Chief sports writer Alan Swann on the world of, erm, sport: What is the point of Watford FC?
That’s not a cheap jibe at a club who tend to muddle along minding their own business, but a genuine question aimed at those currently running Vicarage Road. Maybe I’ll ask it when I’m there with Posh on Saturday.
Watford have 14 players on loan at the moment and 10 of them belong to Udinese, a Serie A club who also happen to be owned by the Pozzo family who took control at Vicarage Road in the summer.
Of course the Pozzos can do what they like as long as they break no rules.
It’s not for the likes of me to question their motives, but I’d hate it if Posh became a finishing school for bigger clubs.
They may even have done football a favour by drawing attention to loan transfers in football, a system that has irritated me greatly for years and has now even started to irritate FIFA who are to impose stricter controls on the temporary transfer market from 2014.
Happily the absurdity of the so-called ‘emergency loan’ is to be scrapped and not before time.
Apparently an average of 400 players move this way between clubs every season across Europe.
That’s an awful lot of emergencies, but then an emergency in football is the realisation that squads presumably built with care, attention and in line with sensible budgetry restraints in the summer, turn out to be crap in reality. Yes Ipswich Town I’m talking about you.
Surely one of the arts of good football management is to assemble a squad that you believe can deliver success and stick with it no matter what.
If you get injuries than play the younger members of the squad, especially if they’ve been handed professional contracts as that suggests you think they can cope with professional football.
I’ve heard all the arguments for younger players from the biggest clubs getting some valuable first-team experience in lower divisions.
Indeed my friends at Northampton introduced a talented teenager from Manchester City just last weekend thus immediately blocking the path of one of Cobblers’ own youngsters from getting a game.
Too often it’s a case of who you know not what you know.
Why should Bolton Wanderers benefit from the loan of Arsenal and Chelsea reserves like they have in the past with Jack Wilshere (right) and Daniel Sturridge when their relegation rivals weren’t offered the same privilege?
Why on earth are loans between clubs in the same division allowed anyway?
Why should clubs influence who goes up or down in the same division by deciding who to lend players to?
Clubs should declare 30-man squads at the start of a season and stick with them for 10 months.
Clubs might even be able to save money by putting Directors of Football on part-time contracts and they’d spend less on agents.
As for Watford the first casualty of their revolution was the manager who took them to their best finish for five years.
Sean Dyche, a former Watford player and coach as well as manager, has left the club, no doubt with a heavy heart.
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