Stubbs Gearing Up For New Season
St Mirren are making plenty of moves in the transfer market as they prepare for their first season back in the top flight. The buddies romped to the Championship title in imperious fashion last season and they should be surging with confidence ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. There is, however, a massive step up in terms of quality when you join the Premiership and the club know they need to bolster their ranks in the transfer market. So far they have made some interesting moves and fans can perhaps begin to feel optimistic heading into the new season.
Alan Stubbs clearly has pulling power and he has been able to attract some promising players to St Mirren Park. Jeff King, a 22-year-old winger from Bolton, summed up the mood after joining the club: “I’m buzzing to get it over the line. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I had other options on the table, but St Mirren being a big club enticed me and Alan Stubbs being in charge.”
That is exactly the sort of thing fans want to hear.
King became Stubbs’ third signing since he took over as manager, after recruiting defender Josh Heaton from Darlington and striker Cody Cooke from Truro City. “He was one of the first ones we had enquired about," Stubbs said. “It’s another one on board and I’m really happy with it. I’m looking forward to working with him. We’re going to be busy and the players are under no illusions that there is going to be competition for places.”
The scouser has since added left back Hayden Coulson who has joined on a season long loan from Middlesboro.
Stubbs new signings have been joined by other new boys Jim Kellerman from Aldershot Town and Paul McGinn from Partick Thistle, both signed by Jack Ross before he departed, whilst a whole host of players have gone out the door.
Gavin Reilly, Stelios Demitrou, Harry Davis will be big losses as will the return to their parent clubs of loan signings Lewis Morgan (Celtic), Liam Smith (Hearts).
Stubbs has been bold and decisive all summer with 14 players in total heading for the exits and the promise of more to come.
He will pit his wits against some big name managers next season, including Celtic's Brendan Rodgers, Hibernian’s Neil Lennon, Ranger’s Steven Gerrard at Rangers, Kilmarnock’s Steve and Hearts’ Craig Levein.
“It’s brilliant: Scottish football is talked about more than what it has been for a number of years now. The profile has certainly been taken up to another level. Brendan was the start of it obviously, then Steve Clarke, Neil Lennon, Craig Levein. With Steven going to Rangers, it can only be good. It can only help ultimately from a financial point of view. You’ll find there's going to be a lot more people looking to support in terms of sponsorship, TV deals. The satellite broadcast deal comes up for renewal soon. It’s only going to raise the profile and hopefully raise the contract that’s on the table when it comes to negotiating another one.”
That suggests that St Mirren have re-joined the top flight at the perfect time and it is refreshing to have a young, ambitious manager at the helm.
However, the bookmakers have offered a strong reality check heading into the new season. Check out Bookmaker Sports and find the best odds on the market, and you will see that St Mirren are 4500/1 outsiders to win the Premiership next season. That is the joint longest set of odds on the market, along with Hamilton and Livingston, and it suggests that the team could be in for a tough relegation battle throughout the season.
Regardless though, optimism abounds in Paisley following the new arrivals, and with plenty more to come that confidence should grow, so St Mirren could surprise a few people next season and challenge at the top half of the table.