It seems crazy to think that so many professional football clubs can have weeks on end to tie up transfer deals to improve their squads, yet inevitably it always comes down to this. The twenty-four hours at the end of August and January that represent a mad trolley dash up and down the country, with managers, agents and players frantically contemplating the potential number of £s required to fulfill their relative aspirations. Training ground entrances are the stage and middle-aged news reporters the players as director Jim White frantically gesticulates behind the curtain – we, the audience, a mixture of mild amusement, perplexity and the lingering feeling that we’ve been suckered into a parody of modern football’s own doing.
Despite such cynicism and ultimate futility, it is absolutely must-watch entertainment. Presented in such a way that you’ll belatedly wonder why you’re caring so much about whether a late move for Mohammed Diame has received Premier League ratification in time for him to make his debut next weekend. It shouldn’t be fun, it shouldn’t achieve this level of attention, but it is and it does and it’s difficult to imagine the climax to either summer or winter transfer window without it.
In the spirit of the day, Scottish Fans has compiled a brief list of the hits, the misses and the in between of ‘Transfer Deadline Day’
Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea, summer 2006
Perhaps the most underrated transfer in deadline day history. £5m plus William Gallas saw Cole move to SW London and he’s gone on to win pretty much everything on offer, as well as racking up the England caps. There was no question who got the better deal from this; Gallas’ Arsenal career is best remembered for his breakdown at St Andrews in early 2007 as the Gooners began the process of throwing away their lead at the top of the Premier League to Manchester United
Derek Riordan – Celtic to Hibernian, summer 2008
A prime example of what happens when attitude overpowers talent. Riordan had moved to the east end of Glasgow following his impressive first spell at Hibs, but after a less than spectacular period at Celtic, he was shipped back to Easter Road on summer deadline day 2008. Riordan’s second stint at Hibs was fairly promising, but represents the last time that he would even come close fulfilling his potential. After Edinburgh, he would move on to China, before returning to the UK for brief stays at St Johnstone, Bristol Rovers and Alloa Athletic. Riordan is currently a free agent.
Robinho – Real Madrid to Manchester City, summer 2008
This was the moment that Manchester City announced themselves as financial heavyweights in the world of professional football. Forever in the shadow of their cross-city rivals, City came close to trumping United in the same day, almost snatching Dimitar Berbatov from under the nose of Sir Alex’s side. They would have to settle for the precociously gifted Brazilian, who had fallen out of favour at Real Madrid and was initially set on a move to Chelsea. Such was the case, that the Londoners embaraased themselves by offering Robinho printed shirts on their online store. As for the Brazilian’s spell at City, it was hit and miss. A few wonderful moments – his glorious clipped goal against Arsenal included – married with several poor performances, especially against the top table sides. Still, this was a watershed moment not only for City, but for the Premier League as well and will forever be remembered as such.
Francis Jeffers and Filippo Maniero – Charlton Athletic/Torino to Rangers, summer 2005
14 games, 0 goals
Carlos Tevez – Corinthians to West Ham United, summer 2006
In one of the most complex transfers in recent years, few could have foreseen the long-term ramifications when West Ham shocked everyone by signing not only Tevez, but his Argentine team mate, Javier Mascherano. Not only did it lead to a lengthy court case upon the relegation of Sheffield United and a huge fine levied on West Ham, but it also was the main factor in the outlawing of third party ownership in English football. As for on the pitch, Tevez scored several crucial goals – including the winner at Old Trafford on the last day of the 06/07 season – as West Ham narrowly avoided relegation. From there he would move on to Manchester United, Manchester City and now Juventus, leaving a trail of goals, energy and controversy in his wake.
Peter Odemwingie – West Bromwich Albion to ….no one, winter 2013
He sat in his car in a car park for three hours!!!