Blackpool FC deadline day: Matt Scrafton’s verdict on Seasiders’ January business
Twelve new players in, 12 players out - who says January is the most difficult time to do transfer business?!
If Simon Sadler wanted to lay down a marker this month and prove his intentions - not that he particularly needed to, mind - he’s certainly gone and done it.
He’s delivered an unprecedented level of transfer activity in January considering Blackpool fans had previously become accustomed to hearing the same old, tired excuses from the previous regime about broken fax machines and mobile phones being switched off.
If things aren’t going particularly well on the pitch at the moment, you won’t hear any Blackpool fans complaining about the activities occurring off it.
Simon Grayson can certainly have no more excuses about his squad possessing a lack of quality, because his boss has backed him to the hilt.
The under-fire Pool manager has literally brought in a new team with another one spare, so now is the time to show the fans what a Simon Grayson team in 2020 looks like.
Remarkably, other than Ben Garritty, who signed on deadline day from non-league side Warrington Town, all of the other 11 incomings have arrived from a higher division. That shows the ambition the club now has.
Subsequently, on paper at least, there can be no doubt the Seasiders have ended the window in a far stronger state than they began it.
While the Seasiders were certainly in need of some freshening up, the only concern is they might have done too much business, too soon.
The new arrivals are going to have precious time to gel, which is not exactly ideal given the team’s recent poor form.
In an ideal world the January transfer window is the time to make slight tweaks to your squad with one or two signings, rather than wholesale changes.
But Grayson clearly felt he needed an overhaul to bring in his own players and that’s exactly what has happened, so he certainly can’t complain that he’s not had the required backing from Sadler, who has put his money where his mouth is.
The Seasiders were in dire need of removing the deadwood from the squad, many of whom had only arrived during the summer under previous manager Terry McPhillips.
But it was a shame to see Curtis Tilt and Jordan Thompson depart, because they’re two players who - on their day - were among the club’s best and most talented performers.
But the club acted swiftly in replacing Tilt with Bristol City defender Taylor Moore, who comes with glowing reviews from fans of his parent club.
Meanwhile, Connor Ronan and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall should both bring the necessary quality in the middle of the park vacated by Thompson’s move to Stoke City.
We all know what qualities Marc Bola, Ben Heneghan and James Husband bring while Jordan Thorniley should become an important player once he’s bedded in - having appeared a little rusty on his debut at Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night.
Teddy Howe (not Eddie) brings some much-needed competition in the right-back position while Chris Maxwell does the same for Mark Howard in between the sticks.
Most issues have been addressed and addressed well, but one nagging concern may be the lack of pace in the forward areas.
Gary Madine brings experience and know-how, but he plays in a certain way and he could have done with someone nippy alongside him - rather than Armand Gnanduillet who brings fairly similar qualities.
Speaking of Gnanduillet, another plus is how the Seasiders have managed to keep the Frenchman at the club amid pretty strong interest from Charlton Athletic at the start of the window.
Hopefully the club can now sit the player down and mull over a new contract, otherwise the club’s leading scorer will be off during the summer for free.
But that’s to worry about come May and June time, for now we can only reflect on the business done in the past month and what these new players can help deliver between now and the end of the season.
My only concern about Blackpool’s winter recruitment would be the lack of planning, it’s appeared a little haphazard at times.
I suppose the nature of the January transfer window makes this inevitable, given deals are on the table one minute only to be thrown off it the next.
But it all appears a little reactionary, rather than a result of proactive planning, but again that’s probably more to do with the club’s new recruitment and scouting team having precious time to get their plans in place.
Anyway, enough from me, there’s a football game to concentrate on today. Let’s just be happy the bleeding window is now closed.
Players IN (12)
Marc Bola (loan from Middlesbrough)
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (loan from Leicester City)
Ben Garrity (permanent from Warrington Town)
Teddy Howe (permanent from Reading)
James Husband (loan turned into permanent from Norwich City)
Ben Heneghan (loan extended from Sheffield United)
Gary Madine (free transfer)
Chris Maxwell (permanent from Preston North End)
Taylor Moore (loan from Bristol City)
Connor Ronan (loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Jordan Thorniley (permanent from Sheffield Wednesday)
Grant Ward (free transfer)
Players OUT (12)
Nick Anderton (permanent to Carlisle United)
Rocky Bushiri (returned to Norwich City from loan spell)
Callum Guy (permanent to Carlisle United)
Ryan Hardie (loan to Plymouth Argyle)
Emil Jaaskelainen (released)
Christoffer Mafoumbi (loan to Morecambe)
Michael Nottingham (loan to Crewe Alexandra)
Rowan Roache (released)
Curtis Tilt (permanent to Rotherham United)
Jordan Thompson (permanent to Stoke City)
Ben Tollitt (released)
Adi Yussuf (loan to Boreham Wood)