I'd like to begin by wishing Pape Souare a speedy recovery after his car accident last Sunday in what looked to be a very scary crash.
Pape will be out for some time but we are ensuring that he gets the best possible treatment to firstly help him return to full health, and then eventually get back playing for us. He has been a terrific player since he arrived 18 months ago, and I’m sure he has been touched by all your messages of support over the past week.
As well as the world-class surgeons in both maxillary facial and orthopedics, I would also like to once again pass on my thanks and gratitude to the London Air Ambulance crew who got Pape to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. They are a charitable organisation funded by public donations, and so to show our thanks we have made a donation, and I would urge all our fans to contribute something as well, if possible, towards this invaluable service.
The day before receiving that sad news, it was great to see us clinch our first victory of the Premier League season with a fine display at Middlesbrough. It was a proper Premier League clash, full of end-to-end football and a thrill a minute, but it was a relief to see us finish in front.
Since my last notes, we have been hard at work tying up our final dealings in the transfer market until January. It’s a shame that a thigh injury has delayed Loic Remy’s start to his time in south London after we completed a season-long loan move for him from Chelsea, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he can produce with all our attacking firepower available to him.
We saw a number of younger players move out on loan which will only stand them in good stead as they gain vital experience in the Football League, and as you have seen already from Keshi Anderson scoring for Bolton Wanderers, it will hopefully benefit our first-team in the years to come.
We saw two new debutants at the Riverside Stadium too, and I would like to formally welcome Jonathan Benteke and Mathieu Flamini to the club. Jonathan is a good young player who will give us some options in attack, and we deliberately left a space in our 25-man Premier League squad as we had hoped to sign Mathieu after the window closed. To get a player of his experience and ability on a free transfer was a no-brainer, and it concluded a busy few months for us behind the scenes.
I am delighted with the business we have done in the window. The squad needed freshening up a little, but we were determined to only bring in players who would ultimately strengthen the starting line-up each time we take to the field, and we have definitely done that.
It will be fascinating to see how our style of play develops in the coming months, and watch new partnerships form all over the pitch. If the Middlesbrough game was anything to go by, then it will be a lot of fun.