* Thank you - or, in Indonesian, Terima kasih, Bali United. This is a sentiment unlikely to be shared by Willo Flood, the midfielder who spent 9 days as a Dunfermline player this summer before having his contract cancelled to take up the offer of a lucrative move to Bali United. Unfortunately for Flood, neither his new club nor his agent had looked into the rules of the All-Indonesian Football Association which state that players from other countries must have played top-flight football at their previous club in order to be granted a work permit. Flood, who had previously been with Dundee United in the Championship, had even gone as far as taking part in an unintentionally hilarious promotional video for Bali United which can be seen here. Soon after, 3 days to be exact, his dream move was off and he was left in football limbo. Worryingly, when he set off to Bali, Dunfermline stated that they had first refusal on Flood should he return to the UK. That option was not taken up, with Dunfermline instead signing James Vincent in the period between Flood's departure and return to Scotland after the Bali move fell through.
This could be the most significant non-transfer in Allan Johnston's time at EEP: the manager has had an otherwise faultless summer transfer window, a massive improvement in recruitment compared to last summer, after losing what were seen as key players (Nicky Clark, Declan McManus, Callum Morris) but replacing them with what, on the evidence seen so far, are upgrades (Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Myles Hippolyte, Danny Devine, Mark Durnan). Jackson and Louis Longridge have also enhanced the squad and while the new signings have freshened up the squad, the re-signing of some of last season's best performers has been equally important, particularly in midfield. In January, a trio of midfielders - James Craigen, Tom Beadling and James Vincent - joined the Pars (Craigen on a 6 month deal, the other 2 on loan) and all contributed to the undefeated run in the final quarter that propelled the team into third position. Craigen was among the first players to extend his stay at the club at the end of the season but the 2 loanees (Tom Beadling and James Vincent) were another matter: Beadling would have been a target for clubs both sides of the border following the end of his Sunderland contract, while Vincent was still a Dundee player, despite his desire to return to EEP.
News of Beadling signing a 2 year deal was welcomed, a very positive move for the club. Reuniting all of the January trio seemed unlikely after Willo Flood joined the Pars on 18 June. After Flood's departure, Vincent became a Par again, signing a season-long loan deal on 3 July, covering the final year of his Dundee contract. It would not be a surprise to see him sign a permanent deal at Dunfermline next year, as he has fitted in well at the club and after missing most of pre-season with a slight injury, has now started the past 3 games in the Betfred Cup and the League opener at Tannadice. His display in the win over United saw him named by the SPFL in their Team of the Week. Once Beadling regains full fitness, we can look forward to seeing the trio of Craigen, Vincent and Beadling again, in a much stronger midfield than a year ago, competing with Joe Thomson, Aiden Connolly, Kallum Higginbotham and Louis Longridge for places, with some of those players also capable of playing wide or up front too.
Flood, meanwhile, is without a contract, currently training with Montrose. Although I saw some positives in Flood's signing, in retrospect the termination of his contract, which allowed for the return of Vincent, was a huge blessing in disguise. A 33 year old with suspect temperament, or a 28 year old who is popular with team mates and fans? There's only one winner there, and we seem to have come out of what was a farcical period with a much better player than the one we first signed.
As for Flood, his next destination could be Angus instead of Asia.