing in that video happened…
Something I did not think would be possible.
Yes, it’s true. The £9million+ rated forward Viktor Gyökeres, who spawned the absolutely ubiquitous, viral hashtag #InViktorWeTrust (writer’s note – calm down) has agreed to join us at the Åråsen (Ford, LOL) on a bosman transfer.
The trouble is he cannot join until the season in England is finished, which is in August. Our season will be in the final stages by then, and what if Brighton let him rot in the reserves for the next six months? Will he be the same player we had on loan last season when he finally gets here?
But wait, what’s this?
I geunuinely haven’t taken up this option yet, I want to put it out to you guys. Should I be making my most expensive purchase to date (by a large margin), especially when I’ve been relegated and finances aren’t guaranteed to stay secure unless I bounce straight back up? I’ve worked hard to get that ‘managing finances’ characteristic to 40%. I’ve also already got my four striking options set up for the year, in Thomas Olsen, Leonardo Rocha, Johnny Buduson and Lasse Nordås. One of those will have to be disappointed.
But we have the money! There’s stil £2.8million and £37k a week left in the transfer budget (£8.2m cash at the club overall), so it’s hardly reckless.
WHAT WILL I DO?!
Viktor aside, remember that this season starts with the board demanding 8 points from the first 5 games in order me to remain at the club. So all of this could be academic if we don’t make a flying start!
Thanks for reading.