Thursday, October 23, 2014

County need continuity

Yoann Arquin, Jordi Balk, Darren Barr, Jonathan Bateson, Liam Boyce, Scott Boyd, Richard Brittain, Mark Brown, Kurtis Byrne, Joe Cardle, Graham Carey, Uros Celcer, Erik Cikos, Alex Cooper, Mark Corcoran, Melvin De Leeuw, Tony Dingwall, Tim Dreesen, Russell Duncan, Terry Dunfield, Jim Fenlon, Mark Fitzpatrick, Mark Fotheringham, Michael Fraser, Ben Frempah, Paul Gallacher, Michael Gardyne, Gary Glen, Ben Gordon, Andre Hainault, Jackson Irvine, Jake Jervis, Stuart Kettlewell, Filip Kiss, Marc Klok, Mihael Kovacevic, Paul Lawson, Kevin Luckassen, Darren Maatsen, Brian McLean, Colin McMenamin, Branislav Micic, Sam Morrow, Grant Munro, Orhan Mustafi, Evangelos Oikonomou, Paul Quinn, Rocco Quinn, Antonio Reguero, Steven Ross, Steven Saunders, Martin Scott, Jordan Slew, Yann Songo'o, Ivan Sproule, Michael Tidser, Ross Tokely, Lewis Toshney, Iain Vigurs, Steffen Wohlfarth

Phew, deep breath!

What do these sixty-one men have in common?  That's right - they have all turned out for Ross County since the beginning of the 2012/13 season, their first in the Scottish Premiership.

That's twenty-six months.  Sixty-one players in twenty-six months!

Two of those players, Jonathan Bateson and Kurtis Byrne, only made a single League Cup appearance each.  So actually 'only' fifty-nine of these guys have played in the Premiership.  When recent arrival Martin Woods makes his debut, he'll have the dubious honour of being number sixty.

Make no bones about it, that's a shocking statistic.  Add in the fact that only two of them - Tony Dingwall and Steven Ross - have actually come through County's youth system, and it's even more shocking.  The constant chopping and changing, and the lack of a settled team, is the primary reason why they are in their current predicament at the bottom of the league.

Ironically, their promotion was won in the first place by a strong, settled group.  Only three of that pre-summer 2012 bunch are left - Scott Boyd, Richard Brittain and Rocco Quinn.

Having got into this mess because of short-termism, they have no choice but to try to escape via the same route.  Since his appointment at the start of last month, Jim McIntyre has hit the free agent market like a kleptomaniac in Tesco.  Woods is his fifth signing, following Lewis Toshney, Terry Dunfield, Jamie Reckord, and Paul Quinn.  His chairman, Roy McGregor brought in three other new faces just prior to his appointment - Darren Barr, Jackson Irvine and Michael Gardyne.

Thank goodness for McGregor's generosity, or McIntyre would have had to make do with the duds that he was left by his predecessor.  Derek Adams had signed eleven players himself in the summer, but it looks like plenty of them will be discarded like XXL boxer shorts at the end of a Fat Camp.  It's quite possible that we'll not see the likes of Uros Celcer, Tim Dreesen or the utterly horrific Jim Fenlon (players who all started their opening match of the campaign) again.  After all, McIntyre has an enormous squad now at his disposal - twenty-six players who have passed their twenty-first birthday, more than either Rangers or Celtic!  It seems unlikely that County still have the lowest wage budget in the top flight.

So their survival may rest on how quickly the new manager can work out what his strongest eleven is.  And on how quickly the players learn each other's names.  And if he can pull it off, he then needs to keep them together, so that this fiasco doesn't happen again.


Chopping and changing - the last four seasons at Ross County
The team that won promotion in 2011-12
The side that finished the 2012-13 season in fifth

The strongest lineup from last season
The eleven that might keep them up?


Anonymous said...

The strongest line-up from last season should have Arquin instead of Slew.

Other than that minor complaint, it's an interesting (if somewhat distressing, from a County fan perspective) read.

Anonymous said...

How many players did ICT have during Butcher yet they still managed to do something, it's the type of player Adams brought in that was wrong

Lorry said...

ICT have used 39 players in the Premiership in the last 2 and a bit seasons. Which is rather less than County have used.