Bosses reluctant stars of window pantomime

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WHEN pictures of Jim White, Sky Sports’ high-spirited Scot, bounding up an escalator after arriving at the channel’s west London HQ were beamed across the nation on Tuesday evening, the following image formed in my mind.

Somewhere, perhaps locked away in a dingy office or broom cupboard, the grand fromage of satellite broadcasting was shadow boxing and screaming as he prepared to take to the air.

Fists clenched, adrenalin pumping and sweat oozing from every pore as PJ and Duncan’s 1990s masterpiece ’Lets Get Ready to Rhumble’ boomed out of a ghetto-blaster nearby.

Think Tom Dale in Peter Kay’s ‘Eyes Down’ and you are along the right lines.

Yes, the January transfer deadline day has become pure pantomime.

A bit of a laugh. A bit of a giggle.

Unless, you were one of those managers or clubs who found themselves playing games while the drama was unfolding.

A ridiculous situation which Sheffield United were spared, but 36 others, including neighbours Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers, were not so fortunate.

With Jim’s paymasters reporting that 50 per cent of the near £60 million which changed hands during the last window was spent in its final 24 hours, it is impossible not to conclude that brinkmanship and blind panic drive the market at this time of year.

Two qualities which not even the Premier League, who so often seem happy to ignore the suicidal excesses many of its members display, would dare to argue are conducive to ensuring English football puts its financial house in order.

Having this misguided system foisted upon us by FIFA bureaucrats in Zurich is bad enough.

The FA, FAPL and FL can not be blamed for that.

But they are surely guilty of agreeing the schedule fixtures, many of which were of vital importance in terms of promotion and relegation, on a night when the majority of folk involved in the game had their minds elsewhere.

Roberto Martinez spoke for many when he labelled the idea a circus. Indeed, with one of his side - Hugo Rodallega - forced to try and focus on a match while faceless chief execs were negotiating his future, the Spaniard could even be accused of being a shade too polite.

In an era when probity is all important given the threat posed by shady bookmakers and their middlemen who view football as an opportunity to make a fast buck, the notion of fair play must be protected at all costs.

Imagine the whispers and rumours, fuelled by the anonymity the internet affords, if a player committed a horrendous mistake which ultimately worked to the advantage of a team he would join only hours later, how ever innocent his actions might be.

We are seemingly stuck with transfer windows. But we don’t have to add another dreadful dimension to the drama.

Whether we find Jim’s excitable narratives compelling viewing or not.