Thursday, April 7, 2016

Worst signings of the Premiership season (part 1)

Welcome to the fourth annual Worst Signings of the Season blog.  The previous winners, by the way:

2012/13 - Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock) - who went on to score the goal that put Dundee United in the top six a few days later.

2013/14 - Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren) - the French striker who was so bad that his parent club wouldn't take him back.

2014/15 - Jim Fenlon (Ross County) - I've never seen a defender with poorer positional sense, ever.

Of last season's 25, only Danny Seaborne (who probably shouldn't have been on the list) and Henri Anier (I'm as surprised as you are by his turnaround) are still at their clubs.  

I swear that the list of potential names gets longer every year, which doesn't reflect well on Scottish Premiership clubs and managers.  Every year a handful of clubs seem to be responsible for the bulk of the list, and almost invariably those clubs are struggling; this seems to back up my own belief that being able to successfully identify and recruit decent players might be the most important skill for a manager to have.

Some cruel folk (mostly Dundee United fans, actually) - suggested I just list all the terrible acquisitions made at Tannadice this season, but whilst Jackie McNamara and Mixu Paatelainen made some real horror signings, they are by no means alone.

So let's start counting down.  The top 10 will be published in a few days.

Image result for lee mcculloch kilmarnock
25. Lee McCulloch (Kilmarnock)

Yeah, all right, Elbows was probably given a three year deal by Gary Locke primarily as his assistant manager, rather than as a player.  However, we at Narey's Toepoker are as fond of cheap shots as Lee was in the latter days of his career, so we feel honour-bound to remind you of his single appearance for Killie, a start in central defence at home to Ross County in August.  It lasted 41 minutes, by which point County were 4-0 up.  Some witnesses claimed afterward that McCulloch actually asked to be subbed off; the highlights suggested that the opposing forwards might have found it harder to escape the attentions of a wheelie-bin.

Image result for daniel bachmann ross county
24. Daniel Bachmann (Ross County)
The Austrian keeper will have barely featured on anyone's radar - including County fans - but I include him because, according to a good source, he returned to parent club Stoke in a huff after a few weeks having discovered he would be understudy to Scott Fox.  His decision was a surprise to County...and to his parent club, I understand.  County signed Gary Woods to replace him - and Woods got a cup winners medal whilst Bachmann is back in Stoke's reserves after a brief spell at Bury.  More fool him.

Image result for adam taggart dundee united
23. Adam Taggart (Dundee United)
A bit of a desperation loan signing by a struggling Jackie McNamara, the Australian international made nine appearances, five from the start, up front but never even looked like scoring a goal.  He returned to Fulham early, and they let him return to Australia in January.

Image result for chris turner hamilton
22. Chris Turner (Hamilton Accies)
Turner had impressed in two years in the Championship with Dumbarton, but it was no surprise that the step up to the Premiership was beyond the Northern Irish midfielder.  It didn't help that he went off injured in two of his three appearances.  Released by Accies in December, it's surprising that he hasn't found another club yet.

Image result for josh parker aberdeen
21. Josh Parker (Aberdeen)
Red Star Belgrade seems like an odd destination for a winger born and bred in Slough, but that's where QPR youth player Parker had ended up (via Slovenia's Domzale) prior to joining the Dons on loan at the start of the season.  The Antiguan international had plenty of pace, but little else; he only made one start, at Inverness, where he was played up front and was subbed at half-time having had zero impact on the game.  His main achievement at Aberdeen was appearing in an episode of Come Dine With Me.  No, I'm not joking.

Image result for gavin gunning dundee united
20. Gavin Gunning (Dundee United)
Harsh?  After all, he's been a mainstay since Mixu Paatelainen brought him back for a second spell at Tannadice in November.  But he's amassed a catalogue of blunders - dreadful positioning, poor tackling, misplaced passes, fresh-air swipes, he's done them all.  Plenty of times.  United fans always said he thought he was a better player than he actually was.

Image result for antonio german partick
19. Antonio German (Partick Thistle)
It's true that Thistle have badly needed a prolific striker this season.  English born German had, however, scored just five goals in four years before impressing in India for a couple of months prior to arriving in Glasgow in January.  It turns out the Scottish Premiership is superior to the Indian Super League, thank goodness - German has made only a couple of subs appearances so far and hasn't even made the bench in recent weeks.

Image result for theo robinson motherwell
18. Theo Robinson (Motherwell)
Baraclough signed Robinson, a striker, even though he already had several strikers - a sign of a manager in trouble.  The Jamaican international had a bit of pace but little else.  He played eleven times and scored zero goals before Mark McGhee let him leave in January.  He is now at Port Vale.

Image result for alex d'acol hamilton
17. Alex D'Acol (Hamilton Accies)
Accies recently complained that, were Britain to leave the EU, it would make it harder for them to sign players.  It would potentially save them dross like D'Acol, a Brazilian international with an Italian passport who arrived in August but still hasn't scored a goal.  Martin Canning was presumably seduced by a CV which included a goal spree for AEK Athens in 2013-14...but he may not have realized that this was when AEK were in the Greek second tier.  D'Acol barely looks like he belongs there.

Image result for sendles-white hamilton
16. Jamie Sendles-White (Hamilton Accies)
Released by QPR last summer, young defender Sendles-White thought he would try to make his fortune at Hamilton.  Initially unable to break into the side, he got his chance in November after a few injuries, but they conceded nine goals in his four starts...including four at Dens Park where he was hooked shortly after the fourth the twenty-eighth minute.  Accies let him go in January, and he's actually rebuilding his career at Swindon Town in League One.

Image result for david clarkson motherwell
15. David Clarkson (Motherwell)
Ian Baraclough hoped he was signing the Clarkson who went on a scoring spree in late 2014 for Dundee - instead he got the striker who couldn't hit a cow's backside with a banjo in 2015.  This signing only really made sense if the club were planning on entering a "2004/05 Motherwell old boys" in the local five-a-sides, with Stevie Hammell, Stephen Pearson, Keith Lasley and James McFadden.  Clarkson made a handful of sub appearances, with the club scoring a solitary goal in the time he was on the park (he didn't score it).  His contract runs till the summer, but Mark McGhee's decision to loan him to St. Mirren for the second half of the campaign tells you how much of a future he has at Fir Park.

Image result for riku riski dundee united
14. Riku Riski (Dundee United)
In times of crisis, new managers often make scores of signings, knowing that some will be abject failures but gambling that a few will be massive successes.  Riski falls into the former category.  He was so well known here that several journalists announced that United were signing Roope Riski, his younger brother.  To be honest, maybe they should have done; Riski senior played just four times for the Terrors, with one completely anonymous start against Celtic.  His five month loan deal from Rosenborg was terminated after less than ten weeks.

Image result for john sutton st johnstone
13. John Sutton (St. Johnstone)
Perth-based target men are a mainstay on these lists.  Previously we've had Rory Fallon and Chris Iwelumo.  Now we have Sutton, the latest beneficiary of Tommy Wright's penchant for a big striker to lump high balls at when his side are a goal down late on.  Sutton has managed just a single goal this season, and found himself now well behind the likes of Graham Cummins and Chris Kane in the pecking order.

Image result for tyler blackett celtic
12. Tyler Blackett (Celtic)
Tim Fosu-Mensah, Donald Love, Regan Poole, Joe Riley, Guillermo Varela...Manchester United have been so short of players at times that Louis Van Gaal has given all these guys game time in defence this season.  So Blackett, who made 12 appearances for United last season, would surely have seen plenty of action had he remained at Old Trafford.  Instead he came north on loan, and has seen 13 minutes of first team action since November.  The Englishman was (not undeservedly) scapegoated for a dreadful Europa League defeat against Molde, where he came on as an early sub and was himself subbed off.  Remarkably it was a worse performance than his debut at Pittodrie when Celtic lost there in August.  Why he didn't return south in the January window is a mystery.

Image result for sinama pongolle dundee united
11. Florent Sinama-Pongolle (Dundee United)
A French international who scored for Liverpool in the Champions League, and who once signed for Atletico Madrid for £8million; surely the forward was worth taking a chance on?  Turns out that the reason he ended up in Scotland is not just because he is over the hill, but also because he is injury prone.  Four months after joining, he's made just four appearances, and he's even being kept off the bench by Simon Murray.  Need I say more?  One shudders to think how much United were duped into paying him.

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.

No comments: