So that’s sorted then. We’ve got Mark Hughes, whose first game in charge will be the final pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen a week tomorrow. I’ve said before that I would have been happy with that appointment and I still am, but I shan’t gloat. This will probably mean I’ll be a little more patient than some other fans, but obviously I still hope he gets stuck in and we start seeing some good football and some good results (for, sadly, the two do not necessarily go hand in hand) early on.
As Lydia pointed out recently, this now launches the question of which of Man City’s “surplus” players we’ll see gracing our shiny new pitch in a couple of weeks. It’s not just Man City players we’re being linked with now. There’s still the suggestion that Steve Sidwell is on his way subject to a signature or two, his teammate at Aston Villa Luke Young and possibly Rob Green if we lose Super Mark Schwarzer to Arsenal. If the papers are to be believed, Hughes will have a kitty of about £15m which should be enough for a handful of canny signings – fortunately he’s got a good team already, which just needs the odd tweak to bolster it, rather than having to make wholesale changes. Perhaps a bit of youth in midfield (sorry Danny) and a bit of support upfront and that’ll see us through. I have to say I’d quite like to see Nicky Shorey come back and play a bit more but that’s unlikely given how much cover we’ve got at left back now. There are rumours that John Paintsil may be off to West Brom so I wonder if we would need to bring in reinforcements, or perhaps shuffle around our defensive players a bit to fill the gap. I’d prefer the latter actually – the boys (and this goes for all our players, not just those at the back) seem to have a good understanding and work well together so this option shouldn’t cause too many problems. And it saves money that we can then spend where we really need it.
Hughes’ appointment is a step in the right direction but I think we’re still a couple of weeks off settling down and getting comfy. The question of the back-room staff has yet to be fully answered, and there are clearly going to be some changes to the squad which will take time to bed in, but we’ll get there. And if we don’t, I’ll eat my vuvuzela.