This summer hasn't exactly been one to scream and shout about, on more than one front. First of all, we've lost fan favourites Adam Bogdan, Craig Davies and the ageless, timeless Eidur Gudjohnsen (which I'm not ready to talk about yet). On the financial front, rumours of a takeover by numerous obscure sources have persisted in the background, whilst this week's news regarding late accounts filing signal stormy waters ahead. Oh, and our manager is 2/1 for the Leicester job.
I myself have been rather sceptical looking into the season as a result of all this, so dour in fact that I've made Andy Murray look like a lad that you'd love to have a night on the beer with. I've made Douglas Freedman seem like a man who looks for the positives in every situation. But it ends now.
In addition to Ben Amos and Gary Madine, Wanderers have this week signed Derik Osede from Real Madrid. Although he has spent his career with Castilla and Castilla B (effectively Real's B and C teams), he has had a football education from the magician that is Zinedine Zidane. He's also got a cracking head of hair - dust off the Campo wigs, they're back in fashion. And let's face it, it's Real Madrid. We've signed a Real Madrid player. Have that, Van Gaal.
In other recent developments, Max Clayton has flown out to Austria on pre-season tour, which might suggest a quicker recovery than we expected from his long term knee injury. I really like Clayton - he's got a lot to prove and a long way to go, but the ingredients are there for a top level player. If we can get him fit and firing, I can't wait to see what he can produce alongside Zach Clough.
Alex Baptiste has also gone to Middlesbrough for the paltry sum of £75,000, about the right price tag for a player of his lack of quality. Marc Iles put it perfectly on Twitter when he said we'd replaced a 29 year-old former Mansfield player with a 22 year-old Real Madrid player, and we've saved money in the process (although £75,000 is a drop in the seven seas when it comes to our debts of roughly £170 million).
Finally, the kit. At first, I was unimpressed, but seeing it worn on Saturday at Atherthon Colls, it looks pretty decent. Whispers about the away and third kits are also promising. The red polo shirts which the squad wore on their flight out to Austria look classy as well. So, if we are indeed struggling next season, at least we'll look good.
Here's to a 5-0 win to kick off pre-season (Pratley hat trick).