Shutting the Window

I used to look forward to transfer deadline day. This was usually in mid-March with promotion and relegation issues taking shape. Players signed after that date were not actually barred from playing for their new clubs but could not play in any game that had a potential bearing on promotion and relegation and this criterion was interpreted very strictly. Panic often led to some odd signings and some even stranger sales. In 1973 with relegation looming the Baggies decided to offload Colin Suggett to relegation rivals Norwich. The penultimate home game was against the Canaries. Albion lost 1-0. I don’t need to say who scored the goal.

In the days before the fax registration forms had to be delivered in person to Hardakerstown on Sea alias Lytham St Anne’s and the A6 was clogged up all day. It was always an exciting day. Not so the closing of the ludicrous transfer window. I frankly didn’t care where Modric or Berbatov or whoever was going. It was not without interest however. The long list of lower division deals in the final days has a certain fascination as among the unknowns you see names from the past. So that’s where he is these days you say. PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle got himself fixed up, moving from Unattached FC to York.  Ex-Baggie Scott Dobie has joined him at Kit Kat Crescent (is it still called that?) Darren Carter is now at Cheltenham while musclebound striker Ishmael Miller is teaming again with Tony Mowbray at Middlesbrough. He must like the look of the treatment room there. A load of ageing players some of whom once commanded big fees have signed for Portsmouth. Remember John Harley anyone?

There is a cautionary tale in all of this for young Premiership footballers. That is, they can lose what they have sooner than they think and join the ranks of those whose agents phone round in increasing desperation as August draws to a close to get them fixed up somewhere, anywhere.

I say this to them. When you play Rochdale or whoever in the Cup don’t look down on less talented opponents who  live in a semi and drive a Mondeo. They could be team mates sooner than you think.


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