AS a seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day modern journalist with a hotline to the chattiest director of football in the sport, I really shouldn’t condemn the January transfer window.
But what a season-disrupting, agent-enriching, panic-buying, desperate-selling, rumour-mongering, wantaway-player-sulking, fee-inflating, manager-upsetting month it is.
It’s a month designed to please Sky Sports and their ubiquitous sources, plus the layabout fans who hang around training grounds in the hope of appearing on TV behind a freezing cold reporter who usually has absolutely nothing to report.
I’d hate to be a manager at this time of the year, especially one like Grant McCann who is at a club sitting on two huge assets who could be whisked away at any minute without any time to bring in an adequate replacement.
I had no problem at all with Posh selling Conor Washington to QPR for £2.5 million a few Januarys ago (he was never worth that much), but I do have a problem with the obvious fact it derailed the season. Posh were in a similar position then to the one they find themselves in now.
It’s the dilemma chairmen of lower division clubs with modest support and big debts often find themselves in, but it’s the manager who will carry the can if things go pear-shaped on the pitch.
But just how does a club who gambled £450k on a player in the summer, turn down an offer of £4 million just six months later? It makes less economic sense than the last Labour Party manifesto.
I guess the memory of trying to replace the bang-in-form Washington with duffers like Shaquile Coulthirst and Adil Nabi might make one hesitate, but it can’t be right that clubs who recruited well in the summer now face having their star players poached by clubs who didn’t prepare quite so well for a new campaign.
The sooner they make clubs stick with a squad built in the summer for the whole season, the sooner we find out which clubs are run the best, which managers can actually manage and which coaches can actually coach.
Throwing cash around at average footballers touted by cash-hungry agents is a good way to hide incompetence.
Management in January is also about keeping targeted players happy. Posh stars Marcus Maddison and Jack Marriott are holding their form well and have shown nothing publicy to suggest they will do a ‘Lee Tomlin’, but it’s still a risk to deny them a move to a bigger club on a higher salary.
Gillingham held onto Bradley Dack two seasons ago when they could have sold him for £1.5 million to Bristol City. His form, and the team’s form, faltered. His value dipped, he was sold for half his price tag from two years ago and now he’s back to his best at Blackburn. Gillingham must be thrilled.
The whole transfer window concept is a farce. It should be scrapped along with fourth officials and financial fairplay.