Date:Friday June 27 2008
The two 'big money' signings at Crewe have given Alex fans a much needed lift. The unexpected £130,000 arrival of Joel Grant from Aldershot on Wednesday lifted the mood instantly after nearly two months of pure doom and gloom.
Grant doesn't come with glowing references from all angles, merely looked upon as a player with potential, but then it wasn't the signing of Grant himself that cheered fans up - more of the sign that it seems there is a lot more going on at Reaseheath Training Ground than we are led to believe. We've seen a huge list of players linked to Crewe this close-season yet Grant's name was never mentioned.
Hopefully Grant will give us something to cheer about. He seems like a winger in the Rodney Jack mould only with height - standing at 6ft. From Alderhot's perspective he sounds raw and maybe with a little concentration problem. He has played most of his professional career to date - at 20 years old - in the Conference with Aldershot in the last 12-18 months but he still comes with some Football League pedigree having started his career out at Watford's academy, and he managed 10 games for Watford's first team.
Grant will hopefully follow in the foot steps of the likes of Danny Woodards in making the step 'back' up into the Football League.
Grant's signing was followed swiftly by Calvin Zola, a saga that has dragged on for much of the summer. It's not to the fault of the club however, the deal seemed wrapped up within a few days of agreeing a £200,000 fee with Tranmere but for a work permit application to drag out the finalisation of the deal.
The work permit was granted today and whilst Zola's signature still isn't on the contract it is a deal certain to be completed by the start of next week.
Again, Zola isn't a player who had fans grabbing his ankles as he left Prenton Park but then neither will he turn out to be disastrous signing. He's made over 100 appearances at League One level so knows the league well - certainly better than any of our other strikers. He's impressed me when I've seen him play and I admit to being surprised at the lack of rave reviews from Tranmere fans, but then it's always the quiet ones who impress the opposition.
His goal ratio of 5 in 22 games last season continues to be drag up but is not necessarily important to the role Steve Holland will want him to play. He'll come in to be a foil for Nicky Maynard, using his 6ft 4in frame to create the perfect partnership with Nicky. He will without doubt be a better option than Tom Pope, and the Pope-Maynard partnership wasn't too shoddy last season was it?
Hopefully there are still players to arrive. Steve Collis, the former Southend keeper, has expressed his interest in joining the club but is still yet to sign a deal, so let's hope that comes to something next week. There's also Livingston winger Robert Snodgrass who seems to be keeping a whole host of clubs waiting for a decision from him whilst the media report us as being favourites to sign him.
Then, maybe like with Grant, Holland will have something up his sleeve for the next week or so before pre-season training gets under way - starting with a trip to Bulgaria.
Date:Friday June 27 2008
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Striker disappointed to miss out (Thursday December 5 2013)
Duo show improvement (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Spirit returns after 'greatest' win (Tuesday December 3 2013)
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Davis shocked at decision (Tuesday December 3 2013)
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