Footballrumours’s Blog


The Darker side of Player Loans
January 23, 2009, 9:50 am
Filed under: Barclays Premiership, FA Cup | Tags: , , ,

The issue of player loans is not one that makes many headlines but recently there appears to have been more interest in the activity. West Brom manager Tony Mowbray has one person speaking openly and frequently about loan players, especially as his club appears to be in a precarious League position with huge squad injury worries to contend with.

The typical player’s ( and most likely public ) view of player loans is articulated by Gavin Strachan in his BBC blog and is seen as a means to give players without regular first team spots the chance to play competitive games with another club in the meantime.But is there more to this than meets the eye.

In one article Tony Mowbray mentions the willingness of higher ranked clubs to offer loan players to teams lower down their Leagues as a potential means of taking points away from their main competitors. By loaning a decent player to a club who subsequently achieves a draw against key opposition, the top teams can steal vital points away from their rivals.

That started to raise my suspicions of possible darker implications and I think the area needs closer scrutiny and monitoring by the FA Cup and League bodies. Perhaps an investigative journalist with an interest in the matter could undertake some thorough research into the area.

Consider Team A loaning a key player to Team J lower down the league. Team J then scrambles a draw against Team C, a key rival of Team A. Team J are glad of the extra point and Team A steal a two point march on Team B. Not the real objective of player loans but an expected consequence none the less. But what happens when Teams A and J play each other? Are there some conflicts of interest at play now.? No-one would expect Team J to put up much of a fight in normal circumstances anyway, but would the team managers concerned see further opportunities for co-operation?  Perhaps manager A would be allowed to field an under-strength squad, saving his top players, safe in the knowledge that Team J is not going to make his life too difficult. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. What we need is someone with time on their hands to go back over the results of previous seasons and drag together some statistics. It may make interesting reading.

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