Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Scrap the crazy transfer window

Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis

Tony Pulis is a manager I have a lot of time and respect for.

To give the West Bromwich Albion chief his proper title, he is a very underrated head coach. The Welshman has done a good job virtually everywhere he has worked and sometimes on a shoestring of a budget.

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Pulis is an experienced campaigner who knows how to maximise his resources and get the best out of the talent at his disposal. He has assembled an excellent squad at The Hawthorns and frankly couldn’t give a monkey’s whether the punters enjoy watching his team. (For the record, I think WBA’s style of play has evolved and become more attractive under him this season.)

Pulis is an engaging character and he doesn’t beat around the bush.

I found myself nodding in approval with everything he said in his post-match interview on Match of The Day regarding the January transfer market after their 1-1 midweek draw with Middlesbrough.

“Well it’s a ridiculous window,” he said. “I’m not a fan of these windows. I think we should have an open market until a certain date like we used to.

“But it would be no good for TV, papers and everything else, because it is a fishing frenzy. I don’t like it.”

Pulis is so right. There should be no restriction of trade. Let’s just go back to the good old days when clubs could buy players whenever they want.

The situation at Ashton Gate was farcical on Tuesday night. A complete joke.

Where is the sense in scheduling Premier League and Championship fixtures on deadline day? Pulis branded the decision “ridiculous” and “crazy”.

“To put games on the last day of the deadline is extraordinary,” said Pulis.

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It is true that managers are less involved in the negotiations of transfers than they used to be but the deadline puts unnecessary stress on them when they should be fully focused on preparing the team for battle. The Owls finally signed Jordan Rhodes - 14 hours after the 11pm cut-off point had passed and they had drawn at Bristol City. The window creates instability where there was clarity.

As ex-Wednesday boss Gary Megson pointed out nearly a decade ago, the market is “unfair”.

“If a haulage company wanted a new lorry and someone said in September you cannot have one until January, you are not allowed to do those kind of things,” he said. “Yet football clubs are told they have to do their business in a certain time, not when they would like to do it.”

I’m sick of the mad late rush to do deals. Teams should be able to do business when it suits them.

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