David Preece: Leicester's Â£22m Silva woe was nothing compared to my transfer nightmare!
For those poor souls who are left in the abyss between heaven and hell, an eternity in limbo awaits them. That's exactly where Adrien Silva finds himself now.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether Leicester is heaven or hell in this instance.
You’ll notice I didn’t prefix the Portuguese international’s name with ‘Sporting Lisbon’s’ Adrien Silva simply because I don’t know who he belongs to at this moment in time.
I have visions of him circling the King Power stadium in his car, slowing down to a crawl as he passes the windowed reception area, desperately looking for any sign of encouragement. His eyebrows raised, along with his hopes, as he notices the robust figure of Leicester’s manager Craig Shakespeare staring back at him.
But it’s not good news. Shakespeare is holding up an A4 print-out of a sad face emoji with the words ‘Desculpe ainda’ written underneath it (Not yet, in Google-translated Portuguese).
They catch one another’s eye, but Shakespeare recoils his gaze and looks down at the floor, shaking his head in desolation, filled with guilt knowing it was his fault for not trying to turn his fax machine off and on again earlier, to see if he could get it to work properly.
How was he to know it would take 14 minutes to come back on again? He won’t make that mistake again. As soon as the Silva saga unfolded and subsequent appeal was rolled out, he made a quick call to his local Curry’s and ordered two new ones as a back-up.
It isn’t the end of the world for Silva though. His time in limbo won’t be forever and although FIFA saying there are no grounds for appeal isn’t ideal for him, it will be resolved eventually so he can continue his career. It’s just a bump in the road.
Anyone who is a regular reader of this column will now know we’re at the point where I draw comparisons between this current situation and one from my own career.
Ok, so you might not think the £22million transfer of a Portuguese European champion to a Premier League club isn’t exactly the same of my proposed free transfer from Aberdeen to Tranmere Rovers in the summer 2002 ... but bear with me. I’d go as far as to say my situation was worse.
I actually had spent a whole week with Tranmere prior to the window closing but, as my agent explained, there was no rush because the window didn’t apply to players arriving from outside England. To this day, I don’t know why he would make that assumption, but it was to lead to some confusion later on that week.
So I arrived at Prenton Park, was handed my kit and driven up to the training ground where their keeper John Achterberg and goalkeeper coach Eric Nixon were waiting for me in the monsoon-like rain that had began earlier that morning without easing up.
As we warmed up by jogging around the pitches, puddles began to appear on the surface. Not ideal but there was plenty of areas where we could train without it causing us problems. Or so I thought.
As we stretched off, Eric Nixon went off to set up our session and set up a goal for us to work in. He shouted us over when he was ready for us to start and I began to laugh as he had set it up in the middle of the biggest puddle on the training ground.
“Very good, mate. Good joke,” I thought to myself, as I looked around to see where we actually would be throwing ourselves around. There wasn’t anywhere else though.
So here I was, on the first morning at what I assumed was going to be my new club, diving around in what was essentially a six-yard pool.
Now, it’s important to impress coaches and, perhaps more importantly, your new team-mates in that first training session to prove to them you are good enough. Yet here I was, like a performing seal, diving through pools of water.
I couldn’t understand the thinking. Was it a genuine test to see how I’d react or an attempt to derail me before I’d even had a chance to sit down with the club? It wasn’t the morning I had in mind.
The next day didn’t get any less crazy. It was the day before a game and Tranmere cut their pre-match preparations short as a young Ryan Taylor and current Tranmere boss Micky Mellon were involved in several fights with one another throughout the training session, so rather than risk it going too far and someone getting hurt, manager Ray Mathias brought the session to a close before they could go through set-pieces of any tactical stuff.
I knew that first morning that this wasn’t going to be the move for me and that was confirmed later that afternoon when I was told that we weren’t going to be able to do the deal because the deadline had passed. That wasn’t the real nail in the coffin though.
I was asked if I would like to play for their reserve side that next morning and as I’d missed some games in pre-season, I thought to myself ‘Why not?’ and said I would.
I should have thought harder about my own question of ‘why not?’
One answer on the list of replies could have been: “You may be playing on a school pitch where someone could pass back to you and the ball might bobble up off a penalty spot that has so much white chalk on it that it is like a dome, hit you on the knee and then bounce into the goal.”
Maybe I should have considered that - because that’s what happened.
Some things just aren’t meant to be and with good reason. This time, at least, I was glad it wasn’t.