Saturday, March 28, 2015

Worst signings of the Premiership season (part 2)

As promised, here's the top ten.  Like last year, one club has four players listed here, which tells you something about their transfer market activity.  Last season it was St. Mirren; this time round, you won't be surprised to learn that it's Ross County.  So, who succeeds Stephane Bahoken to win this dubious award?  Read on...

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10. Philip Roberts (Dundee)
Fans of ICT, where he started impressively and then developed a bad attitude, or of Falkirk, where he started impressively, developed a bad attitude, and eventually got sacked for kicking an icebucket after being sent off at Alloa, could have told you that Roberts was one to be avoided.  Paul Hartley gambled on his talent, though, and gave him a two year deal.  His debut against Celtic was impressive...but nothing else has been since.  There was even rumours at the start of 2015 that he'd gone AWOL.  He's been back at Alloa on loan for the last couple of months; this report on his recent performance in a game for them was not flattering.

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9. Tim Dreesen (Ross County)
The Belgian youth international actually commanded a seven figure fee from Dutch side Fortuna Sittard in 2011, but he had clearly regressed since then and had a torrid time in Scotland.  Signed to be a linchpin of Derek Adams' defence, I think he was meant to be the 'cultured' centre back to partner the more agricultural Scott Boyd.  Dreesen played only four times, in which County conceded ten goals.  Unfortunately, he just couldn't cope with any sort of aerial bombardment.  Quickly frozen out by Jim McIntyre, he left in November.

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8. James Marwood (St. Mirren)
Marwood is the son of Manchester City's chief executive, but I imagine it's just a coincidence that he signed at the same time as City loaned a couple of players to St. Mirren.  Right?  Marwood, who signed from Gateshead, was hopelessly out of his depth, playing as a second striker but offering little in the way of threat for a Buddies side who desperately needed a forward.  That didn't stop the desperate Tommy Craig from playing him fifteen times, though.  Gary Teale allowed him to leave for Forest Green Rovers in January.

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7. Uros Celcer (Ross County)
A 25 year old full-back signed from Parma?  It sounded too good to be true for Derek Adams, and it was...though, since Celcer had an extended trial period before joining, there was plenty opportunity to see that he was useless.  Sent off in the first match after Adams was sacked, a thumping at Hamilton, Celcer was never seen again as Jim McIntyre promptly signed the vastly superior Jamie Reckord.  He was released by November and doesn't appear to have got himself a new club since then.

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6. Jo Inge Berget (Celtic)
The Norwegian played under Ronny Deila at Stromsgodset, so Celtic's coach thought he knew what he was getting; less than a year before, Cardiff had paid £2million to sign him, so he can't have been too bad.  And after a double in a rout of Dundee United, the loan deal seemed astute.  But he was so awful in a game at Dens Park at the end of August - he basically covered only a five yard area on the left touchline, to the point where he nearly wore a hole in the pitch - that he was hooked at half-time.  He played only another 15 minutes for the club, and not at all after 2nd October.  Thankfully, Deila was able to send him back to Cardiff in January.  He is now at Malmo in Sweden.

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5. Adam Morgan (St. Johnstone)
St. Johnstone fans are scathing in their criticism of Morgan, who had a fruitless spell on loan from Yeovil.  He lasted an hour in his sole start, managed only a handful of sub appearances, and never played again after being sent off in a reserve team game in October.  A former prodigy at Liverpool, he amusingly claimed on Twitter in December, during his former side's poor run, that he'd have been banging in the goals at Anfield!  Given that, at that point of the season, St. Johnstone were without Steven Maclean and were crying out for a striker, he was a huge letdown.  Remarkably, he's actually fought his way back into the Yeovil team over the last month or so.

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4. Terry Dunfield (Ross County)
Is Dunfield meant to be a holding midfielder or a hardman?  All I know is that his passing is dreadful, and so is his tackling; he was sent off after only 10 minutes of his fourth (and most recent) appearance for County, at Dundee.  County made a huge number of signings this season in the hope that they would luck out on a few - the 33 year old Canadian certainly wasn't one of them, and goes on the list marked 'stealing a wage' for his contribution this season.  Remarkably, he's still apparently in Dingwall, even though he appears to be nowhere near the first team.

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3. Stefan Scepovic (Celtic)
The Celtic board clearly didn't trust Ronny Deila all that much last summer, given that the vast majority of his transfer activity was limited to loan deals.  The one player he was allowed to fork out for, however, was Scepovic, who banged in the goals last year in Spain's Segunda Liga.  The trouble was that Scepovic wanted to sign for Spanish side Getafe; the move to Scotland was only salvaged on deadline day because the Getafe transfer collapsed.  Not the best way to start off, and it hasn't got much better.  For the cost of £2.3 million, the Serb has managed a grand total of four goals, two of which have been in the league.  John Guidetti and Leigh Griffiths are not just ahead of him in the queue, but so far ahead that Scepovic may as well not be queuing.  He's only started three league games!  Deila claimed recently that he will get his chance to impress; I rather doubt it.

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2. Aleksandar Tonev (Celtic)
For all the talk of support from Celtic regarding his ban for racist abuse of Aberdeen's Shaleum Logan, it's worth noting that Tonev hasn't played for the Bhoys since.  The reality is that loan deals between clubs from different countries can't be cut short, so they were stuck with him for the whole season whether they liked it or not.  Given that they signed Gary Mackay-Steven, another wide player, in January, I'd suggest not.  In terms of his play, he was nothing special - only five starts.  Otherwise, he was just an embarrassment.  And bear in mind they probably paid a high six figure loan fee to Aston Villa for him too.

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1. Jim Fenlon (Ross County)
No-one who watched this hapless right-back, now at Hayes and Yeading United, wear a Ross County shirt will disagree with this ranking.  Remarkably, Fenlon was highly thought of a few years back at AFC Wimbledon, and on paper he looked like a decent signing, with plenty of English League Two experience under his belt.  But I've never seen a player at this level show such terrible positioning sense again and again and again.  In a League Cup game against Hibs, a goal was scored from his flank in open play...while Fenlon had, for some reason, wandered into the centre circle.  Lack of confidence?  Lack of interest?  Who knows.  But, out of all the players County signed last summer, he was the worst.  And that's saying something.

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.