As banks run begging to the Government for funds, and with the possibility of some football clubs going bust soon, who benefits from the January window ?
There have been further murmurings of discontent from some high profile UK football managers regarding the January Transfer Window. Messrs Southgate, Allardyce & Bruce have recently made comments similar to those of Steve Coppell and Gary Megson last season, criticising the added pressure it puts managers and players under.
The transfer windows were introduced by FIFA in 2002, but EU employment law meant that UEFA had to negotiate how they could be operated in our part of the world. 2 windows were introduced – to cater for the winter shutdowns in Nordic countries and to have a longer period where movements of players could take place. Many would argue that the main driver behind the concept was to maximise the amount of money flowing through the game, with agents able to market their players ahead of anticipated stampedes by clubs to freshen their squads.
However the effect of the January window on clubs outwith the wealthy few seems to have more negatives than positives.
Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb said this – ‘My view is that the January transfer window is not in the best interests of football, a belief that I know is shared by manager Gareth Southgate. We would both prefer that is wasn’t part of the game.The window unsettles otherwise happy players, puts undue pressure on chairmen, managers and chief executives and raises unrealistic expectancy among supporters. As far as I can see, the only beneficiaries are the media, who spend hour after hour, day after day writing and talking about pure speculation that rarely amounts to anything, and agents, who see January as an opportunity to move their clients and make their money.’
Wigan manager Steve Bruce said – ‘The transfer window just benefits the big clubs because they can pay more and come and try to prey on clubs like us. The last thing I want to be doing is dismantling the squad so we have just to say ‘no, they are not for sale no matter what you offer’. We are halfway through the Premier League season and even though we are riding high (in seventh) if you lose your big players your dressing room loses that edge. The longer it (the transfer window) goes, especially towards the end, you have to be strong and say no and the players have to understand that if it comes to the end and you can’t get a replacement they have to stay here.
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce said – ‘I’ve said on many occasions this is one of the most destructive times of the season. I keep telling the authorities that we should get rid of it, but they don’t listen to me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s unproductive, creates mayhem, inflation and unrest. I think they should seriously think about the position managers are left to try and deal with. In particular, there’s the upset and unrest it causes football clubs and players. The system is flawed.’
At Hearts, it is quite possible that Messrs Berra, Driver, Kingston and Aguiar are not fully focused on doing their best for the club just now, when they are reading or hearing media stories of big clubs allegedly preparing bids for them – and we can only imagine what their agents are telling them.
Personally, I think the market for football players should either be operated completely unhindered (with no windows at all), or else should be restricted to a single window within the official `close season` of the buying club. There may be logistical and legal reasons why a single window would not work – so the only feasible alternative might be to scrap the concept altogether and go back to the way things used to be.
Of course, changing transfer rules that apply in the UK would have to be done at UEFA or FIFA level – but since the economic recession is global, there is bound to be ‘fallout’ as players are offered reduced wages by most clubs in the coming year.
Either way, it`s likely that the “suits”, lawyers and agents in the modern football industry will continue to be the winners.
Your thoughts, please?.