In Ireland and I would imagine that it is not too dissimilar in Estonia this time of year does be let’s just say the most of speculative of times!
Of course I am referring to the off season and all the transfer speculation that goes with it.
In Ireland this leads to a sub-culture of constant rumour as regards player movement and this is only heightened by the advent of social media, everyone wants to be first or to have the scoop that they nearly always get from an ‘insider’ or ‘someone in the know’.
It is hard also for clubs to keep their business private as information is so easily and quickly leaked these days and also players sometimes leak details of contract talks as negotiation ploys.
When I was working for Sligo Rovers I used to be both intrigued and stressed by all the constant speculation as I used to get told who we were signing and then asked who’s signing back all in the one conversation! To give you a recent example: the hot rumour in Sligo was that both Alan Keane and John Russell would be signing back with recently promoted Galway United as both are natives of the county. Apparently, they weren’t happy with the offers that had been made to them by Sligo Rovers and in the end they both resigned with the Bit O’Red! If all the people that talked about Sligo Rovers actually went to matches then we would need to expand the Showgrounds!
There is one key constant in the off season and again this is something that is probably common in Estonia is the movement of players between clubs in the capital in my case Dublin and in your case Tallinn.
There is always a high rotation of players between clubs in Dublin and in the last few weeks Shamrock Rovers signed former Irish international Keith Fahey from St. Patrick’s Athletic with Jason McGuinness and Ciaran Kilduff moving the other way and that will be only the start of it. It does create a sense of staleness and for a lot of the players involved it is an easy option as they do be reluctant to move outside the capital.
I would imagine that it is just hard for the likes of Kalev or Tammeka to get a player to leave Tallinn as it is for clubs outside of Dublin to get players to move from the capital. I never used to understand the reluctance of players to move to Sligo as the road is good and it is only two hours drive away and it’s a lovely place to live, in a lot of cases it was nearly easier to go and sign a player from England! In order to get a player to move to Sligo a lot of times you would have to offer an attractive package which would then have an effect on the overall playing budget. This is where the management committee at Sligo Rovers deserve great credit as what they did was think outside the box and did a deal with a number of apartment and house owners in Riverstown which is a small town about ten minutes outside of Sligo.
Like so many places in Ireland there had been a building boom and then, when the recession came, a lot of these houses and apartments lay empty so the club did a deal with the landlords in order to get reduced rents and were able to offer accommodation to players in order to help them move to Sligo. This worked brilliantly as it ended up at its peak that the majority of players were living in the village, a kind of mini Rovers enclave, it had a positive spin off for team bonding as well as the players car pooled to training and along with their families socialised together as well. The village eventually earned itself the nickname ‘Roverstown’ and they took great pride in having the players living there and also felt more of an ownership when it came to Sligo Rovers. It’s not a solution that every club can use but it does show that thinking outside the box and/or making use of the assets available to you can yield results.
If you get the chance and need to have a laugh then search out ‘Puddle View Celtic’ on Facebook. They are a team that compete in the Sligo Rovers Astro Turf League but the antics of their manager Anthony ‘Toto Schillaci’ Connolly are fast making them an internet sensation, I don’t want to give too much away as the videos of his dressing room speeches and sideline coaching tactics, well there entertaining to say the least!
Until next week,