St.Mirren fan Dave McFarlane joins Scotzine’s ranks of fan bloggers to discuss the goings on at his club. In his first piece for the site, he looks at a disappointing SPL campaign for the Buddies and asks where do they go from here?
Despite Danny Lennon leading the club to their first major cup in 26 years, after that glorious 3-2 win over Hearts in the League Cup Final back in March, St.Mirren fans are looking back on the league campaign as a shambles with a dreary 11th position finish.
A lot of fans and pundits predicted the Saints would finally make the breakthrough into the promised land, the top six split at the business end of the season. The team never lived up to the hype and our league position sadly proves the fact.
I predicted two things at the start of the season; a League Cup victory and a struggle in the league. I was correct on both counts. A lot of St.Mirren fans are calling for Danny Lennon’s head after the end of the season run-in, where we won only one game after the League Cup victory, and while I don’t agree with these calls, I think Danny needs to arrest the slide and quickly. At this stage, it only looks like getting worse for St.Mirren.
Players seem to be leaving the club in droves. Graham Carey has been released after rumours of a falling out with Lennon, a decision I’ll never see the logic behind. Dougie Imrie and Lewis Guy are also expected to leave Paisley after clashing with the management at the club, while Lee Mair has apparently been told to find a new club next season, along with Grant Adam. Craig Samson will return to Kilmarnock while Paul McGinn has refused a new deal. Sam Parkin and Sander Puri will leave as they won’t be offered new deals. Loan stars Conor Newton, Paul Dummett and Isma Gonclaves will sadly return to their parent clubs.
St.Mirren are expected to sell Kenny McLean if a lucrative offer comes in for the Scotland under-21 starlet, and I’ve been told by a close source he’s on his way to Ipswich. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen! Paul McGowan is expected to make his way down south as well.
That’s 12 players expected to leave the club. Parkin, Imrie and Puri won’t be missed, while Adam and Paul McGinn haven’t really had a chance. I’m disappointed to see the rest of those players leave the club, although we were never realistically going to keep our loan players permanently and I don’t begrudge McLean and McGowan trying their luck in England.
While the rest of the SPL sides are also releasing players, they’re also signing players, or at least being linked with a number of names. St.Mirren have been linked with very little. The only players I’ve seen as credible rumours so far have been Kyle Letheren, Kilmarnock’s unimpressive backup goalkeeper, and Michael Tidser of Morton, who has looked very impressive in the First Division this season, but you have to wonder if he can make the step up should he move to the Buddies.
We’ve also been too reliant on Gary Teale and Steven Thompson, we need to start planning for the future without our talismen, particularly Thompson. Both players are having glorious Indian summers at the tail end of their careers, but looked shattered towards the end of the season.
While the Thommohawk scored 13 league goals, he scored only one in the league since January and has been benched in recent weeks, and while Gary Teale had a great season in the black and white stripes, you have to wonder if he’ll do the same next season. Will Thompson score 13 goals again for that matter? Both men are 34, and their legs will start to go sooner rather than later.
A lot of change is happening at the club right now. I don’t like change for change’s sake, and right now that is what it looks like from the outside looking in. The club is keeping quiet about all of the transfer rumours, and the fans aren’t hearing any positive whispers about money coming in, or players signing (or re-signing). Next season is looking like a very long one already and things don’t look like they’ll change that point of view any time soon.
Now don’t get me wrong, maybe I’m worrying about nothing. Maybe we’ll sign 11 top quality SPL players over the summer and make the breakthrough into the top six. Maybe McGowan and McLean will stay, and we’ll keep our Geordie lads on loan. Maybe Teale and Thompson will keep defying Father Time. Maybe St.Mirren will make new heroes like the League Cup winning players next season. Maybe everything will be fine.
Maybe in six weeks’ time, I’ll look back at this and laugh at my pessimism – hopefully.