Thursday, April 13, 2017

Worst Signings of the Premiership season (part 1)

This is the fifth season I've done a Worst Signings of the Season blog.  It doesn't get any easier...because I swear the number of potential candidates increases year upon year (it turns out I said this last year too!).  There are at least a dozen other players that could have made this list.  It seems to me that Premiership clubs are getting worse at recruiting.  On the other hand, the major culprits change every year - last season it was Celtic, and the year before it was Ross County; neither are mentioned often in this list.

The previous 'winners', for the record:

2012/13 - Rory Boulding (Kilmarnock), who was given a three year deal by Kenny Shiels and played only 4 games for the club.  A few days after I slagged him off he scored the winning goal for Dundee United that put them into the top six, purely to get it right up me.

2013/14 - Stephane Bahoken (St. Mirren), the French striker loaned from Nice who the Buddies sent back to France in January...only for Nice to decline to take him back because he wasn't eligible to play for anyone other than St. Mirren for the rest of the season.

2014/15 - Jim Fenlon (Ross County), possibly the worst full-back I've ever seen at this level.  His positional sense was so bad that it's hard to believe he was a professional footballer.  Maybe he just didn't care.

2015/16 - Rodney Sneijder (Dundee United) - Jackie McNamara's marquee signing with the famous brother, who played 20 minutes of football for the club before returning to Holland with personal problems.

As for this season, I think everyone can take a good guess at who's going to be at number one.  But let's leave that for another day, as we count down from 25 to 11...

Image result
Erstwhile Killie manager Lee Clark's summer transfer strategy was basically to sign a gazillion youngsters, mostly on loan, and hope that a few worked out.  These are three loanees who actually left the club almost as quickly as they came.  Davies was a candidate for the list last year, after joining Killie on loan from Swansea and leaving within a matter of weeks because of injury.  This time round, he lasted even less time, legging it because it was apparent he wasn't going to get a game ahead of Jamie MacDonald.  What's sad is that everyone else knew that when he arrived.  Waddington returned to Stoke after just a month in which he started (and was hooked in) a League Cup loss to Morton and then had a minute-long sub appearance at Hamilton.  Green arrived on deadline day from Burnley and departed long before he was officially sent back in January.

Image result for jason banton partick thistle
Who?  Exactly.  Apparently he's a winger who Thistle loaned from Crawley Town on deadline day in January.  He's been on the bench once, and didn't come off it.  Apparently he's had problems with a groin injury since then.  Given how well Thistle are doing, there's a decent chance he won't get on the pitch even if/when he gets fit again.  And no, I couldn't find a picture of him wearing Thistle colours.

Image result for oscar gobern ross county
Who?  Exactly.  The midfielder joined from Mansfield in January and has played 45 minutes of a Scottish Cup tie for County.  That's it.  Given that County still give Martin Woods a regular game, that's a sad indictment of Gobern.

Image result for yordi teijsse dundee
Expectations shouldn't really be that high for a guy plucked from Dutch amateur football, but the loss of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart left Dundee desperate for a goalscorer...but instead they had a guy who looked like an Uruk-Hai from Lord Of The Rings, but was rather less dangerous.  Teijsse managed a solitary league cup goal, but disappeared from first team contention by the end of October.  He left on loan in January, and I doubt he'll be back for next season.

Image result for dapo kayode kilmarnock
Who?  Exactly.  He's an English right-back who signed for Killie in August, and who sat on the bench three times without ever actually making an appearance for the club.  He was last seen at the start of October, and was finally released last week.

Image result for henri anier inverness
Anier makes this list for the second time in three seasons, which doesn't reflect well on the Estonian.  He's looked about as dangerous as a newborn kitten up front for Caley Thistle.  To be fair to him he puts in a lot of running, just not necessarily in the right direction.  Sadly, his signing, like so many others by Richie Foran, smacks of "he's a player I've heard of who has played at this level before" rather than "this is the sort of player I'm looking for and I am going to utilize him in a specific role".

Image result for luka belic motherwell
Who?  Exactly.  He arrived on loan from West Ham, and was never seen anywhere near Mark McGhee's first team.  A few months on, McGhee would tell Motherwell's AGM that it was "a sign of how low a standard English clubs feel the Scottish product is if they think a player of this standard would walk into an SPFL team".  Which suggests the manager never even scouted the Serb.  He left West Ham in January and joined a club in Slovenia.

Image result for malaury martin
There's still plenty of time for the Frenchman to come good, but on his showings so far Hearts fans have every right to be aghast at the three-and-a-half year contract he was given in January.  He has shown precious little of the flair that was expected of him, and precious little of the effort that is demanded of him.  Not only was he subbed at half-time in the cup game with Hibernian, but he was then hooked at the interval in the replay too.  He's been limited to sub appearances since, and it remains to be seen whether he can bounce back.

Image result for marc klok dundee
The Dutch midfielder previously had a spell at Ross County, where some supporters lamented that he never got much of a chance to show what he could do in a deep-lying role in only six appearances over a year.  Well, Dundee gave him even less time on the park - only 29 minutes of first-team action over two sub appearances, even though they were on a honking run - and let him go after less than three months.

Image result for de vries celtic
In some ways the Dutchman's signing was a success for Brendan Rodgers, as it spurred Craig Gordon to improve his distribution and become the sort of sweeper-keeper the Celtic boss desires.  In most ways it was a failure, given that De Vries is better with his feet than his hands.  He failed to keep a clean sheet in any of his five appearances, which included the 7-0 shellacking in Barcelona and poor goals conceded from distance against Inverness and Kilmarnock.

Image result for callum morris aberdeen
The ex-Dundee United centre-back was brought in as defensive cover, and made a grand total of zero appearances for the Dons...even though their central defenders did not start the season impressively.  His contract was torn up in January so he could return to old club Dunfermline.

Image result for lennard sowah hearts
Sowah actually played for Hamilton between October and January, and occasionally he looked fairly competent on the left side of a back three.  But never for a moment did anyone think a bigger Scottish club would come calling...yet he's been a fixture at left-back for Hearts for the last three months.  And he's been a complete haddy.  Goodness knows how he keeps Faycal Rherras, who was hardly decent himself, out of the side.

Image result for zak jules motherwell
Motherwell and Partick Thistle both went begging to English Championship side Reading in January for a young centre-back on loan.  Thistle got Niall Keown, whose arrival coincided in their defence becoming even more stingy and the team making a successful push for a top six place.  Motherwell got Zak Jules, who appears to have graduated from the Keystone Cops school of defending.  His own goal against Dundee was a particular joy to behold.  Depressingly, this guy has two caps for our under-21s, even though most people wouldn't trust him with scissors.

Image result for larnell cole inverness
Cole had a few positive moments for Inverness, but not nearly as many as you'd hope for from a guy who was in the same Man United youth team as Paul Pogba and who once cost Fulham a seven figure transfer fee.  And he blotted his copybook badly by getting stupidly sent off for dissent in a critical game against St. Johnstone.  Ultimately he'll be remembered as a bit of a fancy dan who isn't the sort of player you need for a relegation scrap.

Image result for conor sammon hearts
Hearts fans were insistent that I pick Sammon, even though the Irishman has been somewhat revitalized by a loan move to Rugby Park.  Despite playing several times together, Sammon's strike partnership with Tony Watt often gave the impression that they were on opposite sides.  He managed just a solitary goal for the Jambos, and was falling out of the first team picture even before Ian Cathro arrived.  I imagine the remaining two years of his Hearts contract will be ripped up this summer.

The top ten will come in a few days, honest...

No comments: