What is transfer deadline day like for the players?

Professional footballer Jonathan Smith lives in Preston and plays for National League outfit Chesterfield. He started his career at Morecambe and spent loan spells with Fleetwood Town and Bamber Bridge. His other clubs include Luton, Swindon and Forest Green Rovers. He is studying for a sports journalism degree and here gives us an insight into what it is like to be a player during the transfer window.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:45 am

Since football clubs have only been allowed to register players during two windows during the year, transfer deadline day has become a huge one in the football calendar.

Broadcasters Sky Sports and radio station Talksport will doubtless go into overdrive once again this Friday as the 11pm deadline nears for clubs to do their business.

But what is it like for the people at the very heart of it all, the players, to live through days and weeks of hype?

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Jonathan Smith in action for Luton battling with Leeds United's Kemar Roofe in August 2016

As a professional footballer, the month leading up to deadline day becomes very hectic, even if you’re sure you won’t be on the move anywhere.

The manager becomes noticeably more stressed due to his increased workload of having to identify players, meet them and potentially try persuading them to join his squad.

He will almost constantly be on his phone to agents, managers, and players anxiously trying to do deals to make sure he has enough talent to see him through to the end of the season. The manager will often be absent from training as he will be at a meeting or chasing a player.

In 2013 I was involved in a January move to Luton Town from York City.

I wanted the move to happen but the clubs were negotiating over the transfer fee, so I remember sitting in my flat in York with all of my belongings packed up waiting for the all clear to get on the road and move my life down south.

At one point the deal was off – I was gutted – only to be called an hour later by the then Luton manager Paul Buckle saying, ‘Get down to Luton as soon as possible to sign the papers’. Just like that, your life can change.

I always keep my phone on loud on deadline day just in case a surprise call from Pep Guardiola comes through!

Scott Rendell a former team-mate of mine once took this to the extreme.

He had been made available for transfer by Luton Town so on deadline day, to the amusement of all his team-mates he decided to come out to the training session with his mobile phone taped around his head, declaring that he couldn’t afford to miss a call if something came up.

Deadline day can be an uncertain time of the year for footballers as you don’t know what might happen.

Deals get done late into the night and you can often wake up to find good friends have moved on, and new players have arrived who could be potentially taking your spot in the team.

Clubs can be trying to sell you to a team at the other end of the country and you wouldn’t know anything about it.

To be honest, it’s a relief for everyone once it’s all over, and we can all get back to a bit of normality.