IN Yorkshire, the final few hours of 2015’s opening transfer window were never going to match those of 12 months earlier for jaw-dropping drama.
Not after the chaos that enveloped Leeds United on January 31 last year, as Massimo Cellino’s decision – prematurely, as it turned out – to remove Brian McDermott from his post as manager triggered a chain of events that, by the end of a breathless Friday evening, had seen the club’s acting chief executive sacked, the managing director resign and the club captain clumsily wade into the row live on national television.
Throw in the high farce of supporters then chasing a taxi, that had arrived to collect Cellino, around the car park for the best part of an hour either side of midnight and there was no way last night was ever going to come close to matching the quite barmy way the January transfer window slammed shut in 2014.
Nevertheless, there was still plenty of intrigue as the clock ticked down towards the 11pm deadline.
Would Hull City get last-minute deals to sign Dame N’Doye and Aaron Lennon over the line? How many signings would Sheffield Wednesday, thanks to prospective new owner Dejphon Chansiri, make? And could Nigel Clough secure the firepower required to make a concerted push for promotion at Bramall Lane?
All those and much, much more had been answered by the time Sky’s hyberbole, thankfully, took a breather as Big Ben’s chimes signalled the ‘fun’ was over for another season.
Or, if you happen to be a fan of a Football League club, February 10, which is when the 72 member clubs can start to loan players again.
So, as the dust continues to settle on another transfer merry-go-round and Sky presenter Jim White’s yellow tie is put back in the box until its next airing on August 31, the time has come to assess just what impact the window has had on the county’s football clubs.
For Hull City, the window was, compared to their previous three as a Premier League club, an incredibly tame affair. The pursuit of Lennon, which eventually floundered as he opted for Everton, and N’Doye did, at least, bring some late interest.
But the splurge that saw almost £50m spent by the Tigers in 2014 meant that money was always going to be tight at the KC Stadium. The hope now is that Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez, two strikers who accounted for £17m of last year’s outlay, can rediscover their form of the autumn and get Hull’s survival challenge up and running again.
In the Championship, Rotherham United were, unsurprisingly, the busiest of our five clubs. Adam Hammill and Danny Ward are two players who have plenty to prove after inconsistent spells at Huddersfield Town, while Conor Sammon chose the New York Stadium ahead of the Terriers due to the lure of first-team football.
Huddersfield’s own window was more of a slimming down exercise, as fringe players such as Jon Stead, Hammill, Ward, Lee Peltier and Martin Paterson all departed.
David Edgar came in on loan a couple of weeks ago, but injuries to Tommy Smith and Nahki Wells in the weekend derby defeat to Leeds United meant the arrival last night of Ishmael Miller from Blackpool was timely.
Leeds, meanwhile, stuck to the blueprint that Cellino had mapped out before his stepping aside from club matters midway through the month.
Edgar Cani, like countless other members of the Elland Road squad, played for Catania in Serie A before moving to Yorkshire yesterday to join fellow newcomers Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi.
Bamba, at least, made a decent debut in the win at Huddersfield but the fear is that a window that saw more Championship experience depart could leave United lacking the knowhow required to stay clear of trouble.
The opposite can be said about promotion-chasing Middlesbrough, who brought in Adam Forshaw for £2m to add much needed cover to central midfield.
Perhaps just as importantly, head coach Aitor Karanka managed to hold on to George Friend and Lee Tomlin amid rumoured interest from the Premier League.
Sheffield Wednesday may have been slow starters but the takeover by Dejphon Chansiri brought some late impetus and a host of intriguing signings.
In League One, Sheffield United had a good month as John Brayford returned in a £1m plus deal, while Paul Coutts, Kieron Freeman, Matt Done and Jason Holt all bring added depth to an already decent squad.
Bradford City, FA Cup conquerors of Chelsea, are hoping to join the Blades in maintaining a play-off challenge until the end of the season.
Phil Parkinson’s priority going into 2015 was retaining Stead, Andrew Halliday and Francois Zoko. In that respect, therefore, the Bantams’ chief has to be pleased with his work, bringing in Blackpool defender Gary MacKenzie last night.
At Doncaster Rovers, Paul Dickov did well to bring in a proven goalkeeper, Stephen Bywater, after Sam Johnstone was recalled by Manchester United and then sold to Preston North End.
Just as importantly, the Scot also secured the services of reliable defender Andy Butler, while Barnsley’s capture of Ben Pearson on loan from Old Trafford started to pay dividends on Saturday as the 20-year-old scored a wonder goal at home to Port Vale that will live long in the memory of all those present at Oakwell.