Monday, 20 June 2011

Kaid comes in

LAST Friday, we were put on tenterhooks with the news that on Monday we could expect a new signing, so as usual the old rumour mill went into overdrive.
Lots of names were mentioned - on Twitter and Facebook alone, I saw the plausible, Calvin Zola, Rene Howe, Steve Kabba, Robin Shroot, Shaun Jeffers and the utterly ridiculous Ade Akinbiyi and Lee Trundle all linked with us.
But the name which came to my attention over the weekend was none of those, and as was confirmed this afternoon, Kaid Mohamed has signed a two-year contract.
When Kaid's name was first mentioned to me, the initial feelings were of disappointment and slight concern.
Disappointment that we were signing another forward with little or no Football League experience, and concern that the statement it sends out to fans is that we cannot compete financially for those players who have that proven quality.
Positive comments on Twitter and Facebook since the signing have pointed to Wes Thomas and Justin Richards' lack of League games and goals when they were signed, and how they then scored 19 and 15 goals respectively.
True - but now once again we are pinning our hopes on someone coming good after moving up to a level they have not played at before, trusting very much to luck.
Thomas and Richards had both played more League games - Kaid has played 11 in his career with only three starts, all during his spell with Swindon - so once again we must hope he is a late developer.
I saw him play a few times for Forest Green and he didn't pull up any trees then - plenty of pace, yes, but not a great goalscoring record, although to be fair he has done well since going to Bath.
He got 13 goals for them last season as Bath did superbly on their return to the Blue Square Premier - but did leave Twerton under a slight cloud.
The story suggests that he refused to sit on the bench against Grimsby, which led to his move to AFC Wimbledon, and we certainly don't want to see any of that, thank you very much, having over the past two seasons got rid of our big-time Charlies.
Hopefully Yates spoke to Archie Howells and Adie Britton about him to check that story out.
But he added five more goals with the Dons, four in the two play-off semi-final games with Fleetwood, in which he scored a hat-trick.
So 18 goals last season is not to be sneezed at, but the perennial question is can he re-produce that at the higher level?
Mark Yates seems to think so, and having seen Thomas and Richards leave after one season has given Kaid the comfort blanket of two years to prove himself.
It also depends where Yates sees him fitting into the squad. Was he the 'number one target' Yates spoke about the other day in the Echo?
Does Yates see him as the Wes replacement, being first choice alongside Jeff Goulding, or is he looked upon as the third striker out of four, ahead of Ethan Moore?
The arrival of that fourth striker will tell us - if it is proven League performer, he will be number three, if not he is our new Wes - or maybe that other striker Yates wants will be more viewed as competition for Goulding, ie more of a target man than a poacher.
One thing he does have is pace. Plenty of it. That is something he have really lacked and will undoubtedly be an asset next season - if the service is right, and with Marlon Pack and the intelligent Jeff Goulding, it should be.
But what message does another non-League gamble send out to the fans, who were hoping for a Jack Midson-type signing up front this summer?
The arrival of Russ Penn from Burton shows that we can attract players from other League Two clubs, and we have also seen Marlon Pack - who surely attracted interest from higher-level clubs, pick Cheltenham, so that could be said to refute that argument - although strikers always cost more money.
Midson was a target as the player has admitted himself - in his blog he said:

The truth is that I have spoken to Mark Yates at Cheltenham a few times and was trying to go to Cheltenham on loan towards the end of last season. After that, as far as I’d known, no official contract offer was sent my way. That remained the case until the day I got back from holiday and the day before I’d agreed to sign for AFC Wimbledon, when an offer did come in from Cheltenham. It was a flattering offer and I had a nice chat with Mark Yates who is very genuine, but I decided to stick to my word and sign for AFC Wimbledon as agreed.

So clearly we made a last-minute attempt to hijack AFC's deal with Midson, so that suggests that the money is there for a proven signing to follow Kaid in - and we are looking to have four strikers.
It is a shame that we didn't make Midson an offer earlier in the summer before his verbal agreement with AFC - now ironically his arrival there seems to have pushed Kaid out.
Hopefully that is our gain, he can be a success for us and put my nagging doubts to rest.
If he gets the 15 goals he spoke about in his website interview I will happily eat my words!