The January transfer window is open, and keeping up is a bit of a pain, so rather than trying to write a new post with every rumour, I’ll keep updating this post with bits and pieces.
1 February: Jonte angle
NO WONDER IT’S SO BLOODY COLD, SOMEONE’S LEFT THE WINDOW OPEN!
The rules around transfer windows are complex, and while Mick Brown might have problems operating a fax machine, he has had no problem finding an obscure sub-clause called ‘Oh screw it, it’s only Oxford’. This has allowed us to make our fifth signing of the window, outside the window. Bermudan Jonte Smith has joined in what the club called ‘a low-risk’ signing from Lewes. This is either code for ‘proven goalscorer at this level’ or ‘really very cheap’. Which could it be?
Anyway, he seems very happy to have joined, so we’re happy to have him.
31 January: The Vaughan identity?
This is the denouement of a month exhilarating rumour mongering, the thrilling climax of the January transfer window. That is, if drilling your eye-sockets brings you to a thrilling climax. OK, let’s go:
When James Vaughan was called by his agent this morning and was told ‘you’re going down’, he assumed, like us, he was signing for Oxford. It turns out he was going down to the south coast, missing the junction off the A34 with the big brown football sign on it and heading straight to Portsmouth.
Still, after rumours lasting, ooh, nearly seven minutes, it was confirmed that Jerome Sinclair has signed on loan from Watford. “That’s not Antoine Greizmann” said Oxford fans experiencing expectation hyper-inflation your average Venezuelan greengrocer would describe as a bit toppy.
The Ivo Pekalski saga is rapidly becoming Oxford United’s Brexit; KRob is demanding things he has no power to enforce or that Pekalski has any incentive to accept. KRob’s unicorn solution was to tell the Swede to GET ANOTHER CLUB by the 8th January or face ‘lots of running’. 22 solid days on from a red line so passable, it might have been defecated by UKIPs racist-in-chief Gerard Batten, Pekalski is sitting tight asking for money to leave, KRob’s response is to not give it him so he’s going to, um, pay him his salary until the end of the season instead. That’ll show him.
The prospect of KRob’s ‘wow’ signing grew considerably smaller as the transfer window’s witching hour crept unrelentingly closer. We were linked with Bermudan international Jonte Smith from *adjusts glasses and reads at arms length like your mum trying to focus on a Chinese takeaway menu* Lewes. Lewes are currently in the *turns page, turns page, turns page, turns page, scans down* Isthmian League, which for those of you who don’t know is in 1974. Now, before you start scoffing, Smith was a big money signing for Lewes. He was paid for using funds raised through the club’s PayPal account. Seriously.
Then, like a fat kid on a school cross-coutnry run, we gave up on Smith. Where did the rumour come from? We’re not sure, but we reckon Tiger’s involved, so we’re investigating the Bermuda Thai-angle (h/t Keith Harris on Twitter for the inspiration).
Then just as we were microwaving our Ovaltine, suffering man-buns, Batman! Ricky ‘Retirement’ Holmes becomes Ricky ‘Mobile’ Holmes. After posting one of those insufferable Twitter statements about how sorry he was to be leaving Oxford due to his crippling injuries, Ricky Holmes has taken his carefully sculptured beard and gippy back to Gillingham on loan.
And that’s it. No wait. Rather like going to a U2 concert only for them to do an encore of ill-considered homophobic country classics, we close with a story of blank bemusement. Jonathan Mitchell, who left at the start of the month, has gone to Shrewsbury. It’s been that kind of window, I guess.
30 January: He’s not the Messiah…
It was fantasy transfer window signing day on Tuesday when Danny Hylton was suddenly floated by one website and a million ambulance chasing Twitter accounts claiming to have the ‘inside gossip on everything EFL’.
I know I’m not the only one who would willfully entrap Hylton in my basement, spend several hours rutting up against his bare thigh before flaying him from head to foot and smothering his entrails all over my naked torso, but calls for his return feel like a crowd appeasing populist move which can only end badly. But then, I’m still scarred by the Nigel Jemson’s second – eighteen games, no goals – spell with the club.
So, if Hylton isn’t the saviour; what about James Vaughan was also briefly floated as a possible signing from Wigan?
Meanwhile, up in the cold wastelands, ex-loanee, mini-goal grabber Conor McAleny, who ignored our advances to choose Fleetwood Town in 2017, has been slung over to Kilmarnock in the SPL to while away the remaining months of the season.
In, Oh, I Forgot About Him news; Newcastle striker Elias Sorensen signed for Blackpool last week having briefly been courted by KRob.
January 28: Barrel scraping news
You know when you’re expecting a phone call and the phone doesn’t ring; so you pick it up to test if it’s working? Well, that was last week’s frenzied transfer news, a week that was so devoid of anything, we thought the something terrible had happened, like David Kemp delivering Brexit, or something.
Everyone’s second favourite Martinez; Damian/Emiliano, whose record of conceding 3 goals for every Oxford United game he played in is only bettered by the doyenne of butterfingers goalkeeping; Mike Salmon, has gone to injection moulded plastics Reading on loan from Arsenal.
Nicky Wroe; briefly of this parish and purveyor of an absolute zinger away to Wycombe in 2014, has signed for Boston United from Bradford Park Avenue for a fee of four Wagon Wheels and an Etch-a-Sketch.
And finally, Callum O’Dowda, at one point this month a target for Leeds, which got him a contract extension, is being linked to a ‘host’ of Premier League clubs according to a new article in the Bristol Post. The Post don’t go as far as naming any of them, of course. We’re pretty certain that the source of this rumour isn’t O’Dowda’s agent agitating for a panic-buy move to the big leagues, because that’s the sort of thing they’ve never done before.
January 19: Holmes under the hammer
The only bit of transfer news coming out of Saturday’s game against Portsmouth was that Ricky Holmes, the only player whose fitness is measured in minutes, is going back to Sheffield United. While dumping the man-bun maverick, Robinson also left the door open for him to come back at some point in the season. ‘Even though we’re not lovers anymore, I’m sure we can still be friends.’ said Robinson, who was always hopeless at dumping his girlfriends.
As a little bonus, who doesn’t love a bit of Toni Martinez news? He’s gone on loan to Lugo after West Ham recalled from Rayo Majadahonda. We are led to believe these are both football clubs in Spain.
January 18: Norman’s conquest
Football fans are well known for their calm objectivity. The announcement that Cameron Norman had signed for Walsall was met with predictable circumspection. I think we can all agree that there has been an absolute barrage of calls for Norman to be returned to the team to arrest our alarming decline. Not on Twitter, it seems, Norman before the announcement there hadn’t been a single mention of Norman by any Oxford fan since the turn of the year.
January 17: Bought for Kashi
You know when your mum texts you asking for your bank details so she can transfer your birthday money? And you know how the amount drops every year because she’s forgotten that you’re not nine anymore, that everything is more expensive than she thinks it is and that she’s forgotten how much she gave you last year?
And you know, that despite all this as soon as you get the text you start a process in your brain where the amount jumps by multiples of five with every passing minute until you convince yourself that for reasons that defy logic, she’s about to transfer at least £10,000 into your account.
And you know the feeling when you see the £25 in your bank serving no purpose but to make you fractionally less poor than you were just a few minutes previously? And that you make plans to buy a new pair of trainers knowing you’ll use it for Findus Crispy Pancakes, a four-pack of lager then put the rest towards the £45 you need for your mum’s birthday present next month?
You know that feeling?
Well, Oxford United’s much anticipated quest for a proven goalscorer ready to propel the club out of the relegation zone and on a collision course with an unlikely tilt at the play-offs took a thrilling turn with the signing of Troyes defensive midfielder Ahmed Kashi on loan.
In alumni news; when you’ve captained a Manchester United team and watched the players in your charge become international stars and when your achievements are eclipsed by someone with the same name as you, you know you’ll eventually find yourself at Swindon Town. The man they call ‘The Sexy Simon Clist’, Danny Rose, has rocked up at the County Ground following his release from Portsmouth.
January 15: Robin Raglan
With all the tax avoiding and cock dangling going down this week, Charlie Raglan skipped over the fence end at the Kassam and headed down the A40 to Cheltenham. There, he’ll spend his time battling to keep the Robins in the great noiseless vortex of nothingness they’ve have always existed in until the end of the season. What with the ongoing daily tasks of finding internet connectivity and clean water, it’s a pretty exciting challenge.
Leeds (or, to use their full name Why is it Always Leeds?) are apparently interested in taking Callum O’Dowda from Bristol City because they’re struggling to get a deal for Swansea’s Daniel James over the line. Always nice to know you’re second choice.
We live in hope that there’s a sell-on clause in the O’Dowda deal which took him to Bristol in 2016, or more specifically, HMRC live in hope there’s a sell-on clause.
Meanwhile, we’ve made an enquiry about Elias Sorensen, a free scoring Under 23 from Sports Direct’s Newcastle United. Karl Robinson only went in for a pair of British Knights high-tops and a pair of Lonsdale tracksuit trousers.
January 14: One, two, three, four…
Toni Martinez, Toonii Martinez, Toni Martinezzzz Toni Martinezzzzz
What. A. Tune.
We’re not sure what’s happening to the fondly remembered loanee and hero of That Minute at Middlesborough, but we do have news of namesake Emiliano Martinez.
Who? You might justifiably say. Well, according to the Oxford United dementia sufferers’ best friend, Rage Online, Emiliano (or Damian, as he was known back then) spent 90 minutes on loan at the end of the 2012 season when he conceded three at Port Vale.
The man who puts the ‘eh?’ in L-eh?-gend is being considered for a loan move from Arsenal to Leeds.
January 11: Marginal news
The sword of Damocles hangs over Ivo Pekalski. Last week KRob donned a black hood, stripped to the waste and slathered grease over his curvaceous moobs threatening the Swede with ‘lots of running’ if he didn’t find a new club by Tuesday.
Well, it’s run time baby! No deal has been forthcoming although this website revealed he’s been training with Swedish League 1 side Lund.
Meanwhile, Charlie Raglan, who has been stuck in a box labelled ‘Never did much wrong – ignore anyway’ for the best part of two years is set to leave to make way for an unknown defensive midfielder.
January 11: Deal done!
In What The Actual Fudge? news, it turns out we’ve paid a handsome 5-figure sum for a player. Nice one KRob and Ti-Grrr!
So, is it a proven League One striker?
Which team does he play for?
Um. Oxford United.
Wait, WHAT? Is it one of those ‘triggering a clause in his contract because of appearances things’? How many games has he played for us?
Riiight, we’ve paid five figures for our own player who hasn’t played any games?
OK, FIFA – that’s F.I.To The Flippin’.A. have judged that we should pay a compensation fee to Peterhead for the development of Fiacre Kelleher who we signed not from Peterhead, of course, but from Celtic. No, I don’t know either.
Kelleher is most famous at Oxford for being the player whose publicity photo became an analogy of the club’s silence over rumours that Michael Appleton was leaving in 2017. Since then he’s played for Solihull Moors and is currently on loan, along with every other Oxford player you’d forgotten about, at Macclesfield
7 January: Sam Surridge on the radar
Karl Robinson loves nothing more on Sundays than roasting a lump of meat and 10 vegetables; not unlike his Saturdays. He sacrificed it all this weekend to watch Cottagers exposing themselves in front of disbelieving onlookers in West London. Kinky.
‘Karl, what were you doing at Fulham?’ asked a hack with a line of questioning so crafty it could have spent the afternoon fashioning a full-sized Jamie Mackie out of macramé.
Robinson sees Surridge as an obvious replacement for Sam Smith, just with more goals. And shots. And touches of the ball. More importantly, he can use Smith’s monographed training kit; it’s not like it ever got dirty.
4 January: Ivo given the heave-ho
Karl Robinson has given Ivo Pekalski until 8 January to find a new club. He’s had a nightmare since Pep Clotet signed him. You might argue that as he spent Christmas in Sweden rather than in a futile fight for first team football given half the chance he would happily to leave by Tuesday, if not before. Robbo’s punishment for not achieving what everyone wants is for Ivo to listen to Charlie Pride’s Crystal Chandeliers on a loop while receiving Chinese burns from Faz. No, sorry, misread that, the consequence for the professional athlete trying to regain his fitness is ‘lots of running’. Talk about bringing a sponge to a knife fight.
Little Armani Little and more-than-little Harvey Bradbury have gone back to Woking on loan. Malachi Napa, Karl Robinson’s ‘future of the club’, has returned from his loan spell with Macclesfield. Major news for those of us who didn’t know he was on loan at Macclesfield.
Oh, and Jake Wright, currently out injured at Sheffield United, isn’t going to Scunthorpe because he’s currently out injured at Sheffield United.
4 January: Carroll to Swindon
Canice Carroll, who joined Brentford in the summer, has gone on loan to plucky defeat monkeys Swindon Town. Carroll’s key role at Oxford was as a substitute providing good luck fist bumps to players at half-time. Swindon, looking to solidify their relegation credentials, could do with a bit of that.
3 January: McMahon to Scunthorpe
Tony McMahon has gone to Scunthorpe on loan. The Iron are making a decent fist of avoiding relegation also signing Adam Hammill – our nemesis in the JPT Final in 2016. While the McMahon move comes as no surprise, prepare yourself for a tsunami of criticism if they also confirm the signing of Jake Wright in the next few days.
1 January: Mitchell goes home
Our subs’ bench has been replaced with a trestle table table as the yard sale of the squad continues. Jonathan Mitchell, who came in as emergency cover for Simon Eastwood in August is going back to Frank ‘Lamps’ Lampard at Derby. Meanwhile, Jack Payne must have been a cat burglar in a previous life – he sees an open window and moves. The ex-Oxford assist-sausage is currently on loan at Bradford from Huddersfield, but is being linked with yet another move, this time to Luton or Peterborough.
1 January: Mark Sykes signs from Glenavon
Glenavon in the Irish Premier League have announced that we’ve signed their midfielder Mark Sykes who has played with Gavin Whyte in the Irish Under 21s. It seems he was heading for Port Vale, but, reassuringly we managed to outbid them. All this is subject to a medical and personal terms, whatever that actually means.
1 January: Jake Wright on the move?
More promotion squad alumni news; Jake ‘Jakey Wright, Wright, Wright’ Wright, captain of our promotion winning team in 2016 and more importantly voted Best Player of the First Ten Years of Oxblogger, has been linked with a move to Scunthorpe or Doncaster or Fleetwood, or maybe Barnsley. Which clears that up.
31 December: Kemar Roofe to Newcastle?
Not really related, but according to The Mirror Kemar Roofe has been targeted by Newcastle United. Whether Roofe will want to go from Leeds, who are top of the Championship and heading for promotion, to Newcastle, who are towards the bottom of the Premier League and maybe heading the other way, will depend on money, no doubt. I can’t find any references to sell-on fees we might be due, so it’s probably best to assume we’re not due a windfall.
29 December: Smith and McMahon to leave
A surprise to nobody is that Sam Smith is going back to Reading. Karl Robinson’s prize signing of the summer hasn’t really worked out, scoring a handful of goals in the Trophy that shall not be named, but little else. Tony McMahon, who has weighed in with a few assists here and there is heading back up north for personal reasons.
26 December: Jordan Graham on loan from Wolves
He’s been training with us for weeks, so nobody was shocked by Tiger’s ‘Christmas present’ announcing the signing of Jordan Graham on loan from Wolves. Graham had a brief spell with us in our promotion season, showing himself to be a classic Michael Appleton player. Since then, however, he’s managed just seven appearances in nearly four years due to injury. He could be the signing of the season or we may need to move Ricky Holmes on to make space in the physio’s room.