Ba, of course, rubs our noses in it every time he takes to the field in black and white. Now I will admit that I was dubious about signing him because of his broken knee, but since Pardew has got hold of him, the guy has been a revelation. I know "if onlys" are pathetic, but still, you can't watch the guy without thinking "if only". If only Grant had played him down the middle. if only we had survived by the skin of our teeth, if only Ba was wearing Claret and Blue now.
And then there is Zamora. Again I will be honest and admit that I thought Turds had done goodish business when he secured £4m for Zammo, laughing at the Championship Manager prediction that he would become an England player in his late twenties. Now the £4m Fulham paid seems like a steal. Just imagine a Zamora and Ba pairing up front! We would be top half in the table without question!
And now add Parker to the equation. Once again, I have to be honest of course as I was never Scotty's biggest fan at Upton Park. Buy why? Because, like Ba, he was used incorrectly. Even in a Spurs shirt he comes up short as a midfield general, but play him in the holding role with a creative partner in midfield, and he is the dogs bollocks.
We never had Modric, of course, but we did have Yossi and Etherington. Imagine for a moment these two providing the creative impetus with Parker anchoring the midfield and, whisper it quietly, Reo-Coker adding additional bite. Now the £8m we got for NRC was unquestionably great business, but not when £6m of it was blown on Kieron Dyer - never mind his wages! Don't fancy NRC, then how about using Collison or Noble in a proper midfield unit? Collison and Benayoun could switch positions, pulling markers all over the shop.
Which brings us to the defence...and Collins apart, we hit problems. I have called time and again for the full back positions to be prioritised but Zola, Grant and even Allardyce have treated the position with contempt. Curbishley signed Neill and walked out when we let McCartney go, and since his time, we have been exposed down both flanks. Neill slowed and was never replaced, and apart from Ilunga's season long trial, we haven't had a left back worthy of the name. Remember Lopez? Spector was hopeless. Bridge wasn't much better! Here's hoping young Potts can do a job!
So, as we move towards Christmas, does anybody really believe we would be in the Championship now had Turds stuck rather than twisted, and we had played last season with the following team?
Paintsil, Collins, Upson, McCartney
Benayoun, Collison, Parker, Etherington
Zamora, Cole (Ba in January)
Subs Tomkins, Noble, Reo-Coker, Stech, Spector (I know, I know!), Bowyer, Sears (replaced by Cole in January)