Alan Biggs at Large: Loan rangers are all the rage

Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile
Alan Bigg Telegraph Web Tile

By the time you read this, anything could have happened - and still could in the remaining hours, minutes and seconds up to a certain window creaking closed.

You never know, some club somewhere might even have made a permanent signing.

Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Ath....Owls Jeremy Helan

Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Ath....Owls Jeremy Helan

Remember those? To remind you, these were fee-paying transfers in which the amounts were revealed - as opposed to the now routine “undisclosed” tag which is just plain wrong in these days of alleged “financial transparency.”

Why, we might even have had players signing two, three or even four-year contracts in moving to new clubs.

The players are still willing to make those commitments but most clubs outside the top flight simply can’t.

Neither is there any certainty in the lives of the managers who sign the players.

Everybody is on trial, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. Year to year? Forget it.

So it begs the question: How can any club, any manager build anything for the future in this blessed system?

And don’t feel too sorry for the players because here’s the irony for them... freedom of contract, exploited by greed at the top of the game, means they can move all over the place and yet, for most, this has stripped away any sense of security.

As for the clubs, they have brought much of it on themselves.

The most financially transparent thing to see through that window - which doesn’t have to be disclosed by anyone because it is now in plain view - is that the 72 Football League clubs are collectively £1 billion in debt.

But it won’t stop them borrowing when it comes to transfers.

Oh no. Except that it will just be loan after loan after loan.

Are Chelsea reaping what they sow?

I think Eden Hazard kicked much more of the ball than the boy. Take your pick. For me, the FA are going OTT in adding to the Chelsea star’s three-match ban.

But where I’m not excusing Hazard is that it’s probably the antics of his sort that made the boy behave in such an outrageous manner. All the play-acting and theatrics came back to haunt Hazard at the Liberty Stadium during Swansea’s rightful passage to the final of the Capital One Cup. The sprawling, time-wasting (by his own admission) ball boy, pictured, does not merit any more exposure than he has already lapped up. But it was poetic justice of a sort that Hazard was sent off and I can think of no more deserving victims of what was arguably a miscarriage of justice than Chelsea.

Oh, and they might like to remember it the next time they try pinning a referee up against a wall.

Politics must take back seat to sport

Don’t know about the politics, haven’t a clue about the costs. All I do know is that the Don Valley Stadium is a powerful symbol of a sporting city.

Take it away and so much of the impetus of a fantastic year will be lost. How much is that worth on the debit side of the balance sheet? Well, it seems to me you can’t put a value on Sheffield having first-class athletics facilities.

This, after all, is the home of Jessica Ennis. Her legacy will be a human one in terms of sheer inspiration but you have to put bricks and mortar around it to provide a focal point for young athletes, both to compete and watch.

DVS seems to have been underused and undersold since it was built for the World Student Games in 1991. But the framework of a great venue remains in place. Surely there must be better ways to assess its future than to discuss closing it.

Blades and Owls make smart moves

Strikers are all the rage but, for my money, nabbing players such as Jeremy Helan and Barry Robson is as good as it gets in Championship terms.

That’s why it won’t have been such a bad old window for the Sheffield clubs, barring a late jolt - and I don’t include the apparent Nick Blackman move from the Blades to Reading as anything on that scale.

Much as some Blades fans will baulk at another sale, how do you stop a player jumping from League One to the Premiership? The other reality is that - like even-keel Sheffield Wednesday too - United have to offload before they can recruit. It’s the reason why the market has been so bunged up.

All the more reason to applaud the moves for Helan and Robson, two players at opposite ends of the age spectrum but both pure quality. Manchester City youngster Helan is quick and clever with a great delivery from the left flank. Re-loaning him until the end of the season is great business for Owls boss Dave Jones.

Equally, Robson - whose move to Bramall Lane was pending as the Telegraph went to press - is a high calibre recruit. The 34-year-old former Celtic and Middlesbrough midfielder should help take some of the creative load off the over-burdened Kevin McDonald.

Salute shovellers!

Hats off to the Hatters - and the Latics too with Oldham joining Luton among the cup giantkillers, including MK Dons and, of course, Capital One Cup finalists Bradford City. But football will always have its unsung heroes.

They tell me groundsman Dave Fellowes worked through a sub-zero night in shorts to get game-on at Rotherham last weekend, aided by an army of snow-shovellers. The superb New York Stadium is also tended by one of the finest. Dave formerly worked for Fulham.

Sadly Steve Evans and his team are lagging some way behind following a 3-1 defeat to bottom team Bristol Rovers.

The curse of the snow-clearers also struck at Chesterfield. They were putting it back in spades last Saturday night!