The last day of the transfer window is upon us already – but as the Guardian pointed out recently, deals done at the last minute, much like the last-minute homework cobbled together by a struggling student, tend to bring further failure rather than miraculous success. It’s embarrassing to see a manager held in high esteem for his on-pitch organization scrambling around on the 31st of January like a man on the street with a box of receipts running to the post office ten to midnight on the last day to file his Income Tax. Shouldn’t you have deduced back in September the right-back that, once acquired in the January window, would for reasons related to Quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and Game Theory, be the missing mathematical piece to ensure a consistent Spring push for a UEFA Cup spot? Why instead is it 12:20 in the afternoon and suddenly you’ve found yourself in possession of one Wayne Routledge?
Well, Pobody’s Nerfect as the hat goes. The whole idea of windows is absurd, like a pathetic plot-twist in some sci-fi show (“The Ri-Kion Wormhole has a twenty-minute window for us to fly to the Rice Planet so we can feed the refugees of Gargledon; we must work quickly!”). In recent years I was happy to see Villa laying low for the whole process, maybe dropping a million on, say, Djemba-Djemba to throw everyone off (O’Leary, you genius!) whilst being careful not to give up our treasured midfield to some rich London club, yeah…they were jealous, weren’t they? And we seemed to have followed suit this year, even managing to guarantee a deficit of players for a team already among the tiniest in the top-flight. Because Aston Villa may not be big, but they're small. And sometimes, instead of rushing to meet some imposed deadline, it’s best not to hand in your homework at all but fake a doctor’s note and ask for an extension. Or set up a bung, whatever works.