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Football League's deadline day winners and losers

Paul Fletcher | 12:41 UK time, Wednesday, 3 September 2008

As discussed in a previous blog, I'm not so sure that the transfer deadline is a concept that benefits clubs in the Football League but there is no doubt Monday was rich in high drama.

When news of Manchester City's audacious swoop for Dimitar Berbatov broke in mid-afternoon I could scarcely belief what I was hearing. I imagine Sir Alex Ferguson felt a similar emotion, expressed in terms that left little scope for misinterpretation.

City, of course, had to settle for Robinho in the end - hardly a tardy second option. The excitement enveloped everyone - Mark Hughes, television reporters, fans, no one could escape the buzz of a fast-emerging and truly remarkable story. Supporters were filmed during the day driving past Eastlands sporting white cloths attached their heads with black tape, doubtless in homage to their extraordinarily wealthy prospective new Arab owners. It is all a far cry from the time when their idea of ecstasy was late drama against Gillingham.

Now that the dust has settled on the transfer window and we've had time to collect our thoughts I want to know what you thought was the best piece of deadline day business was in the Football League.

mpenza438.jpg Bristol City handed Ebbsfleet £140,000 for John Akinde - and this must definitely qualify as one of the most unique deals of the day.

I'm not sure Akinde, a raw 19-year-old striker, will have much immediate impact upon his new division but what caught my eye was the decision making process behind the move. Almost 7,500 members of Fleet's owners took part in a vote to decide whether they should sell him, with 82.3% voting in favour. And who says the fans don't count any more.

City boss Gary Johnson is a top bloke and has done a cracking job at Ashton Gate but I couldn't help but laugh when he said of his new signing: "He's another club for our golf bag."

By all accounts Wolves beat six other clubs to the signing of highly-rated full-back George Friend from Exeter. Wolves also brought in the experienced Matt Hill from Preston and Jason Shackell from Norwich to further boost their options in defence and, having keep hold of the likes of Michael Kightly, Mick McCarthy's team look the real deal.

Norwich should be well served by Antoine Sibierski, who has signed from Wigan, while I would be very surprised if Dougie Freedman did not impress at Southend after joining from Crystal Palace.

The Eagles also lost Tom Soares to Stoke. Boss Neil Warnock did not want him to go, but I bet his old sparring partner Kevin Blackwell wasn't so upset when the Potters paid £2m for Michael Tonge. Sometimes good business involves selling as well as buying.

Rotherham have made a cracking start to the season and boosted their squad with the signing of Spanish forward Omar Garcia after his release from Athletic Bilbao. I'll be keeping a keen eye out on how he adjusts to life in League Two.

MK Dons might have a similar scouting network as they have recruited from Spain as well, bringing in defender Miguel Angel Llera from Hercules FC on a free transfer. When his new team take on Leeds shortly before Christmas he could well be marking United's Argentine striker Luciano Becchio. Who says the lower division aren't cosmopolitan?

One name well worth adding to the list of the week's interesting transfers is that of Belgium international striker Emile Mpenza. Technically he was not a piece of deadline day business. He signed for Plymouth on 2 September as he was unattached after being released by Man City but he certainly comes with plenty of pedigree.

Pilgrims boss Paul Sturrock, who also brought in Paul Gallagher from Blackburn on loan and Nicolas Marin from French side Lorient, said of Mpenza: "He is an international striker and they don't exactly fall off trees."

On many levels there is no arguing with that statement, though whether he'll cut it in the Championship is another matter entirely.

But which deals really caught your eye - both as a great bit of business and an outright shocker?


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yeah because Everton are in the Football League...

  • Comment number 3.

    Yeah because Everton are in the Football League...


    They will be soon...

    On a serious note, Emile Mpenza will be superb for Argyle, he has good movenement and a good eye for goal. Mybe not the pace for the Premier League, but will be excellent in the Championship.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good to see a piece with some focus on the Football League rather than the Premiership - many of us fans of lower division get rather tired of the repetitive 'big four' wall to wall coverage that we seem to end up with. No deadline day deals involving my club (Luton), but there's plenty going on in the FL for journalists to report on if they weren't so blinded by the Prem.

  • Comment number 5.

    Liam Harwood from Carshalton Athletic in the Ryman Premier to Bristol Rovers. Not a bad step for the lad and good to see that league clubs are looking in the non-league pyramid for good players!

  • Comment number 6.

    Andy Williams back on loan to Hereford was unsurprising to me. He left Hereford he was playing really well and had no troubles as he was from the area. At Bristol he didn't manage to score enough goals but he may well do so back at his old club. Hopefully he'll keep Hereford up for the season and return full time next season.

  • Comment number 7.

    Gavin Tomlin has been on fire since signing for yeovil town

  • Comment number 8.

    Really happy that we've signed Mpenza - I just hope he's not another Taribo West!! I also think Marin is a great signing - comfortable on the ball and can pass it around and distribute well which is something Argyle definitely need.
    Now I hope the Green Army naysayers get behind the team in the upcoming weeks and I hope to see us rise up the table - we must believe!
    Oh, and I must agree that it's great to see pieces on the BBC website about lower league football - good work Mr Fletcher and keep it up! I, like many others, have little or no patience with the money-sodden, overblown wage-taking divers that make up the majority of the Premiership. Come On You Greens!

  • Comment number 9.

    stueym17 and Mayflower_Delight,

    There will be a lot more Football League pieces on this blog over the coming season, some serious, some a bit more lighthearted but hopefully all shedding at least a little bit of light on life in the FL.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Mpenza's a great signing for Plymouth. Who says he couldn't cut it in the premier league, City were 4th last season with him leading the line and only dropped down the table when Benjani came in to replace him. His strength and athleticism always seemed like an excellent asset to me, allowing other City players like Elano, Ireland and Vassel to play off him in the 4 5 1 and get goals.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a QPR fan I'm disappointed we've not dipped into the transfer market before the deadline.

    Everyone, from the media to rival fans, keeps telling us we're so rich and are spending so much, but this summer we've bought Gorkss from Blackpool for £250,000 and an Italian called Alberti for £100,000ish. Hardly big bucks.

    What's most disappointing is that Martin Cranie - a player who excelled with us on loan last season before breaking his leg - has moved to Charlton. If this U21 star was available, we should have made sure we were first in the queue to sign him.

    As it stands, we have only six defenders in the first team squad, which will not be enough to sustain a promotion push if any one of them gets injured.

    Cranie is a very good acquisition and I expect him to shine in this division. Just a shame it's not in the blue-and-white hoops.

  • Comment number 12.

    Transfer deadline day was another overhyped pile of pants.

  • Comment number 13.

    Alan Gow will be an excellent signing for Blackpool, he'll give them something different, wish he'd got more of a chance at Ibrox as he's the creative spark we missed come the crunch, good luck son

  • Comment number 14.

    first of all fair teh middlin'

    "pile of pants"...wot are you 5

    second of all, although it wasnt on deadline day i think middlesbroughs didier digard would is a brilliant signing...after seeing him in action and reading pre season match reports i think he will be as good as gerrard, hes a very similar player as he gets stuck in likes to shoot and is an excellent passer of the ball

    watch out for him i think he could be the signing of the season no joke

    im not just sayin this because im a boro fan

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm delighted that we have signed Mpenza and Marin. After we sold Halmosi and bought a load of players from leagues 1 and 2, I have to admit my faith in Sturrock was slightly shaken. I was wondering where the goals were going to come from for a start. Now we have a French playmaker and a proven Premiership forward, my fears have been cast aside. I'm also pleased that this news hasn't been ignored by the bbc, nor confined to a short sentence at the end. I know the news has been busy this week, what with Keegan, er, not being sacked, and I was expecting Plymouth's great transfer dealings to be dismissed as usual. Thank you, Mr 'Fletch', for devoting three whole paragraphs to them. Hopefully 'The Championship' on ITV will follow suit and give us more than thirty seconds of airtime next time we win a game.

  • Comment number 16.

    Good work Mr. Fletcher.

    I would agree about Kightly.
    Andy Williams to Hereford might just work.

    Akinde doesn't stand a chance.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am looking forward to seeing Gow in action for Blackpool. We've been missing a bit of spark in the centre of midfield since Wellens left. With Gow and that boy Hammill I think we will do reasonably. If only we could have got in a striker...since McPhee doesn't seem to be recovering fast and BBB can only score from the spot. Kabba still learning the offside rule too =( Mpenza will shine at Argyle, if only Larry could have got a signing up front like that!

  • Comment number 18.

    Burton Albion defender John Brayford was a fantastic siging for Crewe. Finally Steve Holland finds the right defender.

  • Comment number 19.

    SummersIron, how dare you talk about ITV on this website. Don't you think being allowed to voice your opinion is a great benefactor of the BBC. I think the BBC would be disappointed for talking about a competitor in such detail. You have mentioned channel and programme, and what the program entices. Shameful

  • Comment number 20.

    The City signing will be fun for us all to watch. I'm not convinced Robinho wil make City great but he'll score soe great goals.

    I've a sneaking suspicion that the two Merseyside signings will prove more influential on their respective teams, and of the two I think Everton's signing of Marouane Fellaini may prove to be the most shrewd.

  • Comment number 21.

    allowed to voice your opinion? Its a right these days and im sure bbc can cope with someone mentioning itv once in a while!

    As for deadline day, exciting but the whole berbatov saga makes me sick. Wheres the loyalty these days?? That goes for the other signings made (robinho too!) sulk and moan until u get what you want, great message for young kids watching the game.

    Football league transfers are where the real wheeling and dealing is done. mpenza is an interesting one, plenty of pedigree. I also think sibierski will do well for norwich, its shaping up to be another cracker of a season in the championship not to mention the lower leagues!

  • Comment number 22.

    Refreshing to see some attention given to little ol' Argyle. Mpenza looks to be a quality signing, along with Marin and Gallagher, and hopefully the international break will really allow the three to fit into the squad.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh yes, the sibierski (sp) is another cracker of a signing. Glad we (Blackpool) have played there already!

    As for the ITV mentioned on the BBC, maybe the BBC could note down the reason we're talking about ITV...the better Championship coverage!

  • Comment number 24.

    A.Wheel signing for Barrow Town on a free

  • Comment number 25.

    Ebbsfleet first transfer :)

  • Comment number 26.

    I can`t name one player in particular, but I love what O`neill is doing at Villa. Although criticised Reo-Coker will one day be England captain, and Agbonlahor has all the promise to be a world class beater. Back to the subject, my signings of the summer are Luke Young, Nicky Shorey and Steve Sidwell. Make what you want of this but football is about much more than money, and I`m pretty sure, O`neill as he has done with Ashley Young, Gardner, Davies, Barry, Sutton, Hartson, Thompson, will continue to prove that most footballer`s begin on the same step, and development is a key issue in nuturing talent. As an example, before Shorey signed for Villa, I saw him play twice for England and he was much better than Ashley Cole. Once clubs like Villa get over their inferiority complex our players are just as good as anybodies.

    My England eleven would be;








    and my manager who i would bow to would be Sir Alex (and im not Scottish!)

    We also need to start taking up salsa as a nation just ask Mayweather, let`s just admit it Hatton I love you, but you looked pissed half the time!

    Up the Villa!

  • Comment number 27.

    sorry if I offended anybody, but it`s our faulty as much as anybodies. Let`s start enjoying being English...because Brasilians love being Brasilian, and i don`t mean come on son tough tackle nut ya stuff, I mean standing together as a nation proud chanting "You`ll never walk alone". Coz thats who we are! This is fight talk,I call upon all Brummies, Scousers, Mancurians, Geordies (and like minded), Yorkshiremen and Cockney`s (sorry if I`ve excluded anybody) to make this country happen. WHO CARES WHO IS THE BEST SIGNING THIS SUMMER! I DONT!

  • Comment number 28.

    I am sick and tired of SAF's bullying tactics of getting players to leave comparatively smaller clubs for MU. He did it with Saha and look how that turned out. Good riddance. When he didn't need RVN, out thru the door he went. He never had any intentin of signing Henry. It was all BS. It was jsut his mindgame to get berb. Spurs should have just let him rot in the reserves to teach them both a lesson. I'm a gooner but I am so glad that Man City are the new big boys. SIck of MU and Chelsea telling others what to do. Go Mark Hughes cause we sure aren't winning the title this season.

  • Comment number 29.

    YA finally the transfer saga is over. Initially the transfer window was dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United. Papers and websites were filled with his news. I personally feel he was just fishing around, trying to find his market value.
    Another person who dominated the news was Gareth Barry and Liverpool. No one knows what went wrong there but after months of speculation, Barry remains at Villa Park and Liverpoo sign Riera.
    The biggest news onlast day was Man City signing Robinho. He was linked with Chealsea throughout the window but finally went to Man City. The new owners of Man City will add more spice now to the transfer market because they do really have deep pockets. And in terms of money, they can challenge Chealsea.
    Lets see how the season unfolds after 500mn pounds being thrashed on footbal.

  • Comment number 30.

    What a bout that player my team, Arsenal signed before the deadline, his name is " Nobody " no what your thinking, another foreigner, however , you would be wrong, he is as English as me, think he was a snip at absolutely nothing...................

    Sure he will prove all those critic's wrong come the end of the season?

  • Comment number 31.

    Andy Williams going back to Hereford on Loan could be a great move for Hereford and for Williams. He lacked goals at Bristol but under the influence of Graham Turner he will find the net again.

  • Comment number 32.

    "first of all fair teh middlin'

    "pile of pants"...wot are you 5"

    Nearly five, and already more adept at punctuation than yourself.


  • Comment number 33.


    You were doing so well talking about Villas signings (although supposed to be talking about the football league) until you named a ridicilous England 11. Downing instead of Young, Scholes who retired from England years ago instead of Barry

  • Comment number 34.

    RUBBISH article, devoid of any real points and clumsily details epl when the title promisingly suggests the field of debate of the FOOTBALL LEAGUE transfer dealings. Either establish what this drivel is about (the epl have all these bertytyovs and robinos but in contrast the biggest news of the day for me is Luton not losing anyone) and wedge this nonsense up your home pages. Believe it or not i simply don't care who gets dicky doodini in the money laundering division.

  • Comment number 35.

    Others have commented about Plymouth Argyle and their signings but I would like to support the hypothesis that surely the best signing must be Mpenza, even at his wage in comparison to the local wages.

    I can only hope that expectations are not raised to too high a level, but with Marin supplying the 'ammunition' I think that Argyle will actually just make the play-offs.

    An earlier signing of Puncheon will also prove to be highly beneficial. Remember we had bought, and sold Sylvan Ebanks-Blake as well as Peter Halmosi so players are coming to further their careers and to improve the quality of players at Home Park.

    Argyle is not an easy club to support but through thick and thin we will be there for them, the directors, the manager, the coaches, and the players. Something is stirring down here and you had better believe it. Come on you Greens.

  • Comment number 36.

    Steve Finnan to Espanyol. great deal for both club and player. and he'll get a lovely tan for his troubles

  • Comment number 37.

    elstrup - "the epl have all these bertytyovs and robinos but in contrast the biggest news of the day for me is Luton not losing anyone"

    its a good job you dont give a "dicky doodini" about these transfers, cos you dont have a "dicky doodini" about them. thankfully you and the rest of the Luton support will be relegated this year, so hopefully you'll keep your opinions on the football league and beyond to yourselves. i hear there are some great blue square forums you can go on and talk jibba jabba

  • Comment number 38.

    Dont like diparaging remarks about my team-Gillingham.Man city were unbeliveably lucky that day of the playoffs and were helped by a ref who equally unbelievaly now referees Premership matches and continues to make mistakes.Real football fans follow their local team and are stuck with them through good and bad times.Good luck to you City Fans you have the best manager in the premership who now has the finances to support him.

  • Comment number 39.

    Sibierski: Le God.
    Who cares about Robinho

  • Comment number 40.

    I am ane among the people that love this game more then the way we love our lovers.

    so anything about the game make us crazy.

    I want to know evey thing about the game ie, who leave who, why and for how much to enable us follow up our players across the world.

    if mancity will splash so much money only on Ronaldo bit I think foot ball is becoming more crazy as we think.

    I really love the game.


  • Comment number 41.

    Please, save your comments about Berbatov, Robinho, etc... not to mention listing your preferred England team (who cares?) - the article's about the Football League - go elsewhere, shouldn't take long to find the 95% of football coverage that ignores the Football League (a nod to Mr Fletcher there).

    I do think that the idea of transfer deadline winners and losers is missing the point though, I have to say - a couple of good bits of business in one day over a window surely doesn't matter if it follows a much longer period of inactivity or bad business.

    My two penneth - after Huddersfield bought countless uneccessary central midfielders, I'm gutted we didn't get the left winger or right back we need so badly!

  • Comment number 42.

    I think Gabriel Zakuani going to Peterborough deserves a mention. A young player, who Fulham paid £1million for only two summers ago, and who has made ~30 Championship apperances for Stoke over the last two season in two seperate loan spells (it's instructive, I think, that Stoke took him back on again for a second loan, as it means they rated him having seen him at close quarters).

    He will do very well in League One. Even if it's only a loan, it's a damn good signing.

    N.B. I'm not even a Peterborough fan. In fact, quite the opposite...

  • Comment number 43.

    you cant really say what been the best signing yet we'll see saterday

  • Comment number 44.

    Bristol City fan:

    I'm excited by the Akinde transfer.
    With so much talk of billions being needed
    and Man City planning to 'buy trophies' Akinde's transfer represents an alternitive:

    > Low cost
    > English player
    > Sold my a consortium.

    So hopefully we'll get a chance to prove that this kind of transfer is not just a trophy signining, but can produce a Premiership footballer (promotion+a place in our team!!!)

  • Comment number 45.

    well chuffed about mpenza. until that point i was seriously worried about our lack of noticable transfer activity. i think he'll excel at championship level. fingers crossed jermaine easter wll sort his life out because that will be a partnership to b reckoned with. backed up by fallon from the bench and this gallagher character. was starting to think we were possible relegation contenders but now hopefully we can push on and improve on last seasons 10th place finish. marin looks good too..

  • Comment number 46.

    Certainly not a deadline day transfer but i still think Grant Holt going to shrewsbury is probably the best bit of business in the lower leagues this summer. Although from deadline day itself, Jon Stead, Emile Mpenza and Antoinne Sibierski could be inspired signings

  • Comment number 47.

    as a wolves fan i know our signings were not huge in fee or name but from my point of view they were essential signings because for all our attacking power (can't believe im saying attacking power and wolves in same sentence) our defence as been shocking!!!
    and with big George (elokobi) injured we needed a left back, and signing two im very happy although i can say i know nothing about george friend who we signed from exeter!! but he joins an ever growing list of young players at molineux.
    can't speak for shackell last time i saw him, he got a straight red for a nasty challenge on karl henry, so we will see.
    i know its not the place but a big shout out to kightly, SEB and stearman who are in the England U21's tonight, good to see 3 of our players on international duty tonight!!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    How about Dougie Freedman to Southend United on a free ??? Proven Championship/Division One goalscorer.

    Although having seen our last few games/hammerings, I wished we'd signed a quality defender

  • Comment number 49.

    Great shout on Antoine Sibierski by the Blackpool fan. He's going to be the final part in Norwich City's jigsaw.

    I think Alan Gow will do a job for Blackpool. Norwich tried to sign him over the summer but pinched Wes Hoolahan instead...that certainly showed when Blackpool came to Carrow Road earlier in the season.

  • Comment number 50.

    there have been dozens of very good and shrewd signings in the lower divisions,all of which fans are by and large happy with. none money motivated which makes them far more important than that episode of fawlty towers which masqueraded as the last hour of the premier league merry go round. it turned from being mildly interesting to pure farce.

  • Comment number 51.

    Gorka Pintado from Spanish Segunda B side Grenada to Swansea for £100,000
    He scored a magnificent goal against Forest and terrorised Hull in the league cup (albeit a weakish fielded side)
    Seems as if he is going to have a cracking season if he continues as well as he has started!

  • Comment number 52.

    try being an owls fan when you can't even bring in a loan signing because you can't afford the wages

  • Comment number 53.

    Fletch, UR MOM!

  • Comment number 54.

    Leicester shall do good this season, even though they made their sigings early on so they can know their team better.

  • Comment number 55.


  • Comment number 56.

    i think leicester will be flying through the table at first place or second but unlike all the odds i find that mk dons will do no better than 10th

  • Comment number 57.

    To this day, I still don't know why Man city are doing so terrible, imagine if they didn 't have Robinho haha

    Glass Mirrors


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