The Grimsby Town FC


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The Unfair Window

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 05/08/2009

WHAT is the point of the transfer window in League Two? Under the window clubs are restricted from buying players except during the summer and in the month of January. The reality is it actually stops the smaller teams from cashing in on their better players.

I think the reasoning behind the window is to stop teams buying their way out of trouble midway through the season. But the reality is teams can get a large number of players in on loan (the exact number you are allowed seems to go up every year), which amounts to an even more blatant attempt to strengthen the team during periods of crisis.

Grimsby are a case in point. Town spent a huge amount of money last season buying their way out of trouble by getting loan players in in the spring. This was exactly the sort of thing which the transfer window was supposed to stop. Don't get me wrong I was overjoyed that Town did what they did, but it does show what a nonsense the rules of our game have become.

The authorities can't have it both ways. On one hand they stop you signing players to avoid teams buying their way out of trouble. On the other hand they allow loads of short term loanees to boost a team's chances of success.

Like most rulings in recent years the transfer window seems to favour the bigger clubs, and that's the real reason for this strange contradiction. It means big clubs can now get players when their contracts expire in the summer, having secretly negotiated deals in the prior months. No longer do they have to pay the selling club a transfer fee to avoid someone else signing him while he is available on the free market. The result is the smaller clubs lose out - yet again.

Now instead of buying players when they need them the big teams can afford to stockpile loads of extra players and let them some of them out on loan until they are required, or they suddenly improve and get in the first team.

I'd love someone to challenge this ruling like Bosman did. If my employer told me I could only move to another company during the month of August, and that I could not give in my notice at any other time other than a few weeks in January I would not be happy.

Another ruling which favours the bigger clubs is the fact that seven substitutes can be named this season. Gradually, with each of these rule changes, our game is creeping towards one which favours a small number of elite teams.

I wish they would stop interfering with football.

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