By Michael Laskey (www.twitter.com/Mike_Laskey)
It’s that time again, January 31st, the last day of the winter transfer window, and once more football managers around the country are on their phones begging chairmen to stump up the cash needed to sign Johnny Twofeet.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a great deal of gossip, speculation and rumourmongering about the likes of Carlos Tevez, Jordan Rhodes and Kevin Doyle, but we’ll have to wait until the clock hits the 11pm deadline tonight to know for sure who the day’s winners and losers have been.
As a Sheffield United fan, I’m well aware that you can take nothing for granted – at the summer deadline, the Blades were unsuccessful in signing Rangers players Kyle Hutton and John Fleck as there were delays with the two clubs’ fax machines.
In fact, just couple of weeks ago football agent Jon Smith explained to the People just how frantic the day can be. “It all begins before 6am when my phone starts to ring. A couple of clubs called me on the last transfer deadline day and said, “right, what shall we do today?”. It’s incredible to think that happens when they’ve had months to think about it”.
Smith explained how late in the day some deals get confirmed. “The Arshavin deal (to Arsenal) went right down to the wire – that was tense,” Smith said. “We were almost out of time so I gave up on the fax machine and said to him, “just write ‘agreed’ on an email to me NOW and we’ll sort everything else out afterwards”. He was a bit cautious about what we were agreeing but I promised to tear it up if they weren’t happy. With eight seconds left, the email landed.”
This raises the question of why, in the 21st century, do teams, players and agents still rely on archaic forms of communication, wait until the last possible moment or fail to prepare when completing deals involving large sums of money? One thing’s for sure – it makes for fun viewing for those of us watching Sky Sports’s live deadline day coverage, which becomes more and more like something out of an apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster every year.
While noone can be certain at the moment about what will unfold today, here are my predictions:
Simon Grayson will send a carrier pigeon from Leeds to Bolton with a bid for ageing striker Kevin Davies. However, the pigeon will be shot down soon after departing Elland Road by Ken Bates, who will then dispatch another to the Reebok offering Luciano Becchio to the Wanderers for a half eaten packet of cheese and onion flavoured crisps, or, at a pinch, a bag of pork scratchings.
Tomorrow morning, a distraught Roberto Mancini will find a message in a bottle from Barcelona in the River Medlock near Manchester City‘s ground, reading simply “Messi for Tevez?”.
Sheffield Wednesday will entertain controversy as chairman Milan Mandaric unveils the signing of Harry Redknapp’s dog as the club’s new goalkeeper. The ex-Spurs manager’s son Jamie will praise the move, saying that Rosie’s debut appearance will “literally raise the roof at Hillsborough”, a statement causing South Yorkshire Police to enact emergency protocols. Rosie will wear the number 47 shirt and be paid in installments of kibble to a dog bowl in Monaco.
Have you got any transfer deadline predictions? Let us know by tweeting your rumours to @FlairWeekly or posting on our Facebook page.