I’VE sprained my wrist after a heavy fall playing football and I am having to do everything with my left hand. Less of the sniggering back there. Especially you, Bates. Over the next few days I’ll be keeping it short and slow. Like Paul Okon’s passing. Only hopefully with more of an end product.
So are Boro now officially a big club? The Premier League and FA were prepared to bend the rules for Boro in the early hours of Friday morning and ability to circumvent concrete regulations like that is usually a tell-tale sign of having political critical mass.
Yes, that’s the same Premier League that back in 1997 insisted that rules were rules and there was no room for discretion. The same Premier League that saw nothing untoward in Liverpool inducing a Boro player to break his contract, forcing the club to seek redress in the High Court.
But Boro big? No. That is a misreading of the situation. Boro were just fortunate to be caught in the orbit of the really big clubs. Because you can put Peter Kenyon’s mortgage on the fact that had the Robert Huth deal not be inextricably linked to the brinkmanship over Ashley Cole and William Gallas then the lax and liberal atitude to legislation would not have applied.
Had Boro agreed and completed a deal “in spirit but not in law” with, say Ipswich, but not got the other club’s signature on the registration clearance form do you think the deal would still have been recognised? No way. If it had been ten minutes late the deal would not have stood. And rightly so. That is what makes it a deadline. You either have a deadline or you don’t.
Dozens of moves may have failed because clubs couldn’t complete the paperwork by the previously impregnable midnight cut-off point. But hey, don’t worry. If they are complete “in spirit” just fax them in anyway, they will go thorough. Chelsea and Arsenal have invented transfer deadline stoppage time.
There is no question that the rule bending for two of the biggest political players in the Premier League – the creature of the rich elite designed to facilitate thier expansion and enrichment and created by ripping up the rule book and writing their own – would not be allowed for Hartlepool or Darlo. Nor Watford or Reading.
Nor for Boro in normal circumstances. You know that is true. Had any other clubs been at the other end of the fax machine supposd to send in the forms, then Robert Huth would have been the new Phil Whelan, signed on a contract of employment by Boro but ineligible to play until January as his registration was not completed until after the deadline.
Boro were just very fortunate to have been sucked through the loophole by the gravitational pull of the Chelsea/Arsenal axis. Had the Huth deal been scuppered then by all moral and legal logic the Cole and Gallas moves would have fallen too – and that would never do.
This time we got lucky. But don’t start thinking we have made it now, we are one of the big boys. The Premier League haven’t done this because we are now on the top table. Nor because anyone feels guilty about the three points. It is a political convenience and nothing more.