Tommy Elphick - The Right Man at the Right Time

Tommy Elphick may not have been the top name on mine or your ‘summer transfer lists’ at the beginning of the summer. But he was one of the names on Jan Siewert and Josh Morris’ collective list, and ultimately that matters much more than mine or yours.

To evoke memories of a ‘legendary’ former manager, we Town fans have grown accustomed to Champagne football at Champagne prices. Okay, not quite Champagne football or Champagne prices.

But we have been shopping at the footballing equivalent of Sainsburys. Ambling around the aisles until we stumbled across the French wines section. Instead of spending £10-£15 on a Bordeaux, Loire or Burgundy wine we’ve looked to the lesser known regions for value.

We took a punt on a couple of wines from Saint-Chinian, not a particularly famous region but one that offers good value. Wines that may not be up to top quality drinking today, but with a few years of maturation could just come into their own.

We even strayed out of France in our search for top quality wine/players (this metaphor is starting to wear thin...) Our Directors of Football pushed the trolley a little further down the aisle and said, “Hey, what about Danish wine? Belgian wine, or even some of that funky Egyptian stuff?”

We’ve persevered with this approach for some time, but still our ‘bargain’ regional wines haven’t matured. In a blind tasting they fell way short of the more expensive, more illustrious wines.

So last weekend we decided to skip Sainsburys and head to Aldi where we picked up a nice bottle of Scotch. The bottle may be dusty and it might be a lot cheaper to what we were used to drinking before but we certainly won’t have to wait until it’s matured, it’s ready for drinking now.

It’s stronger, it packs a punch and it’s a real drink, none of this pretentious stuff that we’ve grown fond of in recent times. It’s just what we need right now, and it suits us down to the bloody ground.

Okay, I’ve stretched the wine and whisky analogy as far as it can possibly go. If I carry on like this it won’t be long before I’m comparing Andy Booth to a pint of bitter and no-one wants me to go that far.

What I was trying to convey with my convoluted metaphor is that Tommy Elphick is a bloody good signing for Town. Just what we need for the months ahead. The former Villa man may be 31 but that’s a good thing, he has tonnes of experience which is something this squad of ours is sorely lacking.

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Elphick is a real leader, someone that has galvanised a dressing room at his previous clubs, led the way on the pitch and set the marker for those around him. Our squads lack of cohesion, drive and determination was brutally exposed in the last few months of the Premier League campaign.

Since then we have had players coming out openly in the press and expressing a desire to leave the club. Publicly criticising the manager and demonstrating a complete and utter lack of professionalism, (we’re talking about you here Phil).

Tommy Elphick’s best days may be behind him as a player, but he is more than capable of competing in the Championship. The value that he will bring to the team though goes way beyond performances on the pitch.

Elphick can replace the void left by Mark Hudson, Dean Whitehead and Michael Hefele. He can be a leader on the pitch, the player that acts as the managers general out there, rallying the troops and keeping chins pointing skywards.

He is the perfect first signing for this summer and will surely help the other new arrivals bed in and make a good start to their Town careers - two new signings look likely to be announced this week, both young and ambitious.

Town are going in the right direction. The club are moving back to a position where they can create an identity and a collectivism, rather than the individualism that rotted away at the squad in late spring.

We’re getting excited, and you should be too!

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