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MIKE McKINLEY: Longest day made Bridge triumph seem a long way off

PUBLISHED: 15:50 03 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:21 07 September 2010

The encouraging signs of a battling recovery at Stamford Bridge seemed an awful long way away as I sat past midnight and the closing of the transfer window. The longest day of the footballing year was certainly one of the most surreal, intriguing and ulti

The encouraging signs of a battling recovery at Stamford Bridge seemed an awful long way away as I sat past midnight and the closing of the transfer window.

The longest day of the footballing year was certainly one of the most surreal, intriguing and ultimately disappointing that I can recall. With the blood pressure rising at the images of Dimitar Berbatov making his way into Old Trafford, watching the minutes tick away and the creeping realisation that there were going to be no rabbits pulled from hats was a crushing blow.

From feeling that we had belatedly kicked off our season, it felt instead like we'd written it off. Of course with Pavlyuchenko, Corluka and the borrowed Campbell to add to Sunday's side we are in theory stronger.

But amid expectations of top class replacements for Robbie Keane and Berbatov, especially having known for so long that the latter wanted out, the good work earlier in the summer seems to have been undone.

A small squad looks paper thin for the European games (both the late buys are cup tied) and once again we exit the window with some glaring omissions from an unbalanced squad. It really shouldn't be so hard to get it right. Making a profit in the transfer market over the summer is admirable, but also galling in this economic climate when we saw ticket prices increased on the basis resources were needed to compete for players.

At least Juande Ramos now knows what he's working with, and hopefully without the Berbatov soap opera we can concentrate on making the team gel and build on the performance at Chelsea.

Hopefully, we can start climbing the tables and the new boys can help us forget what we once had.

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