Thomas Pickles reflects on the imminent expected signing of Ashley Barnes.
“Fancy writing something for the site?” they said.
To be honest, no. Not really.
And that’s a compliment to our season because lately, there’s been nothing I’ve wanted to write about. No desperate measures. No knee-jerk reactions. No agonising anti-climaxes. Not even a post-Christmas slump, as is so traditional with Burnley Football Club. Not really. We’ve been ticking along nicely. I wouldn’t say it’s been mundane. More calmly consistent and beautifully balanced.
At times like these, many great artists, writers and composers through time have had muses to stir them from a creative slumber. Behind many great works are the mysterious mistresses upon which they were inspired.
And although I’m none of the above and although this is by no means a great work, this article has a muse of its own.
You can shove your Yoko Ono and your Rose DeWitt Bukater. It’s Ashley Barnes who’s given me something to write about.
I could’ve perhaps written an article about our need for reinforcements this month but news of Barnes’ signing gratefully preempts that, saving me the dank duty of delving back through our recent history of capitulating come January.
The transfer of Barnes isn’t yet confirmed and I’m wary to write anything based on hypothesis but this news is exciting on many levels.
The addition of a striker fills a gaping hole in the Clarets squad and moreover, this signing isn’t temporary. It’s not a loan. It’s not a gamble from the lower-leagues.
These two factors accumulate to create a third factor – the most intriguing factor.
This signing is more than just a transfer. It’s a symbol.
When was the last time Burnley Football Club signed the top scorer of a rival team? I can’t remember. I’m not sure it’s in my lifetime.
We signed Jason Shackell from Derby County two seasons ago. As County’s captain, that was an impressive looking signing. The imminent arrival of Barnes puts that deal in the shade though. We’re signing Barnes from Brighton and Hove Albion, who sit a whisker away from the play-offs, with very realistic aspirations of promotion.
I’d estimate that their finances are better than ours too, so you’d think they don’t need to sell. So to increase our offer at least three times in order to twist their arm is impressive.
Heck, it’s almost imaginary. I can’t remember Burnley having such clout with transfers.
I’m trying not to put this deal on a pedestal. A large part of me suspects that it’ll yet all fall through. Despite that though, I can’t help but be seduced by the news.
January is a topsy-turvy month, often associated by Burnley fans with the departure of our top scorer.
That still might happen this month.
But for the moment, let’s focus on the fact that it looks as though we’ve added to the squad. At a time where it could’ve been suggested that we were beginning to wane, Barnes’ arrival will provide fresh impetus. It will concurrently ease the workload of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes and pressure them to continue their scintillating goal scoring.
The signing of Ashley Barnes is more than that though. It affects more than just tactics. It’s a metaphor. A metaphor for commitment, belief and increasing ambitions. It’s a message to the rest of the league but more importantly though, it’s a message to ourselves.
Are you as enthused as Thomas about Barnes’ imminent expected signing? Comment below.