January transfer window 2023: A month where Yorkshire's clubs backed their managers in the market - Stuart Rayner
Danny Schofield, Shota Arveladze, Chris Wilder and Gary McSheffrey were shown the door in a brutal start to the season, while Paul Warne left Rotherham United for Derby County.
It made sense, therefore, that the squads at those clubs be readjusted to suit the new men in charge but sense and football do not always go hand in hand, especially when there is a transfer window open.
Normally so timid – with good reason – when it comes to mid-season trading, this January Leeds United's business has been a powerful show of support for Jesse Marsch despite ongoing scepticism on the terraces towards the coach.
The deadline-day departure of Diego Llorente – initially on loan to Roma but with no expectation he will be back – continued the de-Bielsification of a squad which already looks moulded around its coach.
The signing of Marsch's former Salzburg defender Max Wober and his fellow American Weston McKennie only adds to the pleasing feel of signings tailored specifically to the coach, which is not always the case in an era when directors of football are supposed to think on the basis that the man in the dugout might just be passing by.
If the size of Georginio Rutter's club-record transfer fee – around £35m – was another show of faith, so was appointing Chris Armas as Marsch's assistant.
Sheffield United backed their manager Paul Heckingbottom in a very different but just as important way: by doing nothing.
On the face of it, a transfer embargo which speaks to off-field management way below the standards Heckingbottom sets on it left them no other choice but the Blades could easily and instantly have had the ban lifted by under-selling a prize asset.
That they appear to have stared down that threat for the second window running will greatly please Heckingbottom, who has consistently and very publicly warned against it as he tries to seal the deal on a lucrative move back to the Premier League.
That his words seem to have been taken on board, and that neither Sander Berge nor Iliman Ndiaye appear to have agitated for a move should please him greatly.
Heckingbottom wanted a striker to replace Reda Khadra, recalled from an ineffective loan, but when the maelstrom has calmed he will probably reflect that under the circumstances losing one bit-part player represents a decent month.
Times are also hard at Huddersfield Town but they have dug deep to invest in players who have been around the block and leave them in better shape for a Championship relegation battle.
Matt Lowton, Martyn Waghorn and Anthony Knockaert's experience – not to mention the long-awaited return of Matty Pearson – helps restore last season's feel of a squad with plenty of know-how when the going gets tough.
Money was no object for Hull City in the last window but it got them and Arveladze nowhere. What Liam Rosenior needed was an end to the boardroom fantasy football. A bloated squad has been thinned whilst still allowing sensible additions.
Matt Taylor has been able to take what looked very clearly and quite rightly like a Warne squad at Rotherham and put his own spin on it. Financial reality meant they had to lose Dan Barlaser, but Middlesbrough’s money seems to have been reinvested wisely on some solid performers, that holiest of holy grails, a proven Championship goalscorer in Jordan Hugil [AND AT THE DEATH A GAMBLE WORTH TAKING ON THE MERCURIAL DOMINGOS QUINA, WHO SHOWED FLASHES OF HIS TALENT ON LOAN AT BARNSLEY IN THE SECOND HALF OF LAST SEASON.]
By loaning Cameron Archer and Aaron Ramsey from Aston Villa, Middlesbrough appear to have found better fits for the formula that dragged them so impressively from a relegation battle to a play-off push.
Sheffield United were not the only club in their city for whom an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach was the order of the day, though in Wednesday’s case there were a few bits and bobs of patching up left uncomfortably late in the window to be attended to.
Thinking like that is anathema at Bradford City, where things have again been shaken up after a first half of the season which fell short of lofty expectations.
If manager Mark Hughes cannot create a happy Valley Parade, it will certainly not be for a lack of backing.
For all Hughes has shown a calm public demeanour – the "Sparky" between the first and last whistle of each match is a very different beast – backing like he has received to overhaul the squad in the summer and take a fairly big hammer to it in January brings demands.
Bradford are currently a point outside the play-off places in a season where they expect – even now – automatic promotion.
The most fascinating aspect of the Bantams’ January has been Hughes’ refusal to start or sell top-scorer Andy Cook. That stubbornness is testing the faith of some on the Valley Parade terraces but not, it would seem, the boardroom.
A bit like Huddersfield, Doncaster Rovers have been busier than might have been expected in tailoring their squad to Danny Schofield and Harrogate Town have again shuffled the pack defensively to try and find a formula that can keep them watertight enough to continue punching above their weight in the Football League.