Transfer deadline day – a strange affair

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Transfer deadline day is a strange thing, it was an absolute gift to Sky, when Uefa created it in 2003. What for so long had been a relatively mundane affair as clubs completed their business ahead of the start of April.

Very rarely would anyone make signings that late in the season. Unless to cover for injuries, as the summer and subsequent winter transfer windows were introduced in the UK it turned an administrative task of registering a player in to heightened entertainment.

It’s taken on a life in itself over these last 15 years. Sky sports and their rolling news channel Sky Sports News created high drama and for some people unmissable TV on deadline day.

Transfer deadline day itsself, as it was named by Sky probably hit it’s peak four or five years ago. Since then it’s thankfully been on a downward spiral. Reporters outside of grounds were replaced by reporters in studios, empty stadiums and training ground offices – all after one too many dildos in the ear I imagine.

I can see why people love it, generally when there’s no football taking place it can be quite entertaining and obviously you want to find out who your club will be signing, but it brings out the absolute worst in people. All for the purposes of a sky orchestrated feeding frenzy – other broadcasters may well cover the end of the transfer window but no one does it like Sky. This is theirs and theirs alone. See the images of hamster like Bryan Swanson grinning like a Cheshire Cat as he stands next to his transfer accumulator as Premier League clubs spend more and more obscene amounts of money.

Who could forget the classic Latics transfer windows of old? The hapless Warren Joyce found himself with some cash and managed to throw it at enough shit that some stuck. Gabriel Obertan, Mikael Mandaron, Josh Laurent, Omar offside Bogle, some kid we got from Hull and an injured Alex Bruce. The stuff dreams are made of.

But of course the kids and the press lap it up, it creates stories and it makes your club relevant once again. But rarely does signing a whole new squad on transfer deadline day lead to an up turn in results for your side.

As was the case under Joyce and 18 months previously when Malky Mackay got rid of the remaining members of the FA Cup winning squad in favour of Leon Clarke and Jermaine Pennant.

This time around Transfer deadline day has been a convulated affair. No doubt leading to production managers at Sky, constantly having their heads in their hands as Sky’s whole reason for existing across the summer is torn apart.

So instead of the now traditional 31st August deadline the Premier League thought it would be a good idea to close the window early – before a game had been played in the PL. A noble idea no doubt, start the season with the squad you have with the first game. Makes sense. Why they decided to do it in a World Cup year, when things are already stretched is another matter.

But because this is a Premier League initiative there is nothing stopping sides in Europe from signing UK based players so there will be a further European transfer deadline day on the 31st August. Plus for those of us in the football league, clubs can still sign a player on loan and make that deal permanent in January.

Which brings us nicely to Wigan Athletic’s transfer window activity. It feels a lifetime ago now but it’s only been ten days since a big chunk of our supporters were sounding the death knell for Wigan Athletic and already declaring relegation was a certainty. This followed a poor performance in a friendly against Rangers and the fact that free agents James Perch and Lee Wallace had gone elsewhere.

A win over Sheffield Wednesday and a productive week of transfer activity and suddenly we’re heading back to the Premier League. Football eh?

So what of our new acquisitions? It feels like we’ve added some real quality. Certainly up front where we definitely have an enviable forward line – Will Grigg, James Vaughan, Joe Garner and Josh Windass. All proven goalscorers, all with a point to prove.

The return of Lee Evans is another massive plus, he was a big part of our early season form last season. To get him back was an unexpected bonus but as with the forward line our midfield looks very strong now.

Elsewhere our Everton links were strengthened once again with the return of Callum Connolly. A player Roberto Martinez handed his professional debut and someone who has had two decent spells at Championship level. Especially last season with Ipswich, it seems Joe Royle’s influence is never far away at the minute.

Credit once again goes to David Sharpe, Jonathan Jackson and Paul Cook. With the sort of money being bounded about you would expect that the much vaunted take over has moved a step closer. Especially with some new faces, sat alongside the Whelan family in the director’s box on saturday. But money is only one part of a deal.

Identifying who you want and being able to complete the deal is as important. As no doubt Bolton are finding out after we signed another two of their targets and preventing them from signing another.

It was a sad farewell to both Dan Burn and Max Power yesterday. The Burn deal in particular is fantastic for us. A player heading in to the last year of his contract, being loaned back to us for six months. We’ve effectively prevented Brighton from signing him on a free transfer and have kept the player for half the season and have made a decent profit on him in the process.

Whilst what can you say about Max Power? He got us as a club and that’s such a rare thing in football these days, it may have gone a bit awry last summer when he asked for a move away but credit to him. He got his head down, fought his way back in to the team and was a massive part of our success. He was a big character in the dressing room and key part of two promotions with us, he’ll have earned the no doubt cult status that he’ll be given in Latics folklore now.

If someone said to you at the end of last summer that we would lose Power yet keep Powell and the rest of the title winning side, I think we’d have all taken that.

So it’s back to the football tomorrow, and a return to Villa Park. It’s been a relatively happy stomping ground for Latics in the past and although Villa will be one of the favourites for promotion Latics will head their with a spring in their step. Backed by a sold out away end it has the hallmarks of a decent day on the road.

Sean Livesey

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