Tomorrow, it returns.
89 days on from a day that will live with every Wanderers’ supporter for as long as they live, we stand on the eve of another season. This time, despite some off-field disruption earlier on in the summer and the odd bit here and there, we look to be in far better shape than 12 months ago. A new stadium name, the continued building of a new squad and, most importantly, a fresh new optimism that has been forged on the back of one or two positive pre-season results and some very decent additions in attacking areas.
So, looking at the transfer business done so far and squad going into the season, there are admittedly a few gaps that remain which I have no doubt will be filled over the next week. We’ll go to The Hawthorns on Saturday needing a GK, LB, CB, CM, CF (at the time of writing – morning of 03/08). Despite this, we do look to have a better squad than last year with a cash buy supplementing the prudent business done. Magennis is a Northern Irish International that has played at a major tournament and offers the ability to ensure Bolton can make the ball stick. When we struggled in April last year, a key error was the inability for Le Fondre or Walker to hold-up play in the style that Parkinson prefers – Magennis should be ideal with a goalscorer playing off him. Yanic Wildschut is a playoff candidate sort of signing in my eyes. Perhaps a lack of efficiency but he still has an effectiveness that Wanderers haven’t had in quite a few seasons. Essentially, all the business is mid-table Championship at this stage rather than what we relied on last year which was top-End League One deals.
On-the-pitch, Wanderers conjured up a measly points total last year. A replication of that will send us down. We weren’t lucky as such to stay up but we were lucky that the survival total was so low. A realistic points aim should be between 50-55 in order to bring some stability and consolidation. As boring as that is, it will offer a proper platform for the Whites to once again build on next summer. That is a theme of the Anderson regime, each summer has been an upgrade on the previous one. Perhaps it has been a gradual one this year and not as steep as many would’ve preferred but it is working. Personally, I believe we have been massively underrated and many are going off the dramatic escape last year whilst reading about a player strike in early-July. Parkinson managed to keep us up with Aaron Wilbraham, Tyler Walker, Filipe Morais as pivotal attacking players at times last year – they’ve all been upgraded upon now. A quick prediction for me would be Wanderers are safe by March and finish around 15th-18th, oh and we will beat West Bromwich tomorrow.
A quick word on Ken Anderson. Been heavily critical in the past of him and his son but the club statement he put out on Thursday 2nd August is the first time I’ve felt a control. I’ve believed now for a while that I was wrong about KA and he does have a legitimate reason to be here and plan however, the authority in which he addressed the ludicrous business deals signed up to by the previous ownership was heartening. It showed a stronger authority than previously and he toned down the “pandering”-type nature that he has been accustomed to.
It’s the most special time of the year right now. Wanderers are beginning their season. Enjoy it, live it and believe – WBA 0-2 Wanderers by the way.