Let me get the facts out of the way before I take you down the proverbial rabbit hole with me.
Ross County F.C. announced today that they have signed striker Brian Graham to a two year deal (financial terms not disclosed). The 27 year old Graham, a native of Glasgow, spent most of this season on loan at St. Johnstone from Dundee United F.C.*, scoring 10 goals in 27 senior appearances. Not bad, and given the success that he had scoring at Raith Rovers F.C. before joining Dundee United it is easy to see him as a 12-15 goal scorer for County if he’s paired with (Boyce?) and supported by (Gardyne? Curran? De Vita?) the right players. The signing of the rangy forward also seems to suggest that Jake Jervis’ days at Victoria Park are numbered. Now for my theory…
During the reign of the Adamses son Derek played the “poor mouth” role as though he were born to it. Always commenting on the club’s limited resources, the difficulties in getting players to move from the Central Belt to the Highlands (or to prevent them from returning to the Central Belt), but also never failing to mention how much the club (meaning, no doubt, himself) had been able to accomplish despite these factors. It has dawned on me recently that perhaps the inability- for lack of a better word- to pay players more or to sign them to longer contracts originated not with chairman Roy McGregor, but with the Adames themselves. In short, George and Derek determined the minimum they needed to spend in order to remain in the Premiership and presented these “numbers” to McGregor, who, ever the savvy businessman was likely happy to know that Premiership survival could be bought so cheaply. Which brings us to the question of why the Adamses would do this?
Simply put, to keep expectations of the club low- and manageable- and thus set themselves up for bigger, better, jobs in the future. They were willing to build and trade upon a reputation for turning sow’s ears into silk purses in Dingwall rather than taking the risk of raising expectations- which they might not then be able to meet- by signing better players for more money and more years. Or, put another way, where were the De Vitas, Currans, Reckords, Irvines, Quinns, and Frasers when the Adams’s were in charge? Instead there were the likes of Atli Gregersen, Stephan Wohlfarth, Jim Fenlon, Tim Dreesen, and the famous/infamous “Dutch Masters.”
Unfortunately for the Adamses, Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds have exposed their strategy as a fraud, or at the very least, engaged in a great deal of straight talk with McGregor and convinced him that for only a slightly larger (both in terms of money and time) investment in players, County can very easily be a mid-table team in the Premiership. Based on what has happened so far the 2015-2016 Ross County roster will be the first one since joining the Premiership that will have carried over the bulk of its players from the previous season and as a result, expectations will be raised and McIntyre and Dodds will be charged with fulfilling them, rather than just “scraping by.”
*Speaking of conspiracy theories, what the devil is going on at Tannadice?! Is it just me or over the past year have they sold (Ryan Guald, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven) or are trying to sell (Nadir Çiftçi) any player that might bring in some significant cash and have not re-signed any player who might command decent money and more than a one year contract (Michael Gardyne, Brian Graham)? It seems to me that there must be some serious money problems at the club and I’m going to go out on a limb right here and tip them to be part of the 2015-2016 Scottish Premiership relegation battle.