David Preece: Transfer window is obnoxious, obscene and vulgar

David de Gea missed out on a move to Real Madrid in the transfer window
David de Gea missed out on a move to Real Madrid in the transfer window
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Amid the all the buckets of confetti thrown by the clowns in red noses, and the trained monkeys riding around on mini bicycles to the audience’s whooping delight, the circus that has become the transfer deadline has been and gone.

I’ll be honest, I switched on my television at 7pm in the evening, only to find the deadline door had not only closed but the bolts had been moved across and the security guard was whistling his sweet tune home six hours before I thought it was meant to be over.

Regardless of the amount of money received from ever-increasing TV revenues, the way people salivate with such glee over the obscene money spent each year is obnoxious in the extreme.

Forgive my oversight, but there’s never the need for a crowd of fans wielding more sex toys than an Ann Summers shop behind a harrassed reporter at Sincil Bank to indicate otherwise.

But when the dust has settled, and the Big Top is being dismantled on the dealings of the four leagues above, I’ll be glad to get back to what really matters instead of Hook-a-Duck sideshows of clubs taking a chance by grabbing whatever they can get their hands on and chief executives boasting about their acquisitions like an affluent bore showing everyone his new watch and then asking them to guess how much it cost.

I understand people will point out that this is just modern football, and how the business model has changed the face of the game irreparably but I just think the image promoted by the those at the top of the game now is so vulgar it’s akin to them displaying £50 pound notes like their taking part in some kind of peacockish mating ritual.

Take the total amount of transfer fees spent during each window, for example.

Regardless of the amount of money received from ever-increasing TV revenues, the way people salivate with such glee over the obscene money spent each year is obnoxious in the extreme.

Such spending by clubs is rhapsodized over to such an extent I’m surprised an automatic Champions League place hasn’t been left open for the club who tops the table of big spenders.

How do you stop it, though?

How do you implement a structure of player valuation in a business where such opinions are subjective but now major news outlets are using statistics from the Football Manager game simulation, perhaps they should let them set the bar as to how high a player should cost to any bids from potential suitors.

You might laugh but when I was sat in full shirt and tie, managing Lyon to consecutive Champions League triumphs playing Championship Manager 00/01, I’d never thought their extensively scouted statistics would be used by professionals to compare targets either.

You could blame my advancing age for the way I gaze at the TV with an incredulous look as Championship clubs are spending £8million on players and transfer window spending totals are blazoned as if it’s the amount raised at the end of Children in Need or Comic Relief.

If football had an ounce of self-awareness, put down it’s Louis Vuitton toilet bag, took off it’s out-sized Beats headphones for two minutes to reflected on what’s happening in the world outside, then they’d act like the old fashioned husband who arrives home with a new car and tells his wife it cost nowhere near what he actually paid for it in fear of reproach.

The fact the £800million expenditure is trumpeted with such garish fanfare of pride is frankly disgusting.

It’s the kind of stat we should be playing down. We’d all love to be able to drive around in a Ferrari but I’d like to think we wouldn’t do it with the top down, blaring out music and tooting the horn like an espresso-fuelled taxi driver in Rome whose wife has just left him for his best mate.

Perhaps I’m stretching things with the analogies but we should be embarrassed about accumulating the best part of a £1billion trading players, especially when much of it is spent like every person you see scrambling around town centres on Christmas Eve.

Whatever homework has gone in to researching a player, many of the last-minute signings smack of incompetence and desperation.

The most damning indictment of the system failing the game is when you have the two biggest clubs in the world handling the transfers as if the negotiations were being handled by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

That’s when you know something has to be done. The entertainment value in transfer deadline day has passed genuine excitement and morphed into comedy and ridicule.

Of course we want transparency and insight in to dealings but the majority of what comes out is at best speculation, and at worst, pure fantasy and fabrication.

Fans don’t just want to be drip-fed ifs, buts and maybes, they just want the player holding their club’s scarf above his head, regardless of cost, regardless of who else was in the race to sign him, and regardless of what his agent has had to say to the newspapers.

I’d love the whole system simplified to make it about the game and the players on the pitch. If I wanted vacuous drama, I’d watch Big Brother.

In my world I’d want the first transfer window to close on the Monday night prior to the first game of the season.

I’d want a total ban on managers even commenting on any potential signings.

I’d want the January window to extend to that of managers too so clubs can only change their head coach/manager mid-season during the first month of the year.

I’m not foolish enough to think this would put a stop to the madness but might give managers the extra time to turn things around and perhaps put an end to the likes of Peter Odemwingie’s embarrassingly vain dash to Loftus Road or Saido Berahino’s brain-dead tweeting when a deal falls through.

Yes, it creates drama but sadly not the type synonymous with football at its Anfield in ’89 or Nou Camp in ’99 best.

And more than anything, I’d want clubs to be forced to reshuffle their squad from the bottom of the pack, so if their “star” signings were struggling for form or became unfortunate victims of injury, then younger players might be given more of a chance to step into the breach.

What the extra month of the transfer window does is allow the teams who haven’t started well to bring in extra recruits from every corner of the world, without realising the answer to their slow start may actually be right under their noses all along.