Thinking of passed years and all that is going on at the moment, the big topics are who are coming in and who are going out. Managers and players move between clubs and countries as football these days are big business and agents are in this trade to make a living.
Of course it’s “big news” when a player joins and you ask yourself who’s next. Back in the days of the 70’s you didn’t have much of agents around, you didn’t have the Bosman rule, and transfer tribunals were set into action if a player were out of contract and the club were reluctant to a sale. You didn’t have transfer windows, but you had this deadline appearing a few games before the season end.
Leicester City fans are today looking at all the headlines with great curiosity, waiting on those leaking transfer rumours finally being confirmed with pictures of players in the new shirt both home and away.
Looking back over the years you have to go back to 1976 to find a summer without any transfers taking place, Leicester City didn’t sign a single player, but we didn’t care, because the summer wasn’t as busy as it these days, no transfer window closing as the season starts.
1975-76 was a good season for Leicester City as they ended 7th. The team was at that time probably at it’s best, with a squad of great quality. Jimmy Bloomfield did not manage to get anyone shipped out for big fees and that might have been a reason for the “zero” sign to appear.
Looking at the team picture taken in front of the season, it was only the kit that was new. Admiral had taken over the supply and those kits made a revolution. This was like a major face lift of the game, all those kits really being introduced and used by a number of teams, with the Leicester City kit being unique with those sleeves in transparent colors and with Admiral signs all over.
The season started with a 2-2 draw at home to Manchester City. Goals scored by Chris Garland and Brian Alderson. With six draws in the first six games and the seventh ending in defeat, Bloomfield made a few changes. The team probably suffered a bit with Jon Sammels missing out in the start and when he came back others were dropped.
Bob Lee and Chris Garland were both sold in the autumn of 76, joining Sunderland and Bristol City. These two moves brought in a great amount of money. Lee sold for £200,000 and Garland for $110,000.
Strangely no new signings were made as the team continued to pick up points and at the season end, finishing 11th. Bloomfield either couldn’t find the right players to add, or he was not given the chance to use any money, but introduced a few youngsters to the first team that all turned out to be great as the years went by. Steve Sims established himself in the Leicester City team this season being a player making his England U.21 debut later on. Larry May also got a number of games, later becoming a regular for many seasons at the club.
As we all know, Bloomfield sadly left the club in the summer of 77, seeing this fine group of players being split up. The end of a great era, the end of a great team and really one of my saddest moments as a Leicester City fan.
The next man in was Frank McLintock and he didn’t do much “business” in the summer of 77, just adding Eddie Kelly to the group. Everything looked promising with a draw away to Man City at first, then a win at home to West Ham and another draw against Bristol City at home, but after that game everything went down hill with five defeats in a row and relegation fear in sight.
McLintock decided to sell the number one asset, Frank Worthington, and with “Wortho” moving to Bolton, a division below, the goalscoring drought continued and despite addition of a great number of new players no one could score the goals the club were now missing. It all ended in a farse and a relegation few would have thought was possible with the great two previous seasons before.
TCF believe that transfers in itself is not good for football, and a lot of transactions done are not needed. The way forward is youth and bring in young players when they are ready. A transfer should only be done if you feel that you see a player that can push for a place in the first team and really be one you will give a chance to establish himself.
The work done at Leicester City, looking at the academy, is quality through and through, sadly, few players are able to make it into the first team which is a pity. The system today, with agents, with transfer windows and with this huge gap between Premier League and the rest of the system, makes it all “bad for football” as so many players will be just “money pennies”, moving on either because the club gets a huge fee to secure life as a club or the players wages are to lucrative to turn down.
Seeing great talent just training and sitting in the stance is really tragic, but of course good that the loan system gives some of those players a chance to play during a season, making their trade at other clubs.