Pete Sixsmith breathes a huge sigh of relief as the window slams shut …
Six years ago, when Sky Sports News was on Freeview, I sat open mouthed as Roy Keane brought in 6 players on the same day. Connolly, Kavanagh, Miller, Varga, Wallace and Yorke all arrived in the proverbial frenzy of activity as the new manager realised that the likes of Arnau, Miller (T) and Caldwell were going to catapult us into Division One.
In subsequent years there has been a wee bit of activity on the last day. Gyan and Bendtner both came in with hours to spare as the previous regime tried to strengthen. Most would say that they failed to achieve this laudable aim.
Yesterday was a quiet day and the computer was rarely visited. We all knew that Richardson was heading off to Fulham and that Danny Rose was coming in as a replacement.
There were rumours that Clint Dempsey had been seen at Seaham Hall/ Ponteland Airport/ Park Lane Interchange, but I felt that he was not going to swap the bright lights of London for the rather dimmer and often broken street lights of Wearside.
In fact, most of the activity seemed to take place in London as Fulham and QPR vied for the title of most players in and out, with Tottenham a close third.
It now seems that London is an even bigger magnet for players than it ever was in the past. For this, I blame Boris Johnson. Who would not want to live in a capital city where shed loads of money can be earned and witness the witless buffoonery of the elected mayor?
Certainly the Olympics have made London a target destination for European players. Dempsey turned down Villa, wanted to go to a seemingly financially challenged Liverpool and probably had a glance at the Wikipedia page on Sunderland before trundling off to Spurs Lodge (is it a budget hotel?) for his medical and carrying a large sack for his money.
It looks as if Liverpool and Villa may well be the losers in this window. Both have ambitious young managers (yours truly tipped either of them as potential successors to The Geordie Martyr had he managed to see last season out) who wanted to strengthen desperately poor squads.
Liverpool managed to get rid of “Kevin Kyle with a pony tail” and Blackpool’s second best Premier League player, while Villa signed a child from Chesterfield and a Belgian, seemingly on the basis that every team has a Belgian, so we had better get one.
Once Dempsey had made it clear that Villa held as much attraction as a comeback concert from Bucks Fizz and that Liverpool had no money left – not even an extra couple of million to back their new manager – Spurs was the only destination.
The sad thing was that Good ‘Ol ‘Arry wasn’t there to sign him, laughing and joshing with the alleged football journalists who cover football in London. You can write the script for what would have been said; initial denial, followed by praise for Dempsey, followed by a little wink, soon backed up with a more knowing one and then rounded off with the player being paraded in front of GOA’s adoring fan club. It was the Fry’s Five Boys approach to football management.
Am I happy with who has come in? Yes I am.
Am I happy with those who have left the club? Yes I am.
Am I happy that a certain Beninese international has signed a new contract and kept the London based vultures away? Yes I am.
Will I be happy at 5pm today? I flaming well hope so.