Another New Year, another transfer window, writes James Shield.
Twenty-eight more days of social media frenzy culminating in 24 hours worth of hysteria, pantomime and pure guff.
Football’s bizarre system of buying and selling serves no discernible purpose other than to send Jim White’s blood pressure levels soaring and ensure gurning chimps can bounce around in front of satellite television cameras when nothing of importance is really going on.
Managers who build squads sensibly get castigated for not going splashing cash on deadline day. Deals processed 24 hours before the cut-off point, in the eyes of those who get caught up in the charade, don’t seem to count as Sheffield United have discovered to their cost.
Should we abolish the whole sorry business and revert to something more sensible? FIFPro, the world players’ union, seems to think so having proposed a framework whereby its members can move between at any moment so long as they serve an agreed period of notice. Or, to put it more simply, adhere to the same rules which govern you and I.
Jim, of course, wouldn’t like it. Neither would those who claim to spend every January stalking professional sportsmen along supermarket aisles and petrol station forecourts before posting their ‘findings’ on various internet accounts.
Disciples of the status quo argue limiting recruitment drives to prescribed periods of the prevents clubs with deep pockets hoovering up the best talent at pivotal moments. Allows those intent on sticking to a budget to compete on something approaching level terms.
A laudable aim but which, in truth, transfer windows actually encourage anything but.
Now, while FIFPo’s idea would undoubtedly solve some problems, a plethora of fresh ones are likely to spring up in their place if they get their way.
Salary levels, which already becoming impossible to defend, would spiral out of control as the richest teams channel even more dosh into the wallets of those who play the game. Think how much Gareth Bale might have earned at Real Madrid for example if he had not commanded a fee?
But, while football needs to address its finances, trying to encourage the process by imposing ‘windows’ is a duplicitous and cowardly way of pressing ahead.