Gambles’ Rambles: cheering ‘our’ Liverpool man, but the loan system is wrong

Ken by Jake: we know it should be Gambles's, but that would spoil the look
Ken by Jake: we know it should be Gambles’s, but that would spoil the look

Ken Gambles takes a look at the loan system that has given us three of our summer recruits. And he doesn’t like it a bit …

Buddy can you spare a Diame?

Although reprehensible, pay-day loan companies still appear to be flourishing ( and sponsoring Premier League teams), but almost now as unpleasant seems to me to be the loan system in football.

In those halcyon days of my youth in the late 50s/early 60s about which Sixer waxes so lyrical, loans were very rare beasts, usually involving an illness or injury to a goalkeeper and usually Mike Pinner at that (ask yer grandad).

The explosion of loan deals in the last 15 years or so has I feel become a blight on the game and when such high-profile stars such as Lukaku and Moses are “on loan” it makes a mockery of the whole system.

To loan players within the same league perverts the supposed fairness of the game. Why is it seen as acceptable for a player to play against all of your rivals but not against the loaning club? I admit that Sunderland AFC have been as active as any in taking loans, but as a loanee club we are always on a loser.

If the player is any good then yes, we have had a season or half a season out of him, but then the parent club sees the potential and takes them back with thanks.This has happened with Downing, Evans, Welbeck and Rose over recent years and only last season with Ki and Alonso. This year looks like being no different.

Loans of young players to lower division clubs might seem like a good idea but also is unfair, leading “big clubs” to stockpile talent knowing they can be farmed out to grateful lesser teams (in Chelsea’s case I think they have well over 20 players on loan throughout Europe).

Another danger is that this becomes seen as the norm, so that people like Greg Dyke (Boo!) can suggest the takeover of smaller clubs by Premiership teams in order to aid the development of young English players. Total anathema.

I know it’s not going to happen, but if a limit on the number of players attached to one club were made, then maybe more players would serve their apprenticeship in the lower leagues and earn their clubs some transfer money if they look like making the grade.

This would also prevent the big boys from hoovering up all the talent.

CAMPO RETRO - Sunderland retro football shirts

Also surely it’s time that no loans were permitted between clubs in the same league as it contradicts the essence of fair play. Despite this I’ll still be cheering on Vergini, Coates and Alvarez but in Coates’s case it’s just not fair.

The power of the few has corrupted the game and will continue to do so until there’s agreement that genuine competition is best. I won’t hold my breath.

See also:

* Neil Atkinson: Fabio Borini – the authorised version

* John McCormick: Wearied by the Borini saga, wondering whether we’re better off

* Pete Sixsmith: a long-sufferer’s view through the window as it slammed shut

* Monsieur Salut at ESPN: How did SAFC do in the window?


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15 thoughts on “Gambles’ Rambles: cheering ‘our’ Liverpool man, but the loan system is wrong”

  1. I didn’t know about the Parma situation Brian, but anything to do with Fair Play should also include restrictions on numbers surely?

    It depends of course, whether the Fair Play initiative is intended to produce more fairness of just trying to create the impression that all is in hand.

  2. If you want to see the most obvious abuse of the Loan system go and check out the 60+ players that Parma F.C. have out on loan – surely there has to be something corrupt about this use of the system (my opinion only) – time it was given a complete overhaul.

  3. It’s little wonder that Wonga are sponsoring shirts these days Drummer.

    Welbeck came with a 5M loan tag. That;’s leasing and not loaning. Even more aggravating was the notion that Borini’s agent was asking for a clause which would allow him to be sold at the end of the season for less than he was being signed for this week. Agents are jumping on this gravy train as they always do. That’s effectively paying a loan fee and deferring it to somewhere else. End of the season he moves relatively cheaply to somewhere in Italy and then back to England the following season with him/his agent taking a %age of the additional fee over what QPR sold him for.

    The only good thing about any of this is that it very close to the point of all going pear shaped. It can’t continue in this vein for a whole lot longer.

    • And when eventually it does go toes up we’ll be stronger placed than most , the books should be ballanced by the end of this season I read .

  4. It’s not even a loan in most cases, not how we would understand a loan anyway . The players are rented out, usually not cheaply and that’s before the percentage of wages paid by both teams are discussed . I think most of our loans have been honest loans , in a way that the loan benefitted both clubs and the player . I foresee though the bigger clubs buying players simply with a view of renting them out for a couple of seasons then selling them for a healthy fee to a club desperate to sign them , probably us ! It all seems a bit seedy to be honest , but I fear its becoming a reality .

  5. Let’s face it: the big 7 are calling the shots here and the ‘loanee system’ is designed to work for their benefit.

    When one considers Sunderland and their fellow strugglers, they very much do resemble ‘minor league’ feeder teams: a collection of players made up of largely journeymen, with a few young bucks, a sprinkling of over-the-hill names and the odd reclamation project thrown in for good measure. But if a couple of loanees can help Sunderland avoid circling the annual relegation drain, so much the better. Of course, in the long run loan players are of no use in building the team. It’s solely a stopgap measure.

    The sad thing is Borini will spend the season picking splinters out of his backside riding the bench (that is if he even makes the bench), when he could have been improving his game, and being feted as a star at Sunderland. Yeah, I realize he would have had to once again rub shoulders with a bunch of ham-and-eggers, with the prize being mid-table mediocrity. I suppose that doesn’t compare to being surrounded by star players, and being part of a ‘big team’, even if you’re left looking on from the sidelines.

  6. Excellent article Ken. The loan system is no longer a loan system at all but another means for the wealthier bigger clubs to grow wealthier and bigger. It’s been allowed to prosper though due to the acquiescence of those clubs borrowing players in the first place. It has grown to the point where the likes of SAFC seem to be incapable of survival without it.

    I would be reluctant to see loaned players turning out against their parent clubs for all sorts of reasons. We live in an age where all kinds of skullduggery is going on and we shouldn’t create situations where fair play is compromised even further.

    What sickens me with the current state of play is the way in which the richest clubs are now using the loan system to simply increase the value of an asset that hasn’t even played in their own team. Chelsea are the obvious example doing this. Take Van Aanholt for example. In the 30 man original squad for Holland and yet had been farmed out for three seasons from Chelsea. It’s immoral. Any player good enough to be in the first 30 for Holland in any year should not be a bit part player loaned out all over Europe in pursuit of profit. It’s well paid, but little more than modern day slavery.

  7. Agree with most of the article but I have some sympathy with Dyke (boo!).

    The Premier League set up does not meet aspirations of the FA and the England team. Why should it? Totally different “business” models. Most clubs have foreign ownership so the England factor is well down their list of priorities.

    The likes of Richards, Rodwell, Sinclair and Milner languishing in Man City reserves must worry the FA.

    In the current climate a loan system is the only way forward for these guys who are stuck. Heaven forbid a feeder club system.

    • I’m sorry but cannot understand how you have sympathy for Dyke (who was the person who advocated a feeder system) and then say “Heaven forbid a feeder club system”.

      To me, that is the only thing I can remember him suggesting and so fail to comprehend your point.,

    • “The likes of Richards, Rodwell, Sinclair and Milner languishing in Man City reserves must worry the FA.”

      – I wonder. Isn’t the inability to pay off a vastly over cost Wembley (not to mention filling it) only thing worrying the FA ? Why else play every game possible there? Anything else – World cup failure, Premiership dominance, financial skulduggery, owners with trophy clubs, fit and properness, doesn’t seem to be on their horizon

      “In the current climate a loan system is the only way forward for these guys who are stuck. Heaven forbid a feeder club system.”

      – I disagree. They could move on at the end of their contracts. They’ll never have money worries if they invest wisely and avoid rapacious agents, so why not go where they can get a game? If a few good players did that the everyday clubs would get good players and the player-hoarding ones would get a message.

  8. Chelsea’s number of loanees is around 35 I think, or that may have been last season? I agree it’s absurd though and there should be a limit on how many players you can own. Who wins exactly? Not English football as many of them will never get a chance at Chelsea anyway.

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