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Why The Window Should Be Left Wide Open
Written by prickettboy3 on 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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Daleyitfc added 21:39 - Feb 1

bluesym added 07:22 - Feb 2
Another excellent blogSsome very good points made there,especially the purchasing and loaning straight back of players.That is simply ridiculous.

mattraisin added 02:04 - Feb 3
Buying and loaning is entirely fair. In fact many suggested we should do that with Wickham as he needed to be playing to develop. By buying the player they ensure their price doesn't rocket and that they definitely have their man. Then loaning him back means the player gets to carry on developing in an environment that has been very good for them but with the added bonus of having influence over his development. I think the loan back deals are perfect for promising youngsters and think it would have done wonders for Wickham who may have been knocking on England's door if he was actually given a chance to play football. I can't forgive O'neil for possibly stunting the growth and maybe ruining the prospects of such a skilled payer.

mattraisin added 02:07 - Feb 3
Oh and Palace would have sold him without the loan back to's 15 flipping million pounds. They can't say no. Luckily for them Man U see sense in letting the player flourish in a team that is playing very well.

DurhamTownFan added 10:27 - Feb 3
Pricketboy, your blogs are always of a high quality. In this case, I feel you could have gone on and written even more!

Agree with the above post by mattraisin, but also the concern stressed in the blog. As the bloger said, if a guy isn;t good enough for you now, why buy him? Look at some of the youngsters who never get a chance after being gobbled up by a bigget team: Wickham is one example, but also loads of potential England keepers like Ben Foster and Man United or Scott Carson when he was at Liverpool. Credit to Butland for turning down the move to Chelsea: would have earned big for two years then had to rebuild his career again after next to no games. I think it is better for the player to keep playing and work your way up: if you're really that good, someone will still come in for you later.

I also think the window is rubbish. QPR might well stay up, but their debts to Frenandez will be crippling, and their squad will be fit to burst full of mercenaries. Then look at Villa: playing rubbish, no money, no reall attraction, and they could go down just because the others around them tried to break the bank.

Tricky stuff! What does it mean for ITFC? Little, really, given the prominence of loans and free transfers after the window. The squad now is good enough for survival. Expect a major overhaul in the summer (again!) Short-termism seems to rule these days, and with that, the window stays.

JimmyJazz added 18:23 - Feb 3
Totally agree about Natalie Sawyer. Didn't bother reading the rest

prickettboy3 added 08:23 - Feb 4
Thanks all for your comments. With regards to the loan system, of course it is important for the young talent in the country to be loaned out, this is necessary not only for their own development but to improve the quality that filters down through each division. My argument is against loaning a player back to the club from which he was purchased. Breaking this down to a very simplistic level, doing this essentally means that a 'bigger' and certainly richer club is providing financial backing for several months. If you read BREAKING NEWS: MAN UTD LEND CRYSTAL PALACE £15M, would you think "oh that's jolly nice of them" or would you question the integrity of that deal? That is what has/is taking place in football at the moment. Richer clubs are providing short-term (6 month)monetary loans.
If we start allowing this then clubs like us and certainly smaller ones will eventually lose their identity altogether as we'll just become subsidiaries of the richer clubs. I don't want to support 'Ipswich Town, a part of the Manchester Group of Clubs'. I want to suuport Ipswich Town Football Club - a club, company and franchise in their own right.

Thanks all again for reading.

prickettboy3 added 08:25 - Feb 4
Sorry, forgot to mention that there's also the question over the 25 man squad rule. Why don't Man Utd/Stoke now have to declare their new signings? Technically Zaha/Butland are playing professional football whilst being contracted to these clubs and yet they go under the radar. Perhaps a different argument again but food for thought.

Edmunds5 added 16:01 - Feb 4
Great blog, enjoyed the read and feel similar about your opinion on the January market

I agree about buying a player and loaning him back out to that club, it does seem strange that a club can make so much by selling a player who has signed a contract at another club but then can still play them every week in their team. Slightly off topic, but for young players in general the transfer window makes or breaks them, some players end up much better players and are able to perform on a bigger stage and then internationally. But for others such as Wickham, Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell even Andy Carroll who could have stayed at Newcastle. They have suffered from big moves and have had to sit on a bench when they could still be playing week in week out and impressing national coaches. But Man City or whoever the club is wont care, because they just want the club to win trophies and aren't really bothered for their careers, of course there's the issue of bigger money for players too. But it just shows the downfall of moves like Zaha and how it can hinder such good prospects, so fair play to Butland who will probably benefit short and long term at Stoke as I feel Begovic will leave in August. He could have accepted the offer from Chelsea and playing second fiddle to Cech and picked up a much bigger wage, I wish more players had this kind of attitude instead of jumping ship so soon just for money.

Michael11 added 15:12 - Feb 7
Couldn't agree more about the Zaha bit, they've basically had £15m to strengthen their team for a promotion push and haven't even lost the player involved! Curious to know what would happen if Zaha broke his leg so badly he could never play again? Who would be responsible?

Campag_Velocet added 12:35 - Feb 8
"Sorry, forgot to mention that there's also the question over the 25 man squad rule. Why don't Man Utd/Stoke now have to declare their new signings? "

Two reasons - 1) being that they are under 21 - the 25 man squad rule only affects players over that age, and 2) You only have to name players in the 25 man squad if you want to play them. If they're over 21, and not listed, they can't play in the League.
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