I’d like to start by thanking everyone who came along on Saturday for the Sunderland game. Those were horrible conditions to watch football in, with the rain and cold testing even the toughest fans. But you came along in numbers again and to have over 9,000 people here was excellent.
Unfortunately, the result did not go our way, although I thought the performance was good. I wonder if it is worse to lose to a first-minute goal or a last-minute one? On Saturday it felt like we were chasing the game all the way through, and I was convinced that we would at least score the equaliser. Sadly, it was not to be, but I thought that in those conditions it was a very entertaining game.
I was here for the game and let me tell you, landing at Heathrow in that storm was quite an experience! As usual, I talked to a lot of fans throughout the day. There were two questions that kept coming up, so let me try to address them.
During the transfer window we sold two players: Tariqe Fosu and Shandon Baptiste. Both of them are young players who are a credit to their families. I have known Tariqe since he was a boy so seeing him leave was difficult, but there was a clause in his contract that said that if a club met the valuation then he could leave. I know he took a long time thinking about it because he loved being here, but the chance to play in the Championship was a very big opportunity for him and so he moved on.
With Shandon we did not want to sell him, but Brentford made an offer and we owed him at least the chance to talk to them. When he said he would like to leave then we negotiated a good deal with add ons and future payment,. and he left with our good wishes for the future.
Did it show a lack of ambition? No. We had already brought in Marcus Browne, Nathan Holland, George Thorne and Liam Kelly, plus Rob Atkinson for the future, and knew that James Henry, Cameron Brannagan, Anthony Forde and Ben Woodburn would be back very soon. We always knew it was likely that Chris Cadden would move to America, but we bid half a million pounds to keep him: that is a lot of money for a full back. We also made a bid that would have made a player the highest paid in the club’s history, fully aware that it would then raise wages for other players in the future.
Neither bid was successful, but I would not say that is a lack of ambition. Money from the player sales will strengthen the team and the whole club and to answer the other question that people asked me on Saturday: no, the season is not over. Three of our next four games are at home where we have been very strong. We have players hitting form, others to come back, and there is still a very long way to go.
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc