Some thoughts on the current transfer market
by Jim Hamill
Have you ever gone into a shop and somehow felt compelled to
buy a shirt which you don't really need or want simply because
it bears a label declaring that it has been reduced from £45
to £10? Or have you ever backed a horse that you didn't
really fancy but, since it was so overpriced, you felt you had
to avail yourself of a little piece of each way, just in case?
I must confess to being guilty on both counts and, I suspect Jim
Jeffries is too.
What other explanation can there be for his purchase of Barry
McLaughlin from St. Mirren? The Paisley outfit clearly
need to make economies by reducing their wage bill and to attract
funds from sales of assets, ie playing staff. Unfortunately, there
is not much money in the game these days, therefore, in order
to effect a sale, they concluded that they would be prepared to
sell one of their best players at a market value, considerably
below what he would have realised in previous seasons.
Enter Jim Jeffries. Jim, it seems, can't resist a bargain.
Having already rummaged in the bargain bucket containing such
tempting goodies as Lee Makel and Steve Fulton,
he had not quite committed himself when he saw the fluorescent
"MASSIVE REDUCTION-------UNBEATABLE PRICE" sign
suspended over the head of the erstwhile Buddy, McLaughlin. Unable
to restrain himself, the redoubtable Jim responded with Pavlovian
ardour, and whipped out a cheque for forty grand, there and then.
Jeffries, on sober reflection, must be wondering what he does
with him now. Kilmarnock already have 4 central defenders in Dindeleux,
McGowne, Innes and Hessey, while Sanjuan has
performed admirably at the back when called upon to do so. Like
so many other teams, Kilmarnock have been assiduously pruning
surplus playing staff, to reduce the wage bill, in order to survive
the realities of post -sky revenue deficiency syndrome. So far
the above mentioned defenders have survived the cull, so it would
be reasonable to assume that they are required for next season.
So, in order for McLaughlin to to have a chance of playing ahead
of them, next season, he will need either to be:a) Better than
them. But a CV illustrating a career spent entirely at St. Mirren
is scant evidence that he is.
b) Praying that at least 3 of them will be unavailable at any
given time. At the moment only McGowne is injured but should be
back early in the new season. or
c) Hoping Jeffries, himself, is planning to sell. However would
someone with such an acute sense of a bargain be able to bring
himself to sell off his own assets at below their market value,
which is undoubtedly what he would need to settle for in the current
Before supporters of other teams become overly smug here, I would
urge them to examine their own managers and ask if they would
be able to resist false bargains. Livingston have already
been linked to Mixu Patelainnen, and any other strikers
who seem to possess a serviceable pair of feet and a reasonable
working knowledge of goalmouth geography, as they seek a replacement
for Fernandez. Or just ask Dundee Utd about Alex
The summer will continue to see the price of saleable commodities
increasingly pared as the transfer window approaches closure on
the 31st August. And so, as the shelves begin to groan under the
weight of unsold damaged goods, how many other managers will be
lured to their doom by the Lorelei-like beckoning of a beguiling
'cut price' sign.
I hear Mr Lambie is on the lookout for an influx of affordable
yet capable talent to Maryhill. Word has it he was last
spotted at the Barras eyeing up some plausible fake gear.
Surely its just coincidence.
Who says we dont make them like we used to?
Step forward James McFadden of Motherwell. The 19-year
old missed the flight back from Scotlands Far East tour after
a night out on the razzle. A worthy successor to Baxter, Bremner
and Johnstone indeed.
Somebody once said that you can tell a lot about a
person by the company they keep. Well, I received an e-mail this
week saying that after running a search on Amazon for my book 'Everygame,'
it was suggested to the would-be buyer that he might also be interested
in Pamela Stephenson's biography of her husband Billy
Connolly, Randy Taraborrelli's life story of Madonna
and Booker winner Iain McEwan's 'Atonement.'
It could be worse. It could be a lot worse. I'm flattered.
If you're planning a punt on the World Cup
then be even more cautious than usual. This website wouldn't dream
of telling you who to back but we will warn you off from some of
the more ludicrous odds on offer.
Take internet betting giants Blue Square for instance. They
already have a reputation for being stingy with the odds but their
group betting on the World Cup is simply farcical. Only TWO
teams qualify from each group but in one group they're offering
THREE teams at odds-on - Japan, Belgium and Russia.
Ireland are third in the betting in their group
but are priced at even money - a 50/50 bet in anyone's language.
No bookie would get away with these prices in a four-horse race.
So our advice to punters regarding Blue Square is
in the form of a little competition of our own - re-arrange these
words into a well-known phrase:
PLAGUE THEM LIKE