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Transfer Window: Through The Eyes Of A Messageboard


JohnCresswell
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So the Transfer Window is shut, and the worrying about buying anyone to improve the squad has finished, I think probably to the relief of fans, management and players themselves.

VillaTalk tries to lighten the mood, and looks at poster's original thoughts on the transfer window, along with some of the reactions when we were first linked with the players we originally bought.

This year’s Transfer Window was one which gave Villa the first chance to spend a bit of money for the first time under Randy Lerner, so was greeted with extra enthusiasm by many. VillaTalk looks back on the special Transfer Window thread from the messageboard – and finds the strangest rumours, prophetic guesses and just plain wrong comments.

The VillaTalk Transfer Rumours & Speculation thread began on 27 September 2006 – that’s over three months before the Window was set to open. Yet there was enthusiasm from all – we finally had the promise of money being spent and a manager who could do something with it. As we reached nearer the Window, even the manager himself would often comment on it approaching, publically saying that he hoped the team could hang on to it’s decent form until the Transfer Window where he could bring in reinforcements.

Expectations and suggestions ranged from high – “I would love Parker, Bridge, G Johnson, Milner and Ashton...†by ‘PabloPiccasso’, to the down beat “I don't think I'd want to bring in a slew of new players at once. I think it's important to keep a coherent core of players and then bring in quality players to upgrade targeted positions.†by VirginiaVilla, to the ridiculous “If I see Chopra or Ameobi at Villa I will burn down my house!†by Rocafella and “What about the guy that plays for Warbury FC in 'Striker 3D' in the Sun?†by OnePablo.

Still, I think comments like that were to be expected when you think we were actually linked with Ronaldo from Real Madrid on 28th September! These kind of links to players hardly helped calm down the already increasing excitement and expectation, best shown by the post by ‘IanRobo’, when he said: “I reckon one signing will be one to make a statement to the world that we are serious. All players have to be the 'right type' for MON so difficult to say he will get a 'blockbuster' name but fully expect a signing to say 'wow'! I guess MON will have around £20m if needed but remember he and Lerner will NOT pay over the odds!â€. Martin O’Neill went on to echo Ian’s words regarding not being “ripped offâ€, but stopped at spending £20million on one player.

As we entered October, the amount of speculation increased, as did the hopes of members of the messageboard. Joe Cole was linked, along with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermain Defoe and rather interestingly Shaun Maloney. Maloney, of course, ended up signing for Villa only a couple of minutes before the deadline. At the time ‘ahamaad’ enthused “Maloney from Celtic must be a mustâ€.

Villa’s form was still exceptional, and spirits were high. ‘Richard’ clearly had high hopes: “I think Richards and Klose are eminently gettable. I mean would any of the top four be interested in Richards?â€. Richards, of course went on to be subject of the “bust up†at Chelsea, if reports are to be believed. “The more I think about it the more I am convinced that Richards from Citeh will be joining in January.â€

The links to players continued to pour in. Robbie Keane was linked in the News of the World, Alan Smith mentioned in a few newspapers, and The Mirror mentioned the first foreign player nobody had heard of but sounded quite good – Brazilian midfielder Simplicio who plays for the pink shirt wearing Palermo in Italy.

Being linked to good players, doing well in the league, optimism surrounded Villa – fantastic. ‘Pelle’ took the links with a pinch of salt, but appreciated them anyway “True or not, it's always nice to be linked to almost everybody instead of just players like Bakke on a free.â€. Very true, that.

Optimism continued, and ‘Richard’ returned with another few bold predictions: “Striker has to be a priority. If he gets a back up defender a la Balde we will then have Mellberg, Laursen, Ridgewell and Balde as our central defenders with Hughes capable of playing there so defence is OK.†Seeing as all three signings made were strikers, Richard's prediction of the strikeforce needing changed was spot on.

“Beckham will come to us. Randy wants to promote Villa in the US and the only major ‘soccer’ player they know is Beckham. Guaranteed.â€

“I have also heard that Maloney is an almost certain to be joining us.â€

Whilst Beckham chose the Hollywood in America instead of the one just outside Birmingham, he was spot on with Maloney, and Richard wins our first ‘Nostradamus’ award for getting a piece of inside knowledge correct.

Throughout the Transfer Window and the build up to it naturally we got plenty of people signing up to the messageboard to tell us of the various rumours they had heard was going to happen. Probably my favourite moment of October, was the user ‘Adbo9’ who signed up to tell us that: “I hear on the grapevine that Jeremie Aliadiere of Arsenal is being released by Arsenal this week, and MON is gonna take a look at him in trainingâ€. We’ll hear more from ‘Adbo9’ as things progress….

So November began, and the rumours began to dip a bit reputation wise and the team began to falter. November 2nd saw Lee Cook who is a QPR winger and Freddy Eastwood, a striker who plays for Southend, apparently set for moves to Villa according to The Mirror. Bordeaux winger Julien Faubert was linked by Clubcall, Alan Smith linked again and Matt Murray from Wolves and Portsmouth’s Bulgarian target man Todorov were said to being looked at.

Nearly twenty days into November and the transfer stories started to dry up. Which is why we were grateful to GBA, who gave us a new ‘friend of a friend’ type rumour. He wrote in, saying: “My cousin plays for Villa (reserves and sometimes the first team!) and has definitely assured me that Kris Commons is on his way to Villa Park. He occasionally goes fishing with him and there are plenty of rumours. He texts me quite often with the gossip from the training ground and was the first person to tell me Baros was at the club before he signed.†Easily scoffed at – but the poster’s second name does actually match with a player which would fit his description. Turned out not to happen anyway.

Not wanting to be outdone in the rumours competition that seemed to have formed, ‘Adbo9’ came back with his best stuff. “I heard over the weekend off a reliable source that the Villa management are seriously running the rule over Robert Earnshawâ€. I don’t think you can call these people ‘reliable’ anymore. I suggest that they are more like people you meet at the bus stop. Sorry ‘Adbo9’, I’m only kidding. He continued “They’ve been scouring the lower divisions and have identified Earnshaw, Murray & Curtis Davies as the cream of the championship and possible potential signings. Expect Murray & Earnshaw to join in January to bolster the squad, as both their clubs tend to be selling clubs.â€

One day after that, ‘Sam100’ claims VillaTalk’s second ‘Nostradamus’ award, with this: “I read somewhere that John Carew might be looking to leave in January, he could be a good option†That’s some good seeing into the future, Sam! ‘OldFart’ agreed with Sam, posting that “I would love to see Carew at VP. He isn't very good at sticking the ball away himself but he's a superb target man and can take any amount of stick.â€.

Not everyone thought it was a sensible option though. ‘IanRobo’, thought Carew was happy enough in Lyon: “He has scored today for Lyon against Madrid in the CL and still the only team with a 100% record, why would he leave them ?â€

Defoe, Craig Bellamy, Lucas Neill, Markus Katzer (who?) and Jason Culina are all linked to the club towards the end of November, and all can now be put in the file marked “Didn’t happen, probably made upâ€.

And then December happened. The team continues to stutter and struggle, but Mazrim wins a ‘Nostradamus’ award from his post back on 1st December, claiming that “A little bird tells me we're looking at Ashley Young. Haven’t made a bid or anything but perhaps an enquiry†Meanwhile, The ‘News of the World’ says Villa are looking at Andy Griffin of Portsmouth fame.

Expectations in December still seemed fairly high. The team hadn’t won in a while and rather than players to take us onto another level, most of the suggestions made by members are players to just improve the team and stabilise us once more. ‘Risso’ posts that “We need a big signing to kick it all offâ€. James Beattie is then said to be interesting Villa. Beattie is certainly big, but when Risso wrote that I don’t think he meant big as in the size of the player’s gut.

Swedish Villan ‘quizme’ then got ‘OldFart’ excited at the prospect of John Carew joining Villa, once more. “Houllier is interested in taking Baros to Lyon, swap deal Baros Carew?!? I would take that in a second...â€. The idea of Baros leaving certainly didn’t upset too many fans, the Czech striker was injured for the majority of the first half of the season and never really hit anything that could be described as ‘form’ when he did play. Lyon as a likely destination though? There would have to be a lot of making up between the striker and the boss Gerard Houiller, as they both fell out whilst at Liverpool. That was a good thing, for ‘Paddy’, who wasn’t too excited at the prospect of bringing in the six foot four striker: “Chim chimmeny chim chimmeny chim chim cheroo, even Djemba Djemba's better than Carewâ€. It doesn’t quite scan, but we get the idea.

It’s at this point I think people had got sick of the transfer window already, even though it still had just under a month until it opened. The Mirror linked us to Darren Bent, Nigel Reo Coker, Luis Boa Borte and Lucas Neill (I think they got us and West Ham mixed up). David Nugent is the next striker to be linked, and then ‘m|1dch’ thought this one was a goer “. Viduka, Gera, Barton and Gregg Halford were all other players linked with a move to Villa in one way or another.

Confidence was still high that Villa would make a splash in the transfer market. On December 19th, ‘Richard’ commented “Patrick, that’s one thing I am confident about. I definitely can see 5 players arriving in January.â€

‘Adbo9’ was certainly confident. “Just been in London on a works function and I’m on the train back to sunny Brum, a London colleague has told me just that he’s got it on good authority that Luis Boa Morte may be joining Villa in the window from Fulhamâ€. I got it wrong last time – it was the train queue, not the bus. He also gave us more later on in the month “The rumour is we’ve got two lined up that will both break our current £9.5m transfer record, one being an England international.... so I'd say SWP, Defoe, Bent, Parker are the likely candidates….. no guesses on the others but I'd say it’d be a striker for sure!â€. You can almost feel the excitement! Unfortunately, ‘Adbo9’ lost out on December’s award for ‘just being wrong’, with ‘Wans13’ coming up with this gem: “I heard we are looking at putting in a bid for Potatohead's son Alex. Not sure where he is playing nowadays, Norwich? Apparently he is very versatile, adaptable, his face fits any position and you can play him anywhere...â€

And then the transfer window opened. That’s right folks – 300 pages of waffle, hope, rumours and lies – all before it had even opened.

Eventually, Villa signed three players and borrowed another – we make a big “Welcome†to Philip Bardsley, Ashley Young (despite member ‘Jez_Villa’ thinking he’d end up at any club other than Villa) , John Carew and Shaun Maloney. Bardsley has looked good but not spectacular in his appearances so far, Carew played well on his debut and Ashley Young went one better, scoring on his.

But what about the players that got away? January, rather oddly seemed to be quieter than the past few months, with Villa working hard behind the scenes to get something done. Tainio of Spurs, Lasse Straw, Mohamed Aboutrika, Paul Henderson, Barry Ferguson, Abel Xavier and Nicolae Dica were all new ones but it was a case of ‘same old’ with the familiar names of the past few months being mentioned. I mean, really – can’t you press guys make something interesting up for us?! We’ll ignore the Marlon Harewood one.

With ‘Adbo9’ having retired from passing on his ‘insider information’, there was a void left. This was smashed away by what is now known by nobody at all as “The Night of Defoeâ€.

A member by the name of ‘Awol’ alerted people that Jermain Defoe wasn’t apparently at Hoar Cross Hall hotel. Now, either ‘Awol’ wanted some free advertising or he had done some good research into trying to annoy a few people! It didn’t stop there, and ‘RandysVilla’ took it on himself to phone the hotel. Yes, really.

“F*ck me, I just spoke to Defoe - on my life†He wrote. “I am shaking. I phoned the hotel and asked to speak to a Mr J.Defoe and the women put me through. No bull sh*t. I rang the number ‘cos I thought it was sh*t. He would not say he was not going he said he could not say any thing as he had to be careful. It sounded just like him or I was just played a very good trick. It was all so real even when his girlfriend said I don’t know you, then Defoe told her to pass the phone. I have heard him on Match of the Day and it was just like him “. Naturally I’ve had to edit out the swear words and text talk.

It did of course carry on to the next day, ‘Awol’ was no longer ermm Awol and posted that “Defoe still at Hoar Cross - with his agent - as of this afternoon. Couldn't give two hoots who believes this but it's a factâ€. It was only a fact if by fact he meant not correct – as a picture of Defoe training with new Tottenham recruit Ben Alnwick turned up minutes later.

So that was it. Links every day, rumours and some expectations which at the time seemed like it was out of the ordinary for it to happen now seems rather ridiculous.

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We hope all users take this article in the spirit intended - no malice - a revisionist look at what was said during the transfer window, and hopefully slightly humourous.

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brilliant article, i admit the boa morte one was told to me at a function when everyone was p*ssed up so should have taken that with a pinch of salt, but hand on heart the earnshaw one was told to me & my dad in our local pub by a european cup winning villa legend that currently works for the club, not mentioning anynames but hes got a f*cked up nose!!!

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Brilliant read! Jez, you have got off lightly, matey

I must admit I started to get a bit bored when I'd got to page 300 of the transfer thread! If anyone wants to post some of Jez's classics then I'll add them in :)

If anyone doesn't want to do that was well, is just as welcome!

A good enjoyable read, made me chuckle :)

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The Defoe/Hoar Cross hotel thing was fantastic.

I remember telling my Dad about it and, despite the fact he hardly ever goes near a PC, let alone use VillaTalk, the first thing he said yesterday morning was, "So is Defoe still in the hotel?"

:lol:

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