NCFC Transfer Woes.
Woe is me! Woe is me – as phrase that just about sums up the local media's reaction to Norwich City's FA Cup result at Blackpool.
Having achieved a creditable draw away from home, the players were, perhaps, a trifle unlucky to find the press bemoaning the injuries and suspensions picked up instead of looking forward to the replay. Bottom of the Barrel Reached, should have been the EDP's headline. NCFC have so few players available for selection they may have to scour the local parks to get a side out tomorrow.
Hang on! Wasn't it only the other day the press were reporting Gruntie Grantie as promising three or four new players before the transfer deadline? That story seems to have disappeared faster than a Glaswegian's wallet on a Saturday night out down the Gorbals.
Why is this? Transfer fees – that's the perceived wisdom.
Rubbish. Transfer fees are irrelevant. Transfer fees are simply part of the cost of doing business. Transfer fees are only part of the cost ( a small part!) of running a football club. In terms of getting players, they are meaningless. Unless your new signing decides to hang himself from the goal post by his shoelaces or go skydiving without a parachute, what you pay out in transfer fees is simply recouped when players are sold on. That is provided the club has sufficient management skills not to place themselves in a position where players' contracts expire and they are allowed to just walk away for free.
Ah, that's the Norwich City way, I hear you sigh!
Facts are – going right back to the days of Justin Fashnau and Kevin Reeves – NCFC have always sold players for lots more than they were worth. Good business! Only recently they have continued this trend by unloading Dean Ashton before he got injured. Good call!
So, what is the problem?
Wages. It's that simple. If you pay the players – they will come. This the Board steadfastly refuses to recognise. If you want quality players you have to pay quality wages. Dopey Doncaster and St, Delia just won't let go of the cash. Because, unlike transfer fees, there is no way to recoup wages except by winning football matches and reaching the promised land of the Premiership. See? Causes more problems than it's worth!
Result? Already the media are talking up a relegation fight – instead of looking forward to a plum home draw for the next round of the Cup.
That's the kind of optimism that encouraged Haig to attack at Paschendale. and the Spartans to defend Thermopolae.