Millwall boss Harris: Transfer windows are not designed for football people – they are for business and media to get excited over

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Neil Harris would love to see the transfer windows changed – with Millwall’s experiences in the January one only underlining his frustrations.

The Lions wanted to bring in a striker before last Thursday’s 11pm deadline – and the Den chief thought at one stage he had two moves on the go.

But neither of those came to fruition in the end.

Middlesbrough’s Rudy Gestede and QPR’s Matt Smith were both on a list of potential targets.

It leaves the Championship outfit a little light in that area with no risks being taken with Tom Elliott – recovering from a dislocated shoulder – and Tom Bradshaw ruled out for the campaign with knee ligament damage.

“I’m not a fan of the transfer window – it’s not designed for football people,” said Harris. “It is designed for business and for the media to get excited.

“It was a disaster it was still open after the season started [in August]. And in January it is nearly all left until the last day.

“This time there was probably less money spent than ever by people in our division – and that’s with FFP [financial fair play] coming in. People are nervous and waiting to see what happens to Birmingham next week, with their court case.

“Because money was not spent at the top of the division and the lower reaches of the Premier League it had a knock-on effect that they would not allow players to go out to clubs in the middle or bottom of the Championship.

“Then it meant a club like ourselves couldn’t let players out on loan below.

“It’s the first time it has happened and it will make people sit up and take note. Players will do a little bit more to get themselves out of a club earlier in the transfer window – it could be a good learning curve for everybody.

“Having the window open for the whole of January unsettles a lot of people. It could be open for seven days, or five days. It doesn’t make that big a difference. If clubs are going to add to their squad, they will add to their squad.

“If the window was open from January 1-8 and you get an injury on January 9, it’s no different to a player getting injured now on February 1.

“The first window should shut before the season starts and then everyone knows where they are at.
“I think the frustration, not just for me but also for the fans, is when you’re chasing players and it drags on so long. You want clarity quicker.”

Asked about Millwall’s deadline day moves, Harris responded: ”We were very close. At one stage I thought more than one was done.

“What I don’t understand is there have been a lot of players that decide to stay at clubs where they are clearly not going to play. I wanted to play and compete.

“We saw a lot of clubs try and do business and couldn’t. We were probably just one of a dozen in the Championship who tried on deadline day and couldn’t.”