Well, so far we have said hello to the Al-Hasawis, but more worryingly we have said goodbye to O’Driscoll, Cotterill, Chambers, Lynch and now Gunter. This leaves Brendan Moloney and rookies Keiran Freeman and Jamaal Lascelles as our only defenders (and no, Moose and Chrissy Cohen don’t count).
To Steve Cotterill, thank you for your efforts. You were not the manager many fans hoped for, but with your hands tied you still managed to bring in O’Driscoll, Higginbotham, Wootton, Elokobi and Guedioura, and get the best out of McCleary, Reid and Lynch, amongst others.
The bottom line is that Cotterill masterminded the greatest escape yet, and for that we should be eternally grateful.
For Joel Lynch, thank you and goodbye. You had a torrid first season, mainly covering the injured Julian Bennett at left-back, and many were surprised when you were handed a permanent deal. Your performances started to improve, and although you were never really given a run of games until this season, you kept getting better and better.
To Gunts, like your good pal Garath McCleary, we cannot really begrudge you a move to the Premier League. With only a year left on your deal, it is a good deal financially to make a profit on you, especially as right-back is the only position in the back four that we have cover for.
More worrying is the fact that we don’t have a back four; conspiracy theorists will also say it is worrying that Mick McCarthy turned us down as he allegedly wanted total control, just a few days after the Al-Hasawis said that they wanted a traditional structure in which the manager would run all football matters.
We’ve had the goodbyes, now let’s hope for some hellos. It is not the Al-Hasawis’ fault that we have lost so many players, nor that a strong managerial candidate has turned the opportunity down. If ever there was a baptism of fire…