|Why The Window Should Be Left Wide Open|
written by prickettboy3 Friday, 1st Feb 2013 12:50
Intriguing, exciting, funny, frustrating, exhausting, anti-climactic. These are just a few of the emotions I experience on transfer deadline day. I love it, but would it be better to return to the situation of old where player trading can take place all season long?
January 31st and August 31st are two dates I and most other fans up and down the country look forward to more than most others in the calendar. Some mates of mine have even taken to booking the day off work so they can sit and enjoy the energetic ramblings of Jim White and the delightfully gorgeous Natalie Sawyer all day long. There is little doubt that these two dates provide some of the most exciting times of the season, but at what cost?
Taking the George Boyd saga as a prime example, you’d have to question whether the transfer window is at all beneficial for players. Here’s a player who has the option of joining two or three clubs and having made his decision travels miles from his home to undergo a medical.
Twelve hours later he is told the deal is off. With no time to plead his case or resurrect a deal elsewhere he is simply cast out and expected to return to a club who were prepared to sell him.
Let’s be honest, if that happened to any of us going for a job elsewhere you’d just be left feeling very dejected and deflated and wouldn’t really want to carry out your tasks at work to the best of your ability, but as a professional footballer he’s now expected to perform on Saturday for a club he’d rather not be at (no disrespect to Peterborough) having had his dream move shattered.
The Boyd transfer was well documented, not least because Darragh MacAnthony is very vocal on Twitter but the same would have happened to a number of players in the past few weeks without the same level of media attention.
It is unquestionably an unsettling time for all players, whether performing well or not. I look at our January and can’t help feel it’s not coincidental that our form has dipped at a time when the futures of players are being discussed at length.
As well as unsettling the players individually, the transfer window unsettles teams as a whole. This month we’ve seen Aaron McLean, David McGoldrick, Frank Nouble, Richard Stearman and Anthony Wordsworth join us. Stephen Henderson left and then came back, Bradley Orr and DJ Campbell returned to their parent clubs, Jason Scotland and Nathan Ellington were released and a few fringe players have been loaned out.
To summarise, that’s five players in, all of whom are new to the club, two first team members who have left, one first team member who left and came back and a few others who have left and won’t be returning.
This is a crazy amount of comings and goings at a time of the season deemed to be the most critical with matches coming thick and fast. How can the players be expected to focus fully on the job in hand of picking up points when each game they’re involved in they turn around and there’s a different face to pass to and off the pitch there’s continuous speculation about their future and whether their current employer does or doesn’t want them?
There is also the financial implication of squashing all transfer dealings into one month. In general players are only available in January if they are overpriced or useless, but the most concerning thing to me is the ludicrous rule allowing clubs to sell their best assets for millions of pounds only to have them back on loan for the remainder of the season.
Birmingham yesterday sold Jack Butland to Stoke in order to balance their books and avoid entering administration. If a club is in such dire need of money is it fair that they can sell off all their best players but be unaffected? Not in my opinion.
Years ago there was a rule in place that prevented this very thing from happening. I’m reliably informed that this rule was abolished a couple of years ago. This is another example of the ‘big’ clubs influencing the FA to change rules to suit them.
If you don’t think a player is good enough for your first team yet (eg Wilfried Zaha at Man Utd or Butland at Stoke) then don’t buy him yet, buy him in the summer (or next summer). This ridiculous rule has meant that Birmingham have been able to expose a loophole in the system.
They’ve overspent in the past but have avoided administration and a subsequent 10-point deduction and probable relegation by essentially receiving a £4,000,000 loan from Stoke. This I fear will encourage equally reckless behaviour from other clubs. They will spend beyond their means in an attempt to buy their way out of the league and if it fails they will sell off their best young players knowing they can strike a deal to have them back on loan. Where’s the risk?
Meanwhile clubs like us who are trying to adhere to Financial Fair Play will struggle to compete and one of Peterborough, Barnsley, Bristol City, Ipswich, Wolves or Sheffield Wednesday may end up being relegated because Birmingham got away with it.
Would Crystal Palace have sold Zaha if there was a risk or likelihood he would be loaned back to a promotion rival? I doubt it, but they’ve now pocketed £15,000,000 which they’ve used to strengthen elsewhere in their team AND they still have Zaha. This issue might sound like it’s unrelated to whether or not there should be a transfer window but it’s very relevant in analysing the behaviour of clubs and chairmen during this period.
As much fun and excitement that the transfer window provides, I think it would be better for all concerned if the opportunity to buy and sell players all season returned. Perhaps then the pressure on managers would ease so we’d see a lot less hiring and firing, and players would be able to perform without a dark cloud looming above their head for four weeks.
Let’s hope that now the deadline has passed we can get back to winning ways and as it’s unlikely any changes will be made to the current transfer window set-up then I’ll look forward to August 31st.
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