TRANSFER WINDOW AND DEMONSTRATION OF FAITH
Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you”. And he promised her with an oath, “whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom”. She went out and said to her mother, “what shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist”, she answered. At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter”. The king was greatly depressed, but because of his oath and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl and she gave it to her mother. (Mark 6: 21-28)
Can we learn anything from this story in relations to the transfer market? My thoughts on this latter.
You must have seen the headlines: “Chelsea snatched Salah”, “Manure stole Mata” etc. Today the transfer window will shut close not to be opened until summer. Moans of ‘wisdom’ from the usual suspects are “Would it not be wise for AW to buy”… Draxler and Manduzic and Morata and Pogba and …er, any player whose name is not too long for the new Puma kit or too difficult to spell and pronounce now before it’s too late?
It does not really matter if they are better than the players currently in the team or not. Just buy, buy, spend some f***ing money and buy. Buy now before chelski and oilers or manure (for that matter) ‘outwit’ and ‘outspend’ Arsene Wenger. Buy now before our two Poles, Mertercienly, the British core, Ozil, Giroud, Poddy and NB52 all get injured. Buy Zzzzzzz….!
Well, do you just buy a player because you have the money? Or because all your competitors are buying? Or because it’s attractive, in vogue and media friendly? Do you really, really need to buy because of buying? Oh I see, on football manager, it is fun to buy all the star players just to deprive other teams their services.
Here’s a few things I learnt from the story above about the transfer market.
- Timing of the transfer window makes it ‘a now or never’ occasion when something big must happen. AW’s view on this is consistent.
- A club may buy a player just for bragging rights only. I once heard a certain club owner who bought a particular player as birthday gift for his son against the wish of the team’s manager. So simply because a girl danced, somebody must lose his head.
- Some clubs do have misplaced priorities and simply do not know ‘value’ when it comes to players transfer. I think “half of the kingdom is better than the lifeless head of a man”
- Unlike AW, some managers gave in to ridiculous ‘popular demands’ of dinner guests like the media, pundits, fans like AAA and selfish club board/owners to buy unwanted ‘stars’ and ‘names’. Those managers, like the king in the story, knew the decision was wrong but because of the ‘dinner guests’, he must act to save face.
- So what would Herodias, the girl’s mother do with John’s head? Would she use it for ‘pepper soup’? Would she decorate her cabinet with it? Or would she just say ‘hey guys beware, I can get anybody killed’.
While I do not mean to say team strengthening is wrong, buying a player outside of football reasoning is wrong.
However, the transfer window imho is all about faith. Other words I would like to use interchangeably with faith are believe and trust.
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A manager buys a player because he has faith that the incoming player is an improvement to his team. While he sells off another because he had lost faith in the player’s ability to impart positively on the team. Whereas for another ‘deadwood’ player, the manager may stubbornly refuse to let go in faith that he would come good.
A player moves to a new club either because he has lost faith in the ambition of his present club as some ‘little children’ within him may have suggested or because he (and probably his agents and family) now has faith in the higher pays on offer by the new club (a certain bloke robbing van of purses comes to mind). On rare occasions, a player’s faith in his club, manager and teammates makes him turn down overtures from clubs with a ‘bottomless’ pit of petrol money.
A player’s movement may also be because he’s lost faith in his own ability to come good in his present club. Fans of course may hinder or help his decision one way or the other. So when fans start calling for the heads of some players in the club they claim to support, while worshipping the various YouTube clips of their ‘idols’ from other clubs, you know where their faiths lie.
The media, pundits and self-serving bloggers are not too different from the agents in this equation. Their faith is not so much in the quality of the player as it is in the ‘hits’ on their sites, hype and money generated by transfer rumours.
Like religious faith, transfer window faith must be respected. You may not see the sense in the mode of worship of the other guy and vice versa but you must not force your faith on others. It is commonplace however to see people embracing other faiths based on their convictions over time without being pressured. This has made some fans to stop ‘worshipping’ in the media temple and to join pro movements like Untold Arsenal and very few other fan groups who support the team, players and manager. I am one of such untold converts.
In all honesty, I never knew who exactly Arsenal should buy or when and at what price. Pardon my ignorance, but it’s not my job. I may think I know but do I know as much as the manager? Except if I claim that I have the same years of professional and managerial experience as Prof. Wenger, and if that was true, I should be the manager of Arsenal FC now and not him. I have never seen any Arsenal player in person before yet I wish to be seen as being more knowledgeable than the man that sees them on and off the pitch almost on daily basis for years. Come on, have some respect!
So I let the leader lead and simply follow my leader. If AW feels he needs a player so be it and if he feels otherwise, he deserves nothing but utmost regard for his decisions.
In Arsene I Trust.
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