Dagenham and Redbridge 0 Oxford United 1
Kemar Roofe had a busy week, first he was subject to some speculative transfer rumours related to interest from Newcastle, then he steps up to score a top class free kick to take the points at Dagenham. But, those rumours, how credible are they? Let's think about why Newcastle would want Roofe, and why they wouldn't.
Roofe is clearly an outstanding player, perhaps the outstanding player in League 2. He has solid coaching and conditioning from his time at West Brom and in Michael Appleton, he’s got, probably, the best lower league manager to maintain that development trajectory. If there is a Premier League player in League 2, then Kemar Roofe is probably that person.
Maybe Newcastle aren’t even thinking about their Premier League plans for next year; they could be preparing a Plan B of playing in the Championship. Roofe could be a cost-effective option for next year’s Championship squad. Should they might survive, with a new TV contract kicking in, Roofe wouldn’t be too much of a burden whether he succeeds or fails.
It could be that the Premier League teams are waking up to the idea of talent in the lower leagues; certainly the Jamie Vardy market must be buoyant. Who knows? Roofe could be the next Vardy, and that has to be worth a punt, even if, statistically speaking, it's unlikely.
From Roofe’s perspective, almost any Premier League contract will be attractive, he won’t want to be in League 2 for long and become labelled as a lower league player. At the moment he’s still, potentially, the one that slipped through the net. Even if Roofe doesn’t make it, one Premier League contract should allow him to furrow a solid Championship level career.
On the other hand, while Roofe is quick, so is everyone else in the Premier League. He's skilful, like every other player in the top flight. In a Premier League context, is he that special? And is Newcastle’s problem really Kemar Roofe shaped?
Their problems seem deeper than taking a chance on a League 2 player who didn’t make it at West Brom.
If they are going to go into the transfer market in January, and it is to help ensure Premier League survival, I suspect they’ll go deep and low risk. They need players who will turn them round and Roofe is not that kind of player; at least not on his own and not at that level. Expect to see ageing former internationals, solid Premier League pros and the odd European MLS player fancying some time back in the spotlight. In addition, if the current security concerns continue, there could be a surplus of players trying to get away from France and Belgium.
So, on balance, I’m not convinced by the Newcastle rumour, I suspect they’re running to rule over hundreds of players all over Europe. However, I do think that Roofe will be subject to quite a few rumours between now the close of the transfer window. But, ultimately, it's a question of fit. The time to worry is when an ambitious Championship club - think anyone in the current top 7 or 8 - or a solid Premier League team with a few holes - Bournemouth, Watford, even West Brom, coming knocking.
As a lapsed Ipswich Town fan I love Terry Butcher. As a lapsed England fan, I look at THAT photo of him against Sweden with blood pouring down his face with nostalgic pride. He was, however, a terrible football manager.
About a month ago Newport looked like the most hapless goons in the division. I was looking forward to a orgy of goals from our fixture on Tuesday. However, Butcher was booted out at the beginning of October and his replacement, John Sheridan, has come in and started to turn things around. They're five unbeaten and in the second round of the Cup. They do score a few, but with three 2-2 draws in their last seven, they concede a few.
None-the-less, we should be confident of taking the points here. Our form is great, but a glance at the bottom of the table reads like our recent fixture list. Banking points now is important preparation for tougher times ahead.