Why I don’t like transfer deadline day

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I’m not (usually) one to moan, but January 31 is just a run-of-the-mill day on any given year. Its main significance for most of the population is merely that it signifies the end of a dour month of just about coming to terms with January and then general depression because of failed New Year’s resolutions. However, Sky Sports News has somehow made us believe that January 31 is one of the key dates in the calendar, a day – “Transfer Deadline Day” – which we cannot live without, during which the most monumental transfers take place. After a few years of believing this trash, mainly because being a Chelsea fan means you see significant transfer activity, I am now at a place where I barely pay attention to the fanfare, silently hoping for an end to the farcical newspaper speculation.

For football clubs, January is a month of fear and panic – even if you’re doing well. Clubs (or any Harry Redknapp managed club) who are suffering injuries seem to believe that they need a further 20 players to get them through to May! Then there are those clubs who have benefitted from the form of a star player who is now on the radar of bigger clubs eager to get their claws into him. Then there are other clubs who do all they can to dig themselves further into debt by simply buying any player who is available just because everyone else seems to be doing it.

January being a month of panic is a fairly new phenomenon in modern football. Usually, clubs would prudently go about their business over the summer so that they could see themselves through the season. When it came to January, clubs would have to suck it up if they needed players. Those clubs with top players would at least get through to the end of the season with their prized assets. Now, something called a transfer window is arbitrarily opened during the month of January and clubs can’t seem to control themselves with some of the most absurd transfers that you’ll ever see. January signings are rarely successful and are nearly always made out of panic. There are only a handful of January signings which have been successful and for every successful signing there is usually 50 terrible signings.

Let’s take the farcical example the Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll deadline day deals. Chelsea got excited because they believed a player who was once the best striker in the world was available. They didn’t need him, yet they believed that just by buying him it would solve all their problems. Within months they were sorely mistaken and they’re still paying the price – literally. Andy Carroll, a player who had performed well for over just half of a Premier League season was seen as a replacement for Torres because he was big and strong. The cruel twist to the tale was that Carroll was English and Newcastle are not mugs. If you’re after a player in January you better prepare to pay a painful premium. If you’re after an English player prepare to pay a further 30%. For all of these reasons, Newcastle somehow got £35m for him. Situations like this are common (albeit on a lesser financial scale) during the January transfer window and make it intolerable.

This begs the question, what is the point of the transfer window? It has become a disruptive nuisance. Sky Sports News try and make mediocre signings seem like game changers. The truth is nobody cares where Gary Hooper or Danny Graham end up. Nobody cares if Luciano Becchio puts in a transfer request. But, Sky Sports News will have you believe, with all of their glitz, that the world does care. Even the fun of the occasion is seeping out because of the mindless build up and that fucking massive touchscreen they have in the Sky Sports News studio. You can only laugh at Harry Redknapp talking about someone else’s player from his car for so long. At first it was fun to look at the local chavs surrounding an awkward looking reporter outside Stoke who would confirm a deadline day signing. Now, it’s just sad.

Deadline day and the transfer window should be scrapped. One solution is simply to have a strict window over the summer. However, as a modern freedom of trade supporter I can’t get behind that. Therefore, all that is left is to just open the transfer window for 12 months, so that: there is no more transfer window! At least that way Jim White can get on with presenting news rather than pretending to be excited about Celtic’s latest signing and then trying embarrassingly to convince us of its significance. Tonight, I will glance at Sky Sports News, but I’d rather watch my West Wing DVD. Believe me, there is more drama in that!

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