The close of the transfer window is almost upon us and we will soon be greeted by the sights of frantic deals and TV presenters wearing yellow ties.
In the last few seasons, deadline day has turned into something of a circus, with it making good television rather than good business sense.
Like most football fans, I’ll no doubt find myself sat in front of the television as 11pm approaches, waiting to see the late deals go through.
The transfer system and the way things are done, have changed so much since I was playing.
The transfer window was only introduced during my career – probably after I left Preston – before then clubs could buy and sell any time up until the end of March.
In my younger days when I was at Darlington, there was no Bosman system.
When your contract came to an end, you either got a £50 a week rise and signed a new deal or you were shipped out.
If you didn’t want to sign a new contract, you could not simply run your current deal down and leave at the end of it.
My first transfer in the game was from Darlington to Preston in 1996.
There had been bits and pieces of interest from other clubs but as I said, in those days leaving a club could be difficult for a player – there wasn’t the power then.
Eventually, Preston had an offer accepted and I came down to meet Gary Peters at the Tickled Trout Hotel, before being taken to Deepdale to have a look round.
I had a mate who acted as my agent, a guy called David Hodgson who used to play for Liverpool and Middlesbrough.
He sorted out my contract with the chairman and I talked football with Gary Peters.
That is how it worked then, very simple. Nowadays, you have transfer committees, chief executives and sporting directors involved.
I couldn’t imagine Peters or David Moyes being part of any transfer committee!
When I left North End a few years later and signed for West Bromwich Albion, it was again quite straightforward.
My agent sorted the deal but before I signed anything, I wanted to speak with Albion’s manager, Gary Megson, about his plans .
I cannot understand how some deals go through these days without a player sitting down with the manager or coach who he is going to be working under.
From where I’m looking, transfer deals do seem to have become more complicated.
As I touched on before, too many people tend to get involved.
When you have got a few different folk giving their thoughts, that is bound to slow things down and muddy the waters.
I cannot see why some clubs need a transfer committee.
The simple way is surely for a manager or coach to identify his targets.
Then it is up to the board or chief executive to decide if they can afford him or not.
On the playing front, North End will be in action at Derby County on Tuesday night.
Derby are up there in the promotion mix but their league form has taken a bit of a dip of late.
It will be a tough game for PNE though, but is a challenge they should relish.
They have had some good results against the teams at the top – beating Hull and Burnley, as well as getting draws with Middlesbrough and Brighton.
Fingers crossed, North End can bring something back from Derby and respond well to the Brentford defeat.