I got into bed. I was thinking. Thinking of what could happen. But thinking of what could happen wouldn’t help. It’s what will happen that matters.

The next day I was ready to go. Alan had sent me a list of reports about our players, and I was checking it out. Mark, Steve, Claudio, they all had big contracts. We weren’t exactly going to get much money in the Championship. I had to let them go, or reduce their contracts. There was also the problem with strikers. Not enough quality up front. Oba was decent. Xisco was promising. Mark was inconsistent. The rest of them were not exactly Premier League standard. Alan sent me something else. A shortlist of replacements. Brilliant.

Dmitry Sychev. He was everything I wanted. Young, agile, with international experience. I called. I waited. I enquired. I waited again. I made myself public. Sychev was on my target list.

Another young player. Joe Mattock. Left Back, 18 years old, playing for Leicester. Rang Leicester. They said they would consider it. Made it public again.

And there was another left back. Already on my team, promising, but wouldn’t get time with Joe there. QPR came calling. 3.4 M.

Jose wanted to talk to them. I said yes.

Changes are definitely coming to the North-east.


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