Steve Coppell was right – it’s time we changed deadline day

Sky cameras - fuel to the deadline day fire.

Sky cameras - fuel to the deadline day fire. - Credit: Archant

“I cannot see the logic in a transfer window. It brings on a fire-sale mentality, causes unrest via the media and means clubs buy too many players” – Steve Coppell.

Aside from being a very good footballer and an extremely bright man, Coppell clearly knows a thing or two about common sense.

Transfer deadline day is one of those manufactured events, a bit like Yorkshire Pudding Day, or International Toothpaste Day. Except they don’t cause mass frustration when it is least welcome.

One of the biggest problems is that the closing of the window comes after the season has started: how illogical is that? Another is that, like this week’s, it has coincided with the international break, which has seen players’ schedules disrupted and the possibility of their country’s World Cup ambitions being compromised.

The morality of the transfer fees? Well, we all know a human being who kicks a pig’s bladder around for a living shouldn’t be valued at tens and tens of millions of pounds. It is not moral – but that is an argument for a different day.


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It won’t change because it is Sky TV who have an effect on deadline day, cranking up the coverage with wall to wall yellow ties and an overtime bill for out on location expenses that must stretch even Rupert Murdoch’s petty cash box. Sky, of course, keep the clubs going and keep the mill turning over – without them raising the financial stakes, clubs’ incomes would be greatly reduced, spending power greatly reduced, deadline day chaos greatly reduced, Sky TV’s frantic coverage greatly reduced.

And of course, when Sky do what they do, we all have to follow: this is no time to opt out of the system. Sky set the ball rolling: we all need to jump in and have a kick as well. It leaves players, managers, fans and, yes, journalists, frazzled.

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Maybe a Coppell-esque alternative would be to close the window at noon and the only deadline-day deals that can be done are those in which an interest has been officially registered by 5pm the previous day. Although that might just produce Transfer Window Interest Penultimate Day...

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