It's hardly unexpected, but it's a been quiet week at the U's this week. The official site has been scratching around for stories managing little better than something about Billy Beechers going to the World Cup with his mates (thankfully the Oxford Mail didn't copy the story and claim it as their own this time). Apart from that it's all commercial stuff. Interesting that the fans are prepared to tolerate Nick Merry's evident marketing panache over Firoz Kassam's more monotone bluster. Merry's message hardly differs from that of Kassam; both are bludgeoning the fans about how important it is to show commitment by buying season tickets. If anything Merry is more commercially minded than his predecessor; promoting the great advertising opportunities on the U's website and those horrible plastic wristbands which were popular a couple of years ago. Coupled with the fact Merry dresses like an American car salesman, is ambiguously affluent (as opposed to Kassam's more obvious wealth) and, to date, has a poor on-the-pitch record it is curious how the fans have taken to him.
Of course, two key factors are Jim Smith and the fact he's not Firoz Kassam, but the feel good factor he's instilling has to be applauded. Given that there's been little substance to his takeover so far, it just goes to show the power a good brand can give you.
Like a slumbering beast, the transfer market twitched briefly; the (not so) super Johnny Ashton has signed for Rushden, Tim Sills may not be going to Exeter as a result of a change in manager at the Grecians and the purchase of Adam Stansfield from Hereford. Sills may not be welcomed back with open arms if the rumour about Steve Guinan signing is anything to go by. This would be quite a coup should he come, Guinan is only 30 and played 33 times for the promotion winning Robins last season. He would like to stay in League football, but money, and contract duration does talk in the lower leagues.