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Old 5th January 2008, 17:00   #1
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Default Let the shopping begin

Let the shopping begin
by Steve Wilson - Match of the Day 03 January 2008

Some football managers are rather like last-minute Christmas shoppers this time of year.

You know how on Christmas Eve everybody suddenly panics and buys fifteen loaves of bread to see them through the twenty four hours during which the shops are shut? The temptation to buy players in the transfer window just because you can - just in case - seems to be irresistible.

So it is that Nicolas Anelka and Dimitar Berbatov have become January’s must-have accessories for the manager who has just about everything already.

Many bosses would go along with Steve Coppell who has made his dislike of the transfer window clear, but for some it has meant nothing less than salvation.

Harry Redknapp is the best example. Two seasons ago Portsmouth sacked Alain Perrin and appointed Harry three weeks before the January window opened, having won only two of their first fifteen games.

Harry got to work. In came Pamarot, Mendes, Davis and Routledge from Spurs, Dean Kiely from Charlton, Benjani from France, Andres D’Allesandro from Germany and Koroman and Olasidebe for good measure.

It took the new boys a month or so to settle. Pompey fans were sweating and expecting the worst. Then suddenly it all clicked into place. What had seemed like a last desperate throw of the dice turned out to be a masterstroke, as twenty points from their last ten games kept them up.

Not all deals done in the window turn out so well.

At Chelsea there was a Christmas ritual under Jose Mourinho. The Special One would purse his lips and face the camera all square-jawed and stubbly before pronouncing that he would not be doing business when the window opened.

The second part of the ritual was the mid-January unveiling of a new player. Step forward Jiri Jarosik and Maniche, neither likely to feature on Mourinho’s CV of inspired signings as he hawks his wares around Europe’s elite.

Mind you, given that Jarosik came from CSKA Moscow do you think it is just possible that Abramovic not Mourinho was the driving force behind the deal?

This transfer window will be seen as a gauge of just how much of a future Sam Allardyce has at Newcastle; of whether Rafa Benitez and the American owners have really buried the hatchet; and of whether Derby believe they can still stay up.

As usual the biggest winners will be the players and their agents; and of course the media, which thrives on the gossip after four fallow months.

And who says that the money doesn’t trickle down the divisions anymore?

Horsham striker Carl Rook was recently lured into joining Ryman’s Premier Division rivals Tonbridge Angels by the promise of matchday luxury beyond his wildest dreams.

Rook told Horsham’s local paper, the West Sussex County Times: “I liked the look of the set up on offer at Tonbridge. They look after the little things, like giving us pasta after the game.”

Now I wonder if Berbatov could be tempted by tagliatelle?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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