deadline dayNo amount of flashy titles and dramatic countdown clocks will change the simple fact that January is always boring.

Sky Sports News will never admit it of course, football is their raison d’etre, they’ve invested billions of pounds into the sport and will milk it for every penny they can.

But the reality is, football teams are built in the summer. No one wants to sell key players in January, so if teams are looking for reinforcements they’re forced to pay over-inflated prices or take a chance on outcasts and unknowns. Every player may have their price, but that price is seasonal and in football, there are no clearance sales in January.

Since the transfer windows were introduced some 10 years ago now, clubs have spent around four times less in January than they do in the summer. This season looks to be no exception.

While F5 keys across the country were being mercilessly assaulted yesterday, only one transfer was completed in the Championship – a loan deal which saw Patrick Kisnorbo join Ipswich Town.

The day before was equally uneventful, the Championship’s only arrival was Joshua King who joined Blackburn Rovers from Manchester United while Lee Frecklington left Peterborough to join Rotherham United. Both fees were undisclosed, though I’d hazard a guess that very little money was spent.

In total, the Championship has produced only six deals involving a transfer fee so far this January, one of which was the completion of Ryan Hall’s transfer to Leeds United.

Despite all signs pointing towards another boring January transfer window, the newspapers, rumour sites and Sky Sports still have us hooked. However remote the chances of it happening are, we’re all so desperate to share in the moments of pure joy that can only be produced by a headline signing, we’re left at the mercy of the media.

We know they lie to us and make up stories to keep us interested, but part of us doesn’t mind that. No matter how implausible the rumour is, we love to ponder the implications. It’s the reason teenagers can tweet rumours coming straight from that ever-reliable “good source” and be retweeted 300 times in 20 minutes. The person retweeting the bored teenage troll doesn’t believe the rumour of course, but he can’t help following up with another dozen or so hypothetical “what if we did sign him though?” tweets.

Within 24 hours of the transfer window opening, football fans across the world have assembled a dream team of “what if?” signings, and the more they talk about them, the less implausible it all seems. The club just needs to show a little ambition they reason, no longer giving any consideration to the fact that January is invariably dull and few transfers are actually completed.

As any football fan will tell you, all the hype and expectation makes for one hell of a kick in the balls. The 31 days of January will pass by and instead of the Champions League XI we’d somehow managed to convince ourselves were realistic targets, a couple of players no one has ever heard of have taken their seat on the bench and the fanbase is plotting to oust management and owners for their apparent “lack of ambition”.

We get over it of course. Just in time for Sky Sports’ summer countdown clock to appear.

30 Responses

  1. Matthew

    I can imagine George Boyd leaving Peterborough for example. They’re not a rich club and he has a few months left on his contract, all thats left is for someone to offer them the right amount and they’l sell. Same for many clubs that don’t have money or have players they can’t agree deals for. I think we’l see movement in and around this league regardless.

    • Through It All Together

      You’ve got to see it from other side too. Is it worth more for them to keep him and possibly stay up and let him go for free?

      • Matthew

        Most clubs don’t do that anymore. When you’re nearing the end of your contract, you’re either sold if terms can’t be agreed, or a contract is agreed and you stay. Very rarely do clubs let players of value go on a free. You have to remember that clubs often sell players to balance the books.

        Mostly why I don’t buy the excuse that no one will sell. History has shown that players with a small amount of months left on their contract who clubs can’t keep are always for sale, for the right price.

      • Irving08

        Mathew – You are obviously right – eg Howson. It is curious to see TSS lowering expectations: I don’t recall his doing so in previous transfer windows. K750 would probably be enough to secure Boyd. And leave it at that.

      • Matthew

        I know, it’s odd if anything. Can’t quote a list, perhaps someone else has one, but there must be at least 50+ players approaching the final few months of their contracts, and at least that many that are at clubs where they simply have no future and have been told to find a new club.

        Lots of players out there to buy, some bad, some decent. The decent ones in most cases require money. We just need GFH to show their hand and put the wheels in motion and bring in some players. There’s genuinely no excuses for lack of activity in any window to be honest.

        Peterborough in my opinion will sell Boyd to the highest bidder and bring someone else in on loan/keep the money and make do with what they have.

      • Irving08

        Good man. Interestingly, another site, RIGK, takes a similar line to TSS. Is there an agenda going on here ?

      • Col

        It does make you think……. It disappoints me when I see sites like TSS & RITGK just accepting the GFH bullshit.

      • Matthew

        Put it this way, his credibility will be destroyed if GFH turn out to be another Bates in disguise. This topic alone is proof the guy is mindlessly following the new owners, his logic his flawed.

        Which is strange because TSS usually writes some smart, well written articles and comes across as a sensible guy. This article seems more like blind faith with no basis in reality to me.

      • TSS

        Yes… we’re both incapable of forming an opinion, it must be an hidden agenda. My God, Leeds United fans and their conspiracy theories.

      • Irving08

        It is not conspiracy, but a reasonable inference, given that you have each talked up GFH on this site, and even given the impression that you have been in communication with them; and suspicion is bound to be raised by
        your opening a discussion by erecting a straw man (‘ludicrous demands’ of Leeds fans). In any case, it was a question, not a statement. And many of your ‘Leeds United’ fans, have supported this club through thick and thin for a few more decades than your good self, and are patient to a fault. We are not stupid either. What we are seeking is some clarity on our new business arrangements and an indication of what GFH Capital want from us . At least with Bates we knew where we stood on the last question, icf nt the first: with GFH we are in the dark on both.

  2. col

    Team are built in the summer…….yawwwn!
    Nice excuse for Bates, sorry I mean GFH to spend nothing in the transfer window.
    When are mug Leeds fans going to wake up?! Bates & GFH are taking the piss. I feel sorry for the fans who were suckered into buying Bates’ overinflated half season tickets. Bolton was a taste of what you can expect. Three points were a bonus but from an entertainment point of view it was dreadful!!!

    • TSS

      You’re just ignoring the simple fact that it’s the same for every team in January. Blame whoever you like, but there’s been more movement at Leeds so far than 95% of clubs in the top two divisions. Ryan Hall’s transfer alone took care of that.

      • Irving08

        The signing of Hall to me is a bit of a mystery. He doesn’t look like he will ever be able to command a regular place in the starting line-up. He lacks the pace to get round his man on the outside, nor does he appear to enough compensating skill or aggression. Charle Taylor – from what I have seen of him – has more to offer in Hall’s position, to which he brings additional defensive capability, and he cost nothing. We have some very promising youngsters at the club whom we risk losing due to the pervasive short-term thinking.

      • Chareose

        Atleast our youth players would give it a go……. O’Learys babes proved what can be done when you get that sort of momentum going….kids with no fear and everything to prove…..many of which played above their levels…

      • col

        I don’t call signing a League two player for a nothing fee & extending the loan of the hapless Tate by a month as “movement”. When are GFH gonna back up their big mouths with REAL signings? I’m not holding my breath!

      • TSS

        Call it whatever you like, you’re still ignoring the fact no one else is doing anything either. They never do in January, it’s the same every year yet people still seem surprised by it.

        Put yourself in the other clubs position. Every club has players like Byram and Becchio, no one wants to sell them halfway through a campaign. The only way you get players like that is by offering silly money, and it just isn’t going to happen.

      • Matthew

        You’re jumping the gun a bit. Proclaiming no one is doing better 4 days into the window is a bit pre mature.

        He has a point, there hasn’t been a statement of intent thus far by GFH Capital. Plenty of potential decent signings out there to be had. They all require money though.

        No where in your article do you speak about Premier League players clubs don’t want, that don’t figure into their plans, and clubs with players without much time left on their contracts that they would want to offload.

        When your contract expires at the end of the season, Winter is typically the time clubs would want rid of players they don’t need, and players that don’t have much time left on their contracts, look at Chelsea for example giving Frank Lampard the chance to find a new club. His contract expires at the end of the season and they don’t want to keep him.

        Your whole article just seems like convenient excuse. No kidding the Winter window isn’t the most active but claiming there’s no one to buy is just wrong on so many levels.

      • Matthew

        Here’s an example of many. Jerome Thomas. Remember him? Doesn’t figure into WBAs plans, they will let him go for the right price. They will get rid of him in this window, even if we don’t buy him.

      • Ron

        Totally agree. I don’t care what anyone else does. They have not had a Scrooge owner fail to reinvest in the squad for years while fans pay top billing. Neither do other teams have the fan base or infrastructure to stay in the Premier League. We appear to have found the only Arabs in the world without money and until they prove otherwise, I remain sceptical. None of us want a host of signings, but we want something that signals intent. If we don’t, then all that promotion chatter by GFH was hot air.

      • Chareose

        Actually TSS….Neil Warnock has gone on record a number of times saying that we had to survive till January so he could sign players….even with the loan players we arnt good enough and he knows that, we all know it….. His intention was always to sign good players in January and being the Leeds United Manager and one who has 7 promotions you would expect him to know better than a bunch of fans how it works right ???

        I think your just giving the current leadership of Leeds united (which currently does include Harvey, Bates and Lorimer) another convenient excuse to hide behind…..
        P.S if GFH think its unfair to be dragged down with the Bates era they should have made damn sure he wasnt involved when they took over…

  3. David Wilson

    I’m not sure we are really seeing much change from the Bates era as far as investment in the squad goes. We seem to be struggling to get the Tonge deal done when all sides appear to be keen. I’m waiting for the usual excuses of ridiculous wage demands etc. Also if we don’t invest in this window we can kiss any chances of promotion this season goodbye.

  4. The Weasel Kickers

    Totally agree it is forced business which no one likes doing. Squads have to be built in the summer in order to stand any chance of bonding, playing well and not undermining the presence and work done by current employees. January Transfer is a negative impact on the sport. SKY are just a bunch of see you next tuesdays.

  5. NottsWhite

    Only 4 days into the window therefore we should not panic and I do prescribe to the view that clubs will not let their best players leave, however there is still enough quality available to improve the squad. I am just concerned that we are demonstrating a lack of effort/financial muscle. Bolton are looking to get Craig Davies from Barnsley for £300K. Although this player may be similar to Bechio, I think he can add strength to the squad and £300K for a 26 year old who can score at this level is not a gamble. We also seem to be going cold on Jerome Thomas because the financial heavyweights of Crystal Palace and Blackpool are interested ! Do me a favour !

    • Matthew

      In my opinion, if GFH want any credibility and credible owners they would put in a bid for Jerome Thomas, amongst others and out muscle the small clubs in the Championship. It’d be absolutely ridiculous if we lose him. He had a great time here and is a fantastic player. I rate him.

  6. Anon

    If it means waiting until the summer to sign decent players so be it. No more squad players at this stage.

  7. igiveup

    Club website says Warnock is unlikely to be at ER tomorrow…him & 1000s of others looking at ticket sales!!

  8. Andy

    It’s no change. This Bates brokered take over, with him remaining in the wings, stinks. I can see Becchio going, Blackstock in at a snip anf the money disapperas into???? I think we know where. As for Byram…wave bye bye…clearly we are being prepared for the sale…and will we see that money re-invested? Same magic disappearing trick as the previous sales under the Bates Era


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