There have been quite a few occasions recently when I have had to accompany a report about the departure of a player with the sentence used by the newsreels when Neville Chamberlain stood down as prime minister, 'Thanks, Mr Chamberlain, for all you tried to do.'
Gray is certainly not without skill and maybe he will recover his eye for goal once he has returned to northern climes, but he was a disappointment at Charlton (although the fact that a Pardew signing went wrong is, in retrospect, no surprise). He did, of course, face serious personal problems.
Gray was a big earner, with an annual salary probably in excess of the undisclosed transfer fee which was likely to be not unadjacent to the originally reported figure of £600,000. It's a loss, but only in the sense that almost everything Pardew did was a loss. It gives Phil Parkinson some money to play with ahead of the takeover mirage becoming reality.
There is probably a shared view among the Addickted and Sparrows Lane that the top priority is a centre back to provide cover. We also need a striker. Burton's summer fitness campaign has worked a treat and he has been great at holding the ball up. But he needs a partner (although than former non-league players or headless chickens) so that we have the option of playing 4-4-2. 5-4-1 with Shelvey as attacking midfielder has worked fine so far, but as the season moves on we will want to vary our pattern of attack.
Enjoy the game! This phrase is under license from Curbishley-Varney Inc.