Thursday, August 08, 2019

Deadline Day

So, transfer deadline day has come and gone again.  Far too early, in my opinion.  It never ceases to amaze me how the FA likes to disadvantage English clubs with its insistence that the end of the summer transfer window should coincide with the start of the Premiership season.  It forces them into an unholy rush to complete deals, with selling clubs on the continent knowing that they can rack up the prices as, if English clubs don't buy by early August, they can still sell to other European clubs whose transfer windows typically remain open into September.  It also means that English clubs remain under threat from predatory approaches for their players by European clubs even after our own transfer window closes.  Conceivably, a player could be unsettled this way and the club forced to sell even when they won't be able to bring in a replacement until the January window opens.  Another disadvantage for English clubs is that they can do nothing to rectify weaknesses exposed in theearly games of the season until January.  But hey, the FA thinks it a good idea because, as I recall, the press told them it was, purporting to represent the entirely uninformed opinions of the public, sports journalist after sports pundit after retired manager declared in print that closing the window early would somehow improve the game.  The FA seems prone to basing its policy on press campaigns of this kind - they appointed Sam Allardyce England manager on the basis of such a press 'consensus' that he was the popular choice.  That worked out well, didn't it?

Still, I remember the good old days, before transfer windows, when players could be signed at any time, whether the season was in full swing or not. It's how long-term injuries to key players was dealt with: poach a replacement from your rivals.  Which, obviously, had the added benefit of weakening them.  Poor runs of form were dealt with the same way - just bring in a load of new players.  Back then, there weren't all the rules restricting approaches to players - managers could and would 'tap up' players at other clubs, or their agents, without the knowledge of the player's club.  It was all part of the game.  That said, it meant that we didn't have the excitement of deadline day, as you waited on tenterhooks to see if your club managed to get any late deals over the line.  But even that has been diluted by this pathetic five o'clock deadline in early August.  Today was decidedly unexciting, not even Daniel Levy could inject much tension with his usual late deals for Spurs, (OK, the Dybala deal didn't come off but, frankly, I never expected it to, but Sessegnon and Lo Celso were pretty much givens).  Bring back those midnight deadlines.  Bring back those surprise deals announced after it has passed - like when Levy unexpectedly signed Van der Vaart.  They were great - they also used to full during my holidays back when the deadline was in September, so I could sit up half the night following developments.  Come to think of it, isn't the beginning of August too soon to be starting the season, anyway?  I'm pretty sure that 'when I was a lad', it didn't start until September, (I'm probably wrong, but that's the nature of memories).  So there you go FA, if you want to make English football better, scrap the transfer window altogether and don't start the season until September - it's no dafter than any of the other ideas you've been talked into by the press.



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