There was no rolling coverage on Sky Sports News, with reporters surrounded by kids outside training grounds and Jim White shouting up the deals, but for clubs in the Football League last Thursday was transfer deadline day and a significant one at that.
For teams like us, who are chasing promotion, or others fighting relegation, it was the last chance to bring in loan signings before the end of the season.
Expecting a busy day, I arrive at the training ground at 9am. By about 9.30am, the majority of the first team have arrived and are having some breakfast as Eldin Jakupovic drops in to say his goodbyes. The goalkeeper has been a revelation for us during his two loan spells from Hull City since January, playing 13 games, keeping seven clean sheets, conceding only six and seeing us lose only once.
We’ve not had a lot of luck with the loan deal, though, as Allan McGregor’s red card and subsequent injury – a damaged kidney after a nasty collision playing for Hull against West Ham on Wednesday – meant Eldin was recalled for the second and last time. Some players you will never see again when their deal is up but Eldin came in especially to say his farewells.
We don’t have a media room as such at the training ground, but I set up in one of the smaller changing rooms and conduct a video interview with defender Scott Cuthbert before training starts at 10.30am. I leave the equipment up so I can interview the manager, Russell Slade, after training. When he comes in his first words are: “Let’s do this quickly, I’m busy today with the loan window.”
Then, panic... I see that the camera is missing from the tripod. “It must have been nicked, gaffer,” I protest as he leaves unimpressed and muttering under his breath. I search high and low, looking for it everywhere before eventually, to much laughter from everyone including the manager who was in on it, the camera turns up in our midfielder Dean Cox’s kit bag.
After lunch, I head back to the stadium. I give a lift to Johnny Gorman and Yohann Lasimant, who live in the flats at the ground and don’t drive. Johnny has to get back to work on an essay for the psychology degree he is undertaking with the Open University.
I get back to the office to find we are taking John Lundstram on loan from Everton. I get the details off our secretary Lindsey, Google “John” to get some more information, quickly inform the local press, and get the story up on our website. Lindsey is backwards and forwards to the fax machine as a couple of other loans are completed, with some of our younger lads heading out to get some playing time under their belts. We then face a tense run-up to 5pm to see if anything else happens, though nothing does.
As well as being loan deadline day it is also programme deadline day, and after the flurry of news I’m well behind. I ring the programme designer, Paul, and the printers to let them know we will be on a late one this evening, and get stuck in to finishing the last few pages.
After Lindsey departs, I’m the last one in and find myself in the ticket office, of all places, at 10pm as it is the only place I can locate a working printer to proof the last few pages of the programme.
I finally sign it off at 10.45pm, though I have one more job to do as I get a text message from Eldin asking me to put a personal thank you message to the club and its fans up on the club website, which I do, and a busy day finally comes to an end.