August 8th, 2019

Transfer Deadline Day’s Maddest Moments

Transfer Deadline Day is almost upon us.

With it comes the iconic images of yellow ties, fancy graphics on Sky Sports News and Jim White waving his phone around claiming to have a text from an unnamed club chairman containing exclusive bits of gossip. (Put it away Jim, you’re meant to be working.)

Premier League clubs have once again have voted for the transfer window to close before the start of the season.

The window “slams shut” at 5pm on Thursday. Until that time agents around the country are rushing around trying to get their client a new club. Or just driving the length of the country just hoping they can get their “lifelong dream” move to QPR.

When did this obsession start?

Newly oil-rich Manchester City bought Robinho on the final day of the window in 2008 and there has been this weird obsession with transfer deadline day ever since.

Radios, TV stations and podcasts all over the land cancel their regularly scheduled programming to bring you images of training ground gates and freezing cold reporters in car parks. Or, in the case of Everton’s Finch Farm Base, mysterious purple objects getting thrust into an unsuspecting journalist’s ear (Google it).

But does anything really happen on a day that, if you only listened to Sky, should be the most dramatic day of the football season? Let’s take a look at some of the maddest/best:

Peter Odemwingie West Brom to QPR (sort of), 2013:

In a move that then-West Brom manager Steve Clark branded “total lunacy”, Nigerian forward and apparent M40 super-fan Peter Odemwingie took it upon himself to make the 250-mile round trip from The Hawthorns to Loftus Road. He was denied entry by staff at QPR’s ground claiming that there was no deal agreed between the two clubs and that he should go home.

He did, and 24 hours later was hit with a fine of two weeks wages and forced to make a public apology for his “unprofessional behaviour” before leaving the club at the end of the season after a number of Twitter tirades.

Because this is probably the maddest thing that’s ever happened on Deadline Day, I shall henceforth use that as a scale with which to judge other Deadline Day happenings known as the Odemwingie Meter.

Odemwingie-Meter 5/5

Siege Of Boston, 3:20 @ Chelmsford, 2017:

Bear with me on this one as it’s not really about a footballer, transfer, or even a human being, but it’s suitably mad so it makes the list.

Owned by West Ham United forward Diafra Sakho’s agent Mark McKay, 4-year-old Siege of Boston was taking part in a seven-furlong handicap at the North East London race track.

Whilst putting the finishing touches to a move to Rennes, McKay decided to take his client to watch the race.

Clearly, the horse had no regard for the stresses of Deadline Day and bolted home at odds of 9/2. Sakho eventually got his move in the following window after an injury-hit season.

Interestingly enough for West Ham fans, also in the race was The Happy Hammer though it was an eventual non-runner. I say interestingly… *eye roll emoji*

Odemwingie-Meter: 2/5

David DeGea vs The Fax Machine, 2015:

Spanish keeper De Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for what seems like forever. In August 2015, it would have happened, if not for a dodgy piece of office equipment.

It looked as if the fee had been agreed. In addition, Keylor Navas was on his way to Manchester in exchange and £29m would be deposited in the Glazer’s account.

What followed was a game of “he said/she said” between United and the Spanish giants. As a result, DeGea was dropped by then manager Louis Van Gaal for the first few games of the season.

I realise that those of a certain age will have absolutely no idea what a fax machine is. Just imagine a really massive version of Whatsapp that you have to plug into the wall, okay?

Odemwingie-Meter: 4/5

Steven Gerrard. Liverpool to Chelsea (Nearly), 2005:

This one hurt you know.

I remember being 15 years old, Liverpool had just won the European Cup for the 5th time and life was peachy… until it wasn’t.

Just a month after lifting that famous trophy, Gerrard did the unthinkable and handed in a transfer request.

15 year old me was gutted, and so were loads of other people, in fairness.

What’s worse was that he was going to Chelsea, how could he?! Eventually, he saw sense and remained at Anfield for the rest of his career (LA Galaxy doesn’t count, right?)

Odemwingie-Meter: 0/5 – This one’s getting two scores. 0 because it didn’t happen on transfer deadline day and 5/5 because it was absolutely bananas.

By Jonny Houghton