Gleaning Windows: 10 Key January Signings

Posted by on Feb 15, 2011 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
With a fortnight having passed since the keys turned in the lock of the transfer kitty vaults, I thought I would attempt to identify which ten of the myriad deals done may benefit purchasers most in the short term. The list below is a subjective one, peppered with both the obvious and the unheralded, and no doubt destined to be debunked four months from now. I’ve attempted to ignore the evidence of February’s first two weeks, compelling though it is in cases, and restricted my selections to permanent deals…so here goes…and with respect to Mark Wright, James Chester, Ian Ashbee and Elliott Benyon, already covered in depth in these pages…I bring you the canniest acquisitions of the trading aperture:

Martyn Woolford (Bristol City)

Only with it denuded have we come to realise how good that Scunthorpe United promotion vintage was, but with the twin strikers Gary Hooper and Paul Hayes having departed in the Summer, the third member of their iron masters has headed out through the gates of Glanford. Identified by this very website as one to keep watch on in our very early days, the blond raider has an elegance that makes light of the Lincolnshire mud and now finds himself in a second successive relegation battle. He’ll introduce craft and midfield goals to City’s inside left channel.

Simon Yeo (Macclesfield Town)

No spring chicken, Yeo is a veteran of Bosnia and Northern Ireland (the conflicts; not those countries’ respective top flights) as well as Droylsden, Harrogate Town and New Mills. Having already enjoyed one spell at Moss Rose in the twilight of his career, he’s now signed on for a second; and the Macc Lads will be hoping that the nous of this seasoned 37 year old, most famously evident in a successful spell for Lincoln City, will be enough to keep them above their fellow League 2 bottom feeders. Next up are his home town club Stockport County, occupants of a borough where he once occupied himself with the manufacture of toilet seats.

Tim Sills (Aldershot)

Sills’ return to the Recreation Ground from Stevenage is interesting — a cult hero in the Hampshire club’s Conference days, he’s never really done it in the League, but if spiritual homes exist, this relationship provides a compelling argument. A man of Romsey, he’s among the goals already and provides a no nonsense bustle to an occasionally over prettified eleven. His two strikes in four echo that goal every other game record he threw up in his first spell.

Ricardo (Leicester City)

One way of preventing a nemesis of coming back to haunt you is to employ them, and such is the reasoning doubtless employed by Sven Gà¶ran Eriksson in recruiting this scourge of England campaigns past. The villain of Lisbon and Gelsenkirchen denied the penalties of future team mate Darius Vassell in Euro 2004 and then Jamie Carragher, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard two years later; laying to bed the myth of the dodgy continental netminder. Latterly with the Andalusians of Betis, a long career has seen him turn out for the less famous clubs of Portugal’s two chief cities, Sporting and Boavista and, at 35, is a signing Leicester City can happily bring along with them into the Premier League. With acquisitions like this and Yakubu, missing out will simply not be good enough for the Foxes this year.

Nicky Wroe (Shrewsbury Town)

Graham Turner feels that his Shrews can even challenge for Chesterfield’s once seemingly predestined championship and a serious stint of M5 miles may have provided him with a piece of that. A greater presence was perhaps expected of Torquay this season and the midfielder will feel his best chance of featuring in League 2 comes via Shropshire. £45,000 is no small fee to pay at this altitude and Wroe will be expected to reprise the cornerstone role he enjoyed over three Devon winters.

Bradley Wright-Phillips (Charlton Athletic)

Reputedly Reading-bound in January, a medical issue put that move on ice — in perpetuity as it turns out — as Charlton’s medical staff proved to be less stringent. So it comes to pass that yet another young man of the capital fails to appreciate life west of the Exe; even if it’s the acute financial state that most severely provoked the hiring of this son of a pundit. 17 goals in 32 injury marred games is a return of green pride for BWP, and doubts as to his ability to fully function among the top 44 won’t bother the Addicks as they attempt to clamber upwards.

Andy Holdsworth (Morecambe)

Like Yeo above, Holdsworth has been press ganged from the ranks of the unemployed this bleak midwinter. Player of the year at Huddersfield Town as recently as 2008, and having etched up 231 games at the Galpharm; a subsequent spell at Oldham ended on January 28. His hiatus on the sidelines was not to last too long, with the coastal Lancashire outfit revealing this former representative of a Football League Under-21 select as a Shrimp. As an adept shuttler between defence and midfield, the deal is a sage one for his new employers.

Michael Morrison (Sheffield Wednesday)

With competition at Leicester City rivalling the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade for intensity, it was shrewd of Alan Irvine to swoop for a man who would be thriving under normal conditions. Having netted a winner against the Owls’ cross city rivals Sheffield United on Boxing Day 2009, a contract that had been extended until 2012 has now been torn up. Morrison plugs a gap that had appeared with the departure to Coventry City of Richard Wood and was only temporarily sanded over by Darren Purse, now a Lion and pleasing my fellow blogger Stanley, as well as maintaining his loyalty to the colour blue.

Ben Williamson (Bournemouth)

If Glenn Hoddle’s innovative Academy has failed to unearth even a medium sized star as yet, if just one player makes the grade then…it may still not be worth it. But, churlishness aside, Williamson may be the best chance yet for one of its students to achieve something in the game. A youth at Millwall, he came to Jerez via Worthing and has notched up an octet of goals for the Spanish Fourth Division side with which the venture shares links. One substitute appearance so far may have attracted little notice but Sevilla’s Ikechi Anya aside, it’s a leap beyond the non-league berths most of his fellow alumni have negotiated.

Shaun Harrad (Northampton Town)

With Burton Albion having picked up a reliable lower league goal getter in Calvin Zola on loan, they’ll be anguished to see stalwart Shaun Harrad go. The man who has nothing to do with glossy green bags and sumptuous food halls has been a permanent fixture of the Brewers’ greatest years, a netter of 21 goals in their first ever football league season and the notcher of a hat-trick against Rotherham early on in that campaign. Again, £50,000 is a vertiginous fee for a League Two club and shows the level of ambition at Sixfields.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. John McGee
    February 15, 2011

    Two words: James Chester.

    Why end the love in yet?

  2. unitedite
    February 15, 2011

    The Michael Morrison one is interesting, I have heard mixed reports from Wednesday supporting mates so far. Yet on past performances I would have welcomed him at Bramall Lane, never mind dropping another division.

    Coincidentally, Darren Purse was excellent for Millwall at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

    Madine might be the man to push Wednesday towards the play offs, providing he doesn't continue to forget about his community service commitments.

  3. Bill Turianski
    February 15, 2011

    Great article, Lanterne Rouge.

  4. Lanterne Rouge
    February 15, 2011

    Of course James Chester would be any top ten John but I decided to omit those we have been making a fuss of lately – still very excited by the young lad's progress.

  5. Ben
    February 17, 2011

    Wright-Phillips seems to have made himself at home very quickly. Not surprised to see Woolford and Harrad snapped up by bigger clubs either.

    As for Leicester, Eriksson's made some fantastic signings. Are Leicester the only side who can claim to have completely changed their first-choice back five since the transfer window opened (on Saturday it was Ricardo, Naughton, Bamba, Mee, Van Aanholt)?

  6. Bristol City’s woes are likely to be the norm | The Two Unfortunates
    December 9, 2012

    […] The Swiss Ramble’s typically masterful analysis of the Avon club’s finances from February 2011 quoted a Transfermarkt study claiming that the squad possessed playing assets totalling £19 million but that seemed like La la Land even at the time and opportunities to cash in were missed, more of which later. At the moment, the squad is a real ragbag with has beens like Jody Morris jostling for space with the once promising likes of Paul Anderson and Martyn Woolford. […]


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