A deadline day without a real deadline is a farce
I am more convinced than ever that transfer deadline day exists purely to give Sky Sports News something to get excited about between fixture release day and the next live broadcast of a Leeds United match.
It’s not even a proper deadline. I sat dutifully at my desk last Thursday until the official deadline for transfers of 5pm (having seen the only Posh news of the day be broadcast before I even got to the office) waiting patiently while nothing happened.
Posh director of football Barry Fry picked his phone up at 4pm saying he was done for the day having ‘signed 16 players, sold 20 others and seen 207 potential deals fail to be completed’.
For a man with a bigger wheeler-dealer addiction than Del Boy Trotter, he seemed rather relaxed and no wonder.
At 5.01pm the loan transfer window opened and Football League clubs could sign players on a temporary basis and commit them to a permanent contract six months hence. So it wasn’t a real deadline then?
There were as many transfer deals completed the day after deadline day as there was on the day itself.
What a farce, one that should be scrapped forthwith. Either clubs should be made to complete their squads before the first day of the season or they should revert to the good old days of one transfer deadline on the third Thursday of March.
I once spent a memorable day in Fry’s company on a transfer deadline day when he was Posh manager. He took a call from one player who thought the monthly wage we had offered was actually a weekly figure (he still signed) and another from Ruel Fox’s agent laughing at the notion of a Spurs winger dropping down to the Third Division.
The clubs voted for these deadline day changes themselves. Posh didn’t because they have one of the more astute businessmen running their club, but they had to go with the majority.
Sadly, most just agreed with the wishes of the Premier League in the first place, but many of these top-flight clubs must be regretting bringing deadline day forward by three weeks.
It really was the most bonkers decision as they fell out of sync with Europe’s other elite competitions who kept August 31 as their deadline day.
Therefore Paul Pogba still has a couple of weeks in which to engineer his move to Barcelona, but Manchester United would not be able to sign a replacement, assuming anyone wanted to play for miserable Jose Mourinho that is.
Knowing that Thibaut Courtois was set on a move to Real Madrid, did Chelsea panic and pay a world record £72 million for a goalkeeper I’ve never heard of because they only had one day to avoid starting a new season with Robert Green in goal?
I suspect they did. I’m certain that Premier League clubs are in the main run by fools. With so many millions to spend on the world’s best players why did they place themselves at such an obvious disadvantage?