A View From The Drain: Just Another Stunt - Part One
For this is some of the so-called highlights.
A day of sports "journalists" outside gated training camps, with rent a mob extras speculating more, than as to what the nature of the moisture was on the forehead, of a local rival manager's brow - as he appeared on the telly box.
A week of lower league managers putting in more hours than is surely lawful, under EU working directives, instead of being allowed to sleep normally and do the job they are meant to, planning for their next game.
A week of pundits exclaiming how wonderful £1.2bn has been spent, when we have child poverty levels as they are. Surely this cannot be good for the sport and the future of the sport?
I find myself scratching my head in irritation and figuring out why we have two windows? The answer I come up with may not actually be correct, but I think it may have something to do with the media. Yes, there may be the argument about Champions League registrations, but that only affects a minute number of clubs. For me it has no relevance for the lower leagues, so why do we still have it?
I look across to the quite disgusting auctions for T20 cricket franchises, and my cynicism thinks that football saw this and, in the words of Richard Burton, viewed this abhorrent practice with "envious eyes, and slowly and surely they drew their plans against us."
Indulge me for one moment, but I don't consider it beneficial for the game in general, when certain players are auctioned off to the highest bidder, as such in the Indian Premier League. Not only does it put the player under undue pressure to perform, but what message does it send out to the rest of their team, most of whom are often the real stars and paid nowhere near the amount that the "superstar" is.
Why drone on about the IPL? Well, I am so concerned about this franchise is having on cricket, that I am seriously concerned that football may end up going to this cattle like auction, with the clubs baying at one another, whilst they try and get a prize asset. One area to blame here is the area of the game covered by agents. A couple of examples of this today are an unnamed player being photographed and then a post on social media saying they were off to Spain for the day, the photo apparently being taken by a "fan". Another player being "persuaded" whilst being in a medical for a top-flight club, to sign for another top-flight club. If that is not an auction by proxy, I don't know what it is. Another player, so unhappy at their top flight club, is now stranded there until at least January. That does not benefit him, nor the club he is at, nor the fans. All because a deal couldn't be agreed by 11pm on 31st August. How is that good for anyone concerned?
No, this has gone too far. The idea of two windows is ridiculous. What was wrong with the old window in March. That made sense. It meant that young players could be loaned out after the EFL trophy finishes to get football league experience, and not having to wait another 3 months to be loaned out in January to EFL teams. Does it benefit them, their club of the prospective other club to be kicking their heels for 3 months? No, not at all. If they need first team football - to bring them on, then this should be allowed. If the window was for permanent transfers, then this may be a better situation, than the one we have now. Of course, in certain situations emergency loans may take place, but we should not have to rely on that. For me the National League have the right attitude, in the fact the two silly windows don't apply to them.
I was fortunate to see Danny on transfer deadline day, he looked fed up with the whole saga. Football managers should either be told to finalise their squads before day one, and add loan signings should they require them. The more I think about it, the more I think that the two windows are primarily a stunt to satisfy the media, who salivate at the large sums being doled out, in quite frankly appalling fashion. Who does this actually benefit? A largely rhetorical question, as us cynics have a real idea as to whom benefits from this circus and it's not the people who should benefit from it.
So, what is the best way forward, if we are to keep these two windows? As I have alluded to it above, perhaps it should move to a permanent signing window, with loans allowed up to a decided day in March. This would then allow top flight clubs to loan out players to clubs at the other end of the pyramid, throughout the autumn, to get them the development they require. It may keep the players motivated more, it could even allow the players to progress to the first team quicker. For example, David Beckham's loan move to Preston. He played on the hallowed Sincil Bank turf, and less than a year later, scored from the half way line for Manchester United. Surely by switching back to this method, would allow for a more sensible way for the EFL and Premier League to progress. One thing is certain. If football continues along this almost voyeuristic shameful auctioning process, a la the Big Bash and the IPL, I really do fear for the future of the game and the sanity and well being of the managers and coaching staff of the teams.