So the transfer window has closed, and we’re all off to the club shop getting new names on our new shirts. Why this happens only twice in a season has escaped me. Freddy Shepherd, the outspoken Newcastle chairman (who famously dubbed Alan Shearer as ‘Mary Poppins’ and all Newcastle ladies as ‘slappers’) has branded the transfer window as "ridiculous", saying "It is absolutely ridiculous and really a restriction of trade, and I would like to see somebody challenging it. How can you stop someone from getting a job? What other business would allow this?"
This got me thinking.
The most significant transfer shift was after the Bosman ruling, which enabled players to move freely from country to country. Once upon a time, you were only allowed to field a handful of players (4 if I remember rightly) in a European match. If you were an English club, players from Scotland and Wales counted in your number of ‘foreigners’. So Bosman changed all that claiming that this contravened EU working laws. He also challenged the fact that, when a player’s contract ran out, he should become a ‘free agent’ as would happen in a normal job, as opposed to the previous club picking up a fee for a player no longer theirs.
So when and why did the transfer window come in? Seemingly, it was to give clubs without the riches of the more wealthy clubs a chance over the season, creating a more ‘level playing field’. I’m not sure this has happened. With big money takeovers from foreign investors, the richest clubs still get the best players. If a club has a load of money to throw around, then they have more clout in getting a transfer put through quickly. If you’re a Bolton fan (like I am), or a Charlton fan, deals take time as you need to convince the bigger players your club is the right choice.
Since the ‘window’, many clubs have made hasty buys to appease the fans. Look at Boro for example. Or Man City. I’m not convinced that the transfer window has really helped anybody. It’s just made the whole process a bit more awkward… unless you’re Chelsea and you can sign Ashley Cole 2 hours after the deadline has passed.
So really, anyone, give me a clue. Just why do we have a transfer window?