WANDERERS AND THEIR WINTER DEADLINE DAY DEALS
Right, we're on the cusp of entering the bi-annual symbol of football's death. The transfer deadline day; a good idea in principle hijacked via, as ever, by the bourgeoisie of sports media. Anyway, passively accepting and analysing different successes with regards to a club's business is far easier. That's what his article is about. Essentially, I want to properly look at whether or not deadline day transfers have actually worked for Bolton. Using a sample of the previous 10 years (from 2007-2008), so post-Big Sam, I've got the Wanderers winter panic signing history and will try to measure some sort of success rate.
I must admit now, I've always been transfixed by 'transfer deadline day'. A creation that captured a market - football in reality TV form. For whatever regretful reason, I'll be intrigued and interested on Wednesday whilst, once again, adapting @BurndenWay into a dedicated account for every done deal. It's the speculation and lies to benefit certain companies' and their sister (betting) companies that irritates me. Regardless, onto the football, it has an impact. The bigger sides can use it as a luxury to pick and choose their business but teams in the lower divisions, relegation battle or promotion chases, rely on last minute and fairly unorganised recruitment as, like I'll go onto analyse, it does give an edge.
Starting chronologically, the 2007-2008 January window concluded in the loan arrival of Grzegorz Rasiak from Championship outfit Southampton; I know, what a start. Needless to say, this wasn't one of Wanderers' finest panic signings. Especially when you consider this was the Anelka replacement (admittedly, we spent just over £10 million on Taylor, Cahill and Steinsson). The immediate contrast to this would be the 2010-2011 acquisition of Daniel Sturridge. Also on loan. The polar opposite. Now, this signing occurred at a not-so important time for Wanderers; it was a season in which Wanderers had a settled squad and looked to sign someone to push for the Top 5/4 let alone Top 7. So, these two windows are highlights of how it can work in the extremes. Moving on, I have noticed a pattern and although correlation does not mean causation, it can lead to certain conclusions: Wanderers' arguably most successful winter deadline day in recent years was last season just ahead of 2012-2013 edition whilst the worst windows of 2007-2008 and 2011-2012. Having already referred to 07-08, let's look at 11-12 before contextualising the season. Following the sale of Gary Cahill and arrival of Tim Ream, Wanderers went into deadline day needing to bolster the attacking options: Marvin Sordell and Ryo Miyaichi arrived. I think it's fair to say that didn't go well. So, the pattern? Two huge relegation battles leading to two huge gambles on unproven strikers from the league below. This pattern can be supported by the context of the better windows. 16-17, a day to consolidate the push for the promotion with the signings of Adam Le Fondre and Viv Solomon-Otabor with the departures of Jamie Proctor and Chris Taylor (which in turn led to the ability to sign Filipe Morais). 12-13, a day to boost the outside run at the playoffs, which resulted in the already signed Dawson and Davies being supplemented by Mohamed Kamara, who was very effective in that run-in.
Personally, I don't believe this pattern or link is actually that tenuous. If you consider it, it's quite rational and simplistic. A deadline day when in a relegation battle leads to punts in the hope of getting out of trouble whereas a push higher up the table is essentially just consolidation and can rarely be the cause of a decline in the table. Having said that, it is subjective. I feel this window is actually consolidation for Bolton right now because, as lovely as it would be to finish higher, 20th placed on the 6th of May will do me fine. Therefore, going off that pattern, Wednesday might just be a good day.
Especially if a certain someone is on his way back...