The following article was written by Paul Jones.
What do John Toshack, Eric Cantona and Andy Gray all have in common?
They all transferred to arguably their most successful club outside of modern day transfer window periods.
John Toshack left Cardiff City for Liverpool on the 11th November 1970 for a fee of £110,000. Whilst at Liverpool Toshack scored 96 goals.
His medal haul included three league titles (1976, 1976 and 1977), An FA Cup winners medal in 1974 and two Uefa Cup winners medals in 1973 and 1976.
Eric Cantona sealed a £1.2 million pound move from Leeds United to Manchester United on 26th November 1992.
Joining the class of ’92 Eric Cantona scored 64 goals racking up four Premier League titles in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997 as well as winning two FA cups in 1994 and 1996, scoring the winning goal against Liverpool in the final of the latter.
Andy Gray moved clubs outside of the modern day transfer window when moving to his two most successful clubs Aston Villa and Everton.
In October 1975, at the age of 19, Gray left Dundee United and moved to newly promoted Aston Villa and won England’s golden boot the following season.
In November 1983 Everton parted with £250,000 to secure his services where he went on to win an FA cup, a League Championship and a European Cup Winners Cup.
None of these transfers would have taken place in the modern age of transfer windows.
The idea that the Premier League will close the transfer window at 5pm on the Thursday before the Premier League starts has got to be one of the most idiotic decisions the dimwits who run football have taken.
The transfer window as a concept is a complete farce created by the powers that be to give a satellite corporation and their 24 hour gossip channel some kind of false credibility.
I ask – who actually benefits from the transfer window? My guess is the only people to benefit from the window are one of the many armies of leaches in football, the agents.
The behaviour of certain agents during the transfer window, especially as deadline day approaches, is nothing short of despicable.
Agents have been known to agree deals for players to move clubs before calling up the prospective new club and informing them that the agency fee has now trebled and this must be paid if they want to secure their player.
This is a blatant attempt to maximise their own cut of the fee with no regard for the clubs involved or, more importantly, their client, the player. This is just one example of the scandal that becomes common place during the transfer window.
One of the main concerns of closing the window earlier than every other European transfer window, where some may remain open for up to a month after the Premier League close theirs, is the possibility of the Premier League losing its’ top stars to European leagues with no chance of any club replacing them for five months.
Five months in football is a lifetime.
Jobs can be lost in such timeframes in football and with a potential exodus of players once the transfer window closes this raises a series of questions that need answering before such a farcical decision is put into practice.
Is there any provision to stop players leaving once the window closes?
Will the standard of the Premier League drop if an exodus occurs?
Will clubs stock pile even more players for fear of losing others once the window closes?
Will clubs need to spend even bigger sums as they panic buy during a shorter window?
Will agents try to squeeze more money from clubs with a shorter transfer window?
This then reverts to the question asked earlier, Who actually benefits from a transfer window?
My question to FIFA, the FA and the Premier League is, what was wrong with the old system of no windows?
A system that allowed clubs to sign players up until the latter stages of the season. A system that minimised agents carrying out their unscrupulous behaviours. A system that was working well.
Somewhere, somehow this has got to be stopped because football as we used to know it no longer exists.