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This month will help determine the long-term future of the club and perhaps shed light on the key, unanswered question to me... what exactly was the point of Rob Couhig buying Wycombe Wanderers.
Gareth has made it clear he needs and expects reinforcements. He's mentioned a striker and a defender. Personally I'd say we need a target man for when Ikpeazu isn't available; a spritely striker to sub in and out with Kashket; a ball-playing central midfielder, a central defender (two if Knight leaves) and a left back. Some of these can be loans, some need to be new signings.
You can make the case for Rob Couhig not spending significantly in the summer. We could have been demolished every match - and what's the point of spending lots of money when you're going to get relegated anyway? But that doesn't hold up now. We've done well enough to look competitive in recent matches; it's tight at the bottom. We've proven we can belong in this division when we're at full strength. But can we ever bank on that?
The romantics on the Gasroom will hope that Bayo, Mr Wycombe and Darius provide the fairytale ending; that McCarthy and Fred show their doubters they're good enough for this league; that Mehmeti, Paterson et al stick two fingers up at the clubs that released them and keep us up. Maybe. But probably not. We've all been frustrated by the narrow losses; the draws where we could have won. We all know that with a bit more quality in the side we would likely be 10 or so points better off now. Do we really want to replicate that in the second half of the season -- where we won't have the luxury of being able to drop winnable points and still be able to hope?
It's all very well investing in an improved press box, new dug-outs, wifi and LED hoardings, and nicer floodlights. I think the new sponsors' lounge overlooking the players' tunnel is a bit bizarre (we're not Tottenham for goodness sake) but fine. However, it all points to one thing - the Couhigs are looking to tart the ground up before flipping it to the highest bidder. The equivalent of putting in a new bathroom and a fresh coat of paint before selling our homes for an inflated price to someone too lazy to do the work themselves.
But if they really want to sell the club, surely it's better to do it with the club in the Championship. Pete Couhig can argue we're a yo-yo club to prospective buyers all he likes, but the proof of that will be in the league table. Do the owners really want to risk trying to make that case if we're struggling in League One next season? (Another reason to invest now - we're a lot more likely to sign players good enough to get us out of League One again when we can also offer them half a season of Championship football.)
Yes, it might cost a little to pay up the contracts of the Parkers of the world; maybe switch Charles to coaching for six months; maybe encourage Samuel, Paterson and Freeman to go on loan if neither are going to get much of a look in. But if we can sign a few decent quality players on loan now, plus one or two free agents or transfers we pay for, we CAN stay up. And what a moment that will be for the WHOLE squad.
Some of you think the chairman can do no wrong. I'm more cynical than that. I think he's made significant missteps so far (I'll be charitable and say his campaign to get the ground reopened during the second wave of a pandemic was just a victim of poor timing). But this month will show clearly what his long-term intention for the club is. We have been given £9m this season to help us attempt to be competitive in this league. Not to store away for a rainy day. Nor to pay out in dividends to the owners. Rob Couhig will be doing the club a favour if he allows Gareth this golden opportunity to keep us up. And if he's looking to sell in the not-too-distant future, he'll be doing himself a big favour as well.