Dan Brett on the late transfer activity that often sees the ‘fax machine’ at FA headquarters left struggling, asking the question should this method be updated? Read on for more.
In the modern age, which inhabits such technological advances as touch screen telephones, peer-to-peer video conferencing and streaming television on mobile devices, it still bewilders me to how the Football Association operate throughout the transfer window using a fax machine.
The device, mainly used as a primary source of transferring documents from one office to another, was invented by Alexander Bain in the late 1980s, with recent times showing just how outdated the process is, and why the Football League and Premier League should be striving to finalise top transfer dealings on a more modern, fast and accurate system.
Last week we saw the closing of the transfer window, with the usual flurry of late, late deals, no-go moves and of course, Sky Sports News panning over to London as Big Ben struck at six o’clock. Last-gasp transfers for Rafael Van Der Vaart from Real Madrid to Tottenham Hotspur, as well as big name moves for Eidur Gudjohnsen and Robinho both in and out of England brought a huge media spotlight to another frantic day in the football calendar, but it seems that Britain’s ‘smaller clubs’ have seen the harsh side of the signing period.
Transfers for Liam Lawrence to Portsmouth, Tommy Smith and Rob Hulse to QPR as well as a handful within npower divisions one and two see managers across the country having to re-think their first team squads, with the hope that some form of ratification is reached with the FA before their respective matches, in an era which such farce shouldn’t be taking place.
For some of these clubs, these transfers could make or break their season. Being a Portsmouth fan, I can speak first hand at our side’s lack of fire-power and attacking flair, thus the signing of Lawrence from Stoke City is almost vital for any chance we have of surviving what has already, after four games, been a torrid season. The same sits with QPR, whose title chase could be hindered by not having the players that they not only could have, but should have.
For me it’s simple – get with the times. Why can we not get the corporate ‘eggheads’ to make a system in which clubs can scan paperwork from their home bases up to Soho Square, with correspondence from said FA headquarters in a matter of minutes? Why must we always drag on until gone the deadline to know whether a deal can or cannot be ratified for a player to move from one club or another? For some, such a move is life changing, not only for them but also their families.
Of course, there’s always the age old question. Why would Van Der Vaart’s transfer be ratified within days, but the lower league deals take weeks? Is it money motivated? Is it that the Premier League has more precedent over the use of the fax machine than the Football League does? Either way, something has to be sorted, and fast…
Written by Dan Brett.
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