Friday marks the day when the summer transfer window officially opens but such has been the maelstrom of rumours and activity already that it feels like it’s been ajar for several weeks.
We’ve seen this player linked with this club and that player linked with that club and that club made to sit on the naughty step for alleged tapping-up. We’ve seen enormous figures bandied around for perfectly decent yet unexceptional players, figures that prompt incredulity followed by sheer disbelief followed by further incredulity. We cannot say that we’ve not been entertained.
Or at least entertained for now because there is another twelve weeks of this to go – relentless gossip, far-fetched ‘swoops’, talk of ‘war chests’, come-and-get-me-pleas, sources, sagas – and by the time it’s all done and Jim White goes back into hibernation on September 2nd we will be bored stupid by the sheer monotony of it all.
Sometime around mid-August we’ll realise that after a thousand back page headlines, a million tweets, and countless hours of pub debate there has only actually been five meaningful transfers taken place. Sometime around the end of August we’ll read that Player X has been spotted at a Greggs in town for the umpteenth time and we’ll want to cry.
So any chance of improving the status quo, then?
Well, funny you should ask because yes there is: five changes in fact. Admittedly the below may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek but who could honestly say that they wouldn’t like to see these rules put in place just for one thoroughly mad, totally captivating summer.
Every club does it anyway so why not remove the cloak-and-dagger element and bring it out into the open for all to see? Football’s dirty secret has been going on for years, illustrated perfectly by Brian Clough once admitting of his time at Forest, “We tapped up more players than the Severn-Trent water board”, so let’s shine a big light on the grubby little world, take hypocrisy and duplicity out of the equation, and see once and for all who the worst rotters are.
Since 2012 Tottenham Hotspur have assembled a title-challenging squad despite only spending £1m more than they have recouped in transfer fees. This is laudable. This is entirely commendable. This is also very, very boring! Under the new rules all Premier League clubs would be duty-bound to spend every penny of their TV bonanza (which this summer would equate to £146m for champions Chelsea down to £103m for Watford who finished just outside of the bottom three).
Only here’s the kicker: They are also not permitted to spend a penny more.
I’ll leave you to work out how this would utterly transform the transfer system for the better but some pointers for starters include:
Capping the present financial lunacy.
Increasing transfer activity (that will largely revolve around home-grown young talent due to foreign talent becoming unaffordable).
Adding drama to end-of-season mid-table fixtures with every place counting.
I’m off for a cigar having completely fixed football.
In the new shake-up all clubs would be legally obliged to make a minimum of three signings per summer that are spread across the three months. Additionally at least one must be British.
No more drawn-out teases that come to nothing on deadline day. We want action and conclusions on a regular basis to sustain us through the barren wasteland that is the summer break.
Some of these measures are obviously more jokey than others. This one is deadly serious. Quite how this infuriating, insulting procedure came to be is anyone’s guess but an anticlimactic failure to announce a figure will not be tolerated under
my dictatorship the new sensible system.
We as fans deserve to know if our club has frittered away millions on a perfectly ordinary midfielder or snapped up a bargain. It really is as simple as that.
For too long now they have blogged indiscriminate bull manure from their bedrooms while their mum makes them tea, claiming to be on the inside of a convoluted deal involving a Serbian footballer, his agent, and a club whose ground they have never even visited never mind having access to the boardroom.
Well no more we say, and at the risk of veering a little closely to the Tories intention to regulate the internet an independent body will be set up to ensure suitable punishment is administered: let’s say 48 hours without FIFA for their first indiscretion and a week without RedTube for their second. That seems fair.