Seven things we’ve learnt this transfer window
With Louis Thompson gone, but back, and Jack Stephens and Jonathan Obika back, again, Alex Cooke looks at how Swindon did out of the summer’s moves.
1. Town had a good transfer window
Swindon fans can’t usually agree on anything. From formations to the merits of playing 50-year-old bit of sub-moptop-pop guff after goals, they bicker constantly. But (if you’ve had all of your inoculations) you can skip through the various forums and most* people were happy with the outcome: realpolitik has long replaced aspiration in League One. The price for Louis Thompson seems to have been widely considered a fair one – especially considering what might have been granted to Town by a tribunal at the end of the season. The arrival of Jonathan Obika has worried some but the deal has been sweetened considerably with the late delivery of the previously excellent Jack Stephens.
*Most. Don’t worry, there were still a few who have started predicting relegation again.
2. Louis Thompson is a bit of class
Not only is Thompson a genuine talent on the field, he is a diplomat off it. His tweets of departure have been modest, charming and seemingly heartfelt. Of course, it helps that his brother waded in too (just as on the field) but they have softened the break up – like letting us keep the CDs and not changing the Netflix password while we were out. Anyway we’ll still see him around for the next few months. And then on Match of the Day.
He was the most saleable of the midfielders with no pay-offs to others and a rapidly running down contract, but Swindon will miss Thompson after this season – his potential is probably greater than any member of the squad. But the club have time to replace his tenacity, dynamism and ever growing ability. There is the currently injured Anton Rogers, but at the moment it seems most likely that Jake Reeves is the one being tested for the box-to-box role. If he isn’t up-to-scratch, there is time to look for a replacement.
3. Lee Power is an ace negotiator
Okay, so we don’t know the full details of the Thompson deal (£600,000 has been reported). Those add-ons and that sell-on, we don’t know if they will be as useless as the sell-on clause in the Joey Beauchamp deal but, at the moment this looks like a good deal for Swindon. Especially if some of them are related to international caps, because if Louis opts for Wales he seems certain to get them.
However, the question remains: How did Power ever end up in a legal dispute with Jed? Going by his negotiating skills on transfers, you’d think he’d get the shirt off Jed’s back – except it was probably a leased club shirt.
4. Michael Smith is in demand
Regardless of what the bloke behind you says, Michael Smith is a footballer in demand. You might end up with burger-flecked salvia pooling on the back of your neck if he misplaces a pass but other league clubs clearly like him. And there have been some good sized fees mentioned too. Yet, Town have held out, indicating that perhaps Smith’s biggest fan is Lee Power.
Similarly likely to annoy the bile-merchant in row B is the sudden appreciation of the job Mark Cooper has done. Ignore the link with Leeds job, the manager’s coat there comes with cyanide capsules already in the pockets, but people outside the town are starting to take notice.
5. We all remember Jonathan Obika
Swindon loanees come and go. Their names are only recorded by the dedicate few with a love of spreadsheets and their own homemade databases. The rest drift into obscurity – and usually the non-league. But not Jonathan Obika, everyone seems to remember the five games. But such assessments are tricky – that was a demoralised and disjointed team – If Matt Ritchie couldn’t shine in that team, something was very wrong.
Swindon, and plenty of other clubs have looked at Obika over the last few years. Every aspect of his ability and personality should be well know to Power, partly through Tim Sherwood but also via many of his own players. Now, Obika will have a chance to prove it to everyone else. Whatever happens it seems unlikely that he will be the new Jamie Slabber.
6. Mor Mor Mor!
Sam Morshead might not have a job but he still has the contacts. Somehow the burger king just happened to pop up with a camera at the County Ground car park as Obika wandered past with his agent.
7. Town’s youth policy should be attractive
Swindon’s youth set up might lack the glamour or the facilities of those Category A academies but yesterday bolsters its charm significantly. After all, Louis Thompson has shown there is a clear path from its doors to a club pushing for the Premier League. Forget about being lost in the multiple reserve teams of a Premier League side, Swindon’s young players play football and impress others doing so. Will Randall and Lee Marshall must have noticed his progress…