News, views and gossip from the magnificent 72
Phew. The transfer window has finally closed (or “slammed shut” if you worship at the Church of Jim White), and talk of Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres has died down. Well, one out of two ain’t bad…
If you’re as fed up of hearing the petty details of the outrageous dealings of yesterday as the rest of us, you may be interested to know that the Football League does indeed exist. Madness.
The transfer window offered a flurry of activity in all three divisions for the 72 other clubs that managed to drop off the radar on deadline day, with several surprising – and often impressive - acquisitions putting pen to paper throughout the course of the month.
Have no fear League One and League Two, we certainly haven’t forgotten about you - we‘ll be rounding up the movement from the third and fourth tiers later in the week. But here’s a brief round-up of each team’s dealings in the Championship for January...
Mid-table hopefuls Barnsley picked up two Premier League loanees on deadline day with the captures of Franck Nouble and youngster Jacob Mellis from West Ham and Chelsea respectively. Danny Haynes joined midway through the month from Championship rivals Bristol City, hitting a brace against Doncaster in only his second match for the Tykes.
Staggering Bristol City endured a quiet month until deadline day, with the entrance door swinging open only for highly-rated Scunthorpe midfield Martyn Woolford and Wolves loanee Andy Keogh. The arrival of Woolford should help to reignite a somewhat stagnant City side that have now gone four-and-a-half hours of Championship football without scoring.
Woolford will look to boost Bristol City's disappointing season
If fans at Ashton Gate thought their window had been quiet, spare a thought for fans of Coventry, who saw nobody arrive at the Ricoh despite a customary slide down the table after a horrible run of eight without victory in the Championship.
Another side enduring a disappointing fall down the league ladder are Derby, who were also reasonably innocuous throughout the course of the month. The Rams saw star midfielder Kris Commons depart to Celtic for a nominal fee, bringing in only Notts County midfielder Ben Davies and Liverpool youngster Daniel Ayala to aid their survival bid. Expectations are seemingly low at Pride Park.
East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest enjoyed a constructive transfer window, securing the services of Sheffield Wednesday striker Marcus Tudgay and American international striker Robbie Findley on a permanent basis. But without doubt the best piece of business for manager Billy Davies was the capture of Liverpool left-back Paul Konchesky on loan until the end of the campaign. That’s right Forest fans you heard it correct, a left-back.
Alongside the Reds aiming to battle for an automatic promotion spot are Cardiff, who also appear to have used the window wisely in their efforts to overhaul Norwich and QPR from the top of the pile. There was a homecoming for young Arsenal starlet Aaron Ramsey, who rejoined the Bluebirds on loan, along with fellow Gunners hopeful Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Dave Jones also picked up Preston powerhouse Jon Parkin for a miserly £100,000 in a tidy deal for the Welsh outfit.
Paul Lambert was quiet in his bid to keep Norwich in the top two, retaining the services of Henri Lansbury on loan, along with the capture of West Brom Leon Barnett on a permanent deal.
New Burnley manager Eddie Howe tied down the services of the sought-after Charlie Austin from Swindon, while Watford utilised the loan market to bring in Danny Drinkwater (Manchester United), Andros Towsend (Tottenham) and Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) from Premier League sides.
Keeping up? Good. Fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds made Andy O’Brien’s loan switch from Bolton permanent, while also bringing in Manchester City goalkeeper David Gonzales on a short-term deal, and taking former £6.5 million man George McCartney (I know, I know) back to Elland Road on loan for the rest of the season, having previously borrowed the Ulsterman from Sunderland for three months earlier this season.
Millwall turned to both youth and experience as Kenny Jackett swooped for Bournemouth hit Josh McQuoid and Arsenal youngster Craig Eastmond, as well as securing the services of the evergreen Darren Purse from Sheffield Wednesday. Reading also looked to the lower leagues in search of the talent of tomorrow, picking up bullish Hereford forward Matheiu Manset and Swindon defender Sean Morrison.
Manset was highly regarded at Hereford - can he make the step up?
Arrivals to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium came in the form of West Brom striker Luke Moore, Exeter’s Ryan Harley and former Swan Leon Britton, while there was also the deadline day snaring of Burnley defender David Edgar on loan.
Top-of-the-table QPR looked to add the final additions to get their noses over the promotion line, adding the useful loan signings of Wayne Routledge and Ishmael Miller, as well as the ever-temperamental Pascal Chimbonda on a permanent basis - or at least as permanent as a deal for the club-hopping, glove-wearing Guadalupian can be...
At the bottom, a storm of activity swept through the relegation-threatened sides, most notably at Scunthorpe where no fewer than eight new faces arrived at Glanford Park. The loan capture of Forest striker Joe Garner is perhaps the pick of the bunch, along with Norwich centre-back Michael Nelson. Bottom club Preston secured experience stalwarts Ian Ashbee and Nathan Ellington, along with journeyman striker Leon Clarke.
Crystal Palace were also busy in Dougie Freedman’s first window in charge, retaining Everton striker James Vaughan on loan along with the permanent acquisitions of Jermaine Easter, Alex Marrow, Dean Moxey and former Spurs man Steffen Iversen.
Unlikely strugglers Middlesbrough also left nothing to chance despite a summer of big-spending, recruiting German midfielder Maximilian Haas from Bayern Munich and Moroccan flair man Merouane Zemmama from Hibernian.
Micky Adams set to work to rebuild his floundering Sheffield United side, capturing former England Under-21 left-back Joe Mattock on loan from West Brom, along with the seasoned pairing of Marcus Bent and Michael Doyle from Birmingham and Coventry respectively.
Looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack, Ipswich’s new boss Paul Jewell brought in Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard - one of his former charges at Wigan - on loan until the end of the campaign in one of the more eye-catching deals of the window. Alongside them, Portsmouth secured the permanent services of seven-goal man Liam Lawrence, also snaring the loan services of Greg Halford, Ritchie de Laet and Jonathan Hogg at Fratton Park.
Doncaster handed a loan opportunity to promising Glenn Hoddle academy graduate Ryan Burge, along with once sought-after Sunderland centre-back Matthew Kilgallon.
But perhaps the most intriguing pieces of business in the Championship during the January window were to be found at promotion chasing Leicester and Hull respectively. With both blessed with the injection of funds from new foreign ownership, the duo pounced to secure the deals which now stand them in useful stead for a final play-off push.
Sven ponders an unsurprisingly busy month for Leicester City
Matty Fryatt swapped the Walkers for the KC, while Tigers chief Nigel Pearson also added Peterborough striker Aaron Maclean to bolster his forward line. The deadline day capture of Manchester United loanee Cameron Stewart also looks promising after a string of useful displays for the Yorkshire outfit.
Sven-Goran Eriksson also continued his work on building his promotion-chasing Leicester side, adding the intriguing deadline day acquisition of former Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo to join loanees Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea) and Ben Mee (Manchester City) at the Walkers Stadium.
But unquestionably the Foxes’ - and probably the Championship’s - finest deal of the window was securing the services of Everton striker Yakubu on loan until the end of the campaign. The Nigeria international has already delighted Foxes fans with two goals in his opening two fixtures.
While some sides are fortunate enough to have the backing of wealthy owners at the top, many others are not. Several sides may have made modest additions to their squads, but simply put, ultimately could prove the difference between promotion and relegation. Few sides have unleashed their financial wings in January, instead relying on the loan market and nominal deals to help them cross their respective lines.
It is a formula which has worked wonders on several occasions, but one which naturally must come with a sprinkling of luck along the way. Chairmen, managers and fans across the nation will be desperate for their window captures to produce the goods, hoping that maybe, just maybe, it will be their year. Unless you’re Coventry, of course.
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