In an idle ten minutes before we hit the promenade in Blackpool today, I took advantage of my wife and daughter's decision to change clothes and had a quick look online.
I came across a couple of things and the first was a piece by Mark Eklid that was published a fortnight ago in the Derby Telegraph that I had somehow missed at the time. In it, he expresses his disappoinment that rumours suggested we were considering a Kolpak signing to strengthen the side for next summer.
I disagree with Mark on this one, for a couple of reasons. One is that it will be incredibly difficult to source overseas players for the T20 next summer, if not impossible. With the competition set to take place on Friday nights throughout the summer, how many players will commit to playing on one evening a week for 10-12 weeks? How many clubs could afford to pay them to stay around for that length of time, even if they wanted to? Conversely, how many clubs could afford to have players coming in and out of the country and how successful would that be, even if they did?
For me, IF there was a good enough Kolpak who was prepared to play for us throughout the summer and we could afford him, we should go for it. Such a move would still leave us within the parameters of the 9 domestic and two non-qualified players that we committed to play in the blueprint, but we should only do it if a player of appropriate talent could be identified.
If we could sign someone of established credentials who was markedly better than we have on the staff it would get my vote, but not just any old South African or West Indian, whose countries would realistically be the source of such a player, as those countries have the requisite trade links.
So, for example, I'd be up for our signing Jacques Rudolph (but doubt we could afford him) but not Richard Levi or Henry Davids who are not that much better than we have. If we are sacrificing a place for an overseas, it has to be, to paraphrase the advert on TV, because he's worth it.
Turning it on its head, if Shivnarine Chanderpaul retired from the international game and signed on as a Kolpak to allow another overseas to come in, it would also get the Peakfan thumbs up, but we all know how tough it is to pick up good overseas players, especially when IPL involvement means that some can't play till the end of May, by which time a season can be shaped.
I've no doubt that Chris Grant and Karl Krikken will sit down and discuss the retained list and potential signings in the near future and that an opening batsman will be one of the targets for the close season. Our finances will dictate how much more we can do in building the team, or if we simply have to go with youngsters and accept that the progress will need to be slower and supporters more patient.
You may not like it, but we cannot sign people when there is no money to do so, though I'm confident that the team at the helm at the County Ground will do all in their power to improve things after a challenging season. Then again, we have all been guilty of impatience and unreal expectations this summer, though many of us - myself included - will expect us to be one of the challengers in division two next year. Work will be required to get us to that stage and what happens between September and April will largely determine the realism of such thoughts.
Finally tonight, I noticed more than a little stirring going on at the Forum, with people complaining about what appeared to be pretty much everything, from supposed lack of transparency to individual members of the club management.
Yes, it would be nice to know all that went on with the Ross Whiteley departure, or why Tony Palladino hasn't featured in T20 and Jon Clare to a limited extent. But like it or not, Karl Krikken is in charge of team affairs and will be until it is decided otherwise. That being the case, he can pick who he wants when he wants and doesn't have to explain every decision. It would be nice to know, but there may well be issues that are private and as such are no one's business, such as happens in any organisation.
Confidentiality clauses quite likely came into play with Whiteley's move and the team selections, however we may discuss them from a distance, are chosen by a man who is on the spot and knows what is going on in people's lives and physio appointments.
We don't and as such, while we are entitled as supporters to question, we have no right to an answer if this is not appropriate.
So let's all remember that and at the same time be thankful for the quality of personnel that we have in charge at our club at present. Plenty of people at other clubs would love to have such interaction with their senior hierarchy, yet still some aren't satisfied. Some things can be answered and will be if that's the case; others simply can't, for whatever reason
Good night from Blackpool. A sunny day is due tomorrow and the old legs might just get an airing if that happens.
You have been warned...