Managers will always tell you they are short of at least one player. Multiply that by several in the case of the thousands of “managers” who support their teams.
But windows deadline day showed, as I warned here last week, that you (whichever type of manager “you” happen to be) simply can’t get what you want. Nowhere near it. And that’s the reality.
Yes, I fully agree with those Sheffield United fans who argue that two “free” signings - and no regular marksman recruited - did not really compensate for the loss of the side’s top scorer. Not when the club must have known Nick Blackman was going for several days in advance.
Yes, Sheffield Wednesday are also short of that elusive extra striker who is better than most of those they have.
But consider this. Fee-paying signings made by the Football League’s 72 member clubs last Thursday numbered... just four. Of those, Bolton and Wolves (both “parachuted” by substantial payments following relegation from the Premier League) accounted for three between them.
It effectively left Gillingham as the ONLY fee-payers of the Football League proper. They bought Leon Legge from Brentford (fee undisclosed, you won’t be surprised to learn).
If that doesn’t put things into perspective nothing will. For me, the Blades will be in decent shape from their dealings if they manage one more influential loan signing - albeit little sign of it - following Blackman’s move to Reading.
While it’s disappointing that none of the fee - thought to rise to £1.2m - was invested, it’s hardly surprising. All clubs are fighting to recover costs following the overspending that has resulted in wage curbs.
Equally, Wednesday were never at the races to buy players in the window. Some deck-clearing to make way for Leroy Lita and Jeremy Helan made for decent business in my book at a time of improving results.
Both clubs still have needs, of course. But here’s the good news. Windows are like buses... there’s always another along in a minute. Hence the lunacy of the system that sees loans (which is now the essence of the market anyway for all those outside the Premiership) permitted again from tomorrow.
Swan is a man worth listening to
Always a pleasure seeing Peter Swan. His debt to society has long been paid and he is, to all who know him, a true gent.
But this week I drove away from visiting the former Sheffield Wednesday and England centre half with a heavy heart.
Not because he disappointed me; Peter was his searingly honest self.
Having already provided a candid autobiography, he again shot from the hip when, on behalf of a national newspaper, I sought his views on the police probe into alleged worldwide football match-fixing.
The lack of surprise was chilling. Swan, one of three Wednesday players jailed in 1964 over a betting scandal, believes there is even more corruption in the game now than then.
“Where there’s money there’ll always be cheating - it’s the root of all evil,” he said. “No matter how much players have got, they’ll do it. I think it’s a regular thing... more than in my day.”
Hope to hell he’s wrong but the horrible thought is that Swan, an avid football watcher on television, could be right. Certainly, the police seem to suspect as much.
Peter is sad for the supporters. Speaking as one, I found much of my love for the game dying as we spoke.
Striker still on Jones’ radar
Transfer guesswork is hazardous but this is based on a firm interest in both players... don’t be surprised if Sheffield Wednesday are linked again with Everton’s Apostolos Zellios and Sunderland’s Connor Wickham in the next few days.
Boss Dave Jones is focusing his loan search on young strikers from the Premier League. He is a confirmed admirer of Zellios and has previously tried to nab Wickham.
There will be others on the list. Maybe the need doesn’t look quite so acute right now but the safety margin is slim and chairman Milan Mandaric seems to prefer recruiting on the up rather than the down.
Gary’s gardening leave nearly done
By my calculations, Gary Megson should just about have completed his “gardening” duties and be off Sheffield Wednesday’s payroll any time now.
Could be timely for any of those many Championship clubs desperate for promotion to the Premier League. I can only think it must have been forgotten that Megson has achieved this before... twice.
Seeing funny side of spelling errors
The autocorrect function on Twitter has become an infernal nuisance - or has it?
I cursed when my first attempt at Chesterfield’s formidably named new French striker Armand Gnanduillet entered the twittersphere as “Armband.”
But it’s caused a fair few laughs since, just as an esteemed colleague will have seen the funny side when his quoting of Doncaster’s caretaker-turned-manager Brian Flynn - who said that “possession is nine tenths of the law” - came out as “nine tents of the law.”
I couldn’t resist a “marquee manager” crack. These are “mistakes” worth making and while we all desperately try to avoid them, I’m secretly looking forward to my next one. Don’t hold your breath, it won’t be lung...
Realist Turner is just telling truth
Chris Turner is being a realist rather than a salesman when he talks up Tendayi Darikwa as a top talent. All clubs know where the best young players are - it’s really no secret.
Others might clam up but Chesterfield’s chief executive knows there’s no point in keeping quiet on something everybody knows about anyway.
The Spireites don’t want to lose their homegrown 21-year-old winger but the plain fact is that - as chairman Dave Allen was honest enough to admit at the recent AGM - they, like most others these days, are “a selling club.”
Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Aston Villa, Wolves and Burnley are among those watching. “When a young player comes on the scene like this he will always attract interest,” says former Sheffield Wednesday player and manager Turner.
“Tendayi has a marvellous temperament as well as the talent to succeed. He’s a quiet personality and very level-headed but with bags of determination.”