Transfers: Many have opinions, few have the fax

Swindon fan (and former County Ground employee) Nick Judd hops on the merry-go-round...

No sooner had Swindon’s signing of goalkeeper David Lucas been confirmed than Town forumistas were hijacking Leeds discussion boards to find out what Whites fans thought of their departing custodian.

But it’s not always the best method of researching potential new stars…

Take Ipswich fans and ‘Super’ Sam Parkin. Had they asked us what we thought of him when he signed for Town four years ago, we would have given him a ringing endorsement.

But I sat in the Ipswich end at QPR and was staggered to find the fans slaughtering the former darling of the County Ground.

It was only his second game. And he scored.

"Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" 

So Leeds fans, forgive me if I ignore such pithy comments as “He’s abysmal at best” and “He’s sh*te” and form my own opinion, thanks.

There are so many factors that determine whether or not a player succeeds at a specific club – including whether they’re happy in the area and in their home life.

Talking of Parkin, I remember his signing well, because the then Town boss Andy King would ask me and other staff members to ferry the young striker to and from his hotel room when required.

Sam didn’t live too far away and usually only stayed in a hotel when there were back-to-back training sessions.

But you can imagine a young player moving to Swindon, being put up in a hotel on his own, not knowing anyone in the area and spending his hours away from the club watching pay-per-view on his tod.

Football’s not always as glamorous as it looks.

The transfer merry-go-round was one of the most exciting times of the season when I was working at the club.

The manager was always more relaxed shopping for players than when having to contend with the rigours of the season itself, and you would be in a privileged position knowing of impending transfers, or seeing players milling around the office or training ground.

Not all of them signed, of course, but it was exciting to be one of the first to know what was happening.

The most frustrating thing was not being able to tell anyone! It would be hard trying not to spill the beans to friends on various forums.

In fact, that was one of the most frustrating parts of working for the club. While newspapers and bloggers could speculate and report on potential moves, we could only report the facts, which only came as a result of a player dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.

We’d often be the first to know, but the last to say…

"I suppose we better announce it on the website" 

The best day, without doubt, was transfer deadline day.

Remarkably, all transfers were (and still are) conducted via fax, and I remember once sitting in STFC’s office waiting for one such fax to show up before the deadline – 6pm in those days – so that our player could be registered.

It did, he was, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Would it have been dramatic if an email was required?

Perhaps not, but then that’s half the fun. Maybe the bods at the Football League do it for precisely that reason – deadline day must be a riot in their office!

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