There are two features shared in common by all windows: the presence of glass, which enables us to do all that lovely seeing in and seeing out, and their insertion into openings, whether in wall, roof, building or vehicle. And most of those openings, by strange coincidence, do themselves open – and close. The transfer window, however, is a little different, being of metaphorical rather than physical nature. This makes it rather light on glass, even of the metaphorical variety, but does nothing to affect its position in an opening, nor the two things which characterise it: the performance of transfers, and its ability to both open and close.
It exists to enable football clubs buy and sell players, and it has been decided that designating two set windows a year causes the least disruption. All clubs use it, and its working is uncomplicated: Club A will try to purchase the player of Club B, for as little money as possible, and at the same time, Club B will either try to sell the player for as much money as possible, or to retain him. Should they choose to sell they might begin looking for a replacement, with the aim of doing to Club C what Club A did to them, and so on and so on until everybody dies. All clubs are in competition with all other clubs.
Accordingly, it is rather peculiar when those involved achieve intense personal responses to a practice not just accepted, but in which they participate. Take the Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright, for example – about whom a sentence came dangerously close to being written without including the words "theatre impresario". When Manchester United offered him £28m for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, it was, simply and precisely, that: an offer, for some footballers. There was neither compulsion nor coercion, it was not personal, and they were not offering to purchase anyone's integrity, wife, brain, or genit@ls. It was an offer for some footballers. It's a fairly straightforward tenet of business – and, consequently, impresarioing – that when you make an opening bid for something, you are sure that it represents the very best deal you could possibly achieve and that it will, in almost every circumstance, be rejected.
Yet, Kenwright and his delicate sensibilities found it "insulting". In what aspect, he did not say. How this manifested, he did not say. That was on Monday. Today, three days later, it is Thursday, and still, the poor man has not recovered. Only this morning, Roberto Martínez felt the need to explain the horrific damage wrought, the broken man's straight man: "I have seen a bit of everything," he said of Kenwright's turmoil – well, we assume for the good of our constitutions that this is to what he was referring. But there was more. "When you make a massive investment in a player who develops into one of your best players, and you get an offer for less than what you invested, then you are going to be angry, disappointed and hurt. They are the emotions, but the chairman has always been in control of the matter."
This is most bizarre. Ed Woodward, United's vice-chairman, is nothing to anyone – hell, he may not even exist – and he is certainly nothing to theatre impresario Bill Kenwright. Kenwright is neither cuckolded husband nor deceived parent – and yet, somehow, has contrived to detect, not only feelings, but distinct ones, that he can identify, separate, name and possess. He is angry. He is disappointed. He is hurt. And now he's dispatching Martínez out to communicate these shocking facts to the world. Why, it's almost enough to make the Fiver angry, disappointed and hurt.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I've got an open mind" – Merthyr Town business development suit, Brent Carter, responds after the Southern League club renamed its ground the Cigg-e Stadium after a brand of electronic fags.
"Thank you for featuring our Wayne Thorne's revival from a coma in yesterday's Fiver. The link doesn't work but it's still appreciated" – Larkhall Athletic FC [a job half done. Better than normal – Fiver Ed].
"Typical knee-jerk media coverage of football. It only takes one decent victory over a side unsettled by the threat of expulsion from the competition and having started the season poorly for Arsenal to be declared in non-crisis. What about the nine years (and counting) without a trophy, the failure this year to win even the tin-pot Emirates Cup pre-season kudos, the increasingly hapless ways of getting knocked out of cups for which they were increasingly becoming favourites (see defeats to Birmingham and Bradford in the Milk Cup), the increasingly tight qualification for Big Cup year-on-year, the relegation of ambitions to challenging for the league, to being runners-up, to confortable third place, to fourth and a Big Cup play-off, the manager's waning skill at managing both the transfer market and player development, etc? But no, don't take the effort to offer a considered, consistent verdict, so long as there is something different to write in the 24-hour ticker-tape then that'll do. I expected better" – David Wall.
"Can I just say how impressed I am that yesterday's email arrived early at 4.30pm despite the whole of Kings Place [where Big Office is based – Fiver Ed] being evacuated for the very same fire alarm you mention at the end? Did you refuse to leave in order to complete the task? PS: why does Big Paper/Website have a separate assembly point to the rest of us. Is there a bar over that way that I haven't spotted yet?" – Steven King (7th floor).
"Wednesday's Bits and Bobs provided a reference to President Wanderley of Brazilian table toppers Nautico. I'm wondering will he boycott domestic championship matches and use the free time to go on the road" – Sid Mac.
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BITS AND BOBS
Crystal Palace's Marouane Chamakh has admitted that a blackmail case, which involved a police investigation in 2011, destabilised his career at Arsenal. "It was not easy for me because things about my private life were disclosed," he said. "The tabloids did not have the right to publish photos or videos. The story weighed me down. People tried to blackmail me. I filed a complaint, the police intervened and found these people."
Croatian title holders Dinamo Zagreb have fired coach Krunoslav Jurcic after a 2-0 home Big Cup play-off defeat to Austria Vienna. "We would like to thank Jurcic for everything he has done but we played only one decent game of football out of 12 in all competitions this season and we had no choice but to release him after a pitiful display," sniffed club president Zdravko Mamic.
Schalke have accused police of being unnecessarily tough with their fans after moving in to remove a Macedonian banner during their 1-1 Big Cup play-off draw against Greece's PAOK. "We cannot approve any of this, nor do we have any understanding for it," said brilliantly-named Schalke suit Peter Peters.
Fun and games in Central America dept: El Salvador has provisionally suspended 22 footballers, nearly all of them experienced internationals, for 30 days each in connection with alleged match-fixing.
Nasty Leeds insist they have no plans to bring in an alcohol ban at Elland Road after reports that a club director had proposed one to reflect the Muslim beliefs of owners GFH Capital. "Enjoying a pint before and after watching the match is a time-honoured Yorkshire tradition," declared MD David Haigh.
And Nicolas Anelka has been excused from West Brom duty until after the game at Everton, on compassionate grounds.
STILL WANT MORE?
Gregg Bakowski pays homage to John Barnes, a player ahead of his time, in a rather lovely return from On Second Thoughts.
Listen to the latest AC Jimbo-less Football Weekly Extraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Hope Powell inspired revolution for the women's game against the FA suits, but the players won't miss her regime, writes Anna Kessel.
Impassioned shouty pointy Arsenal man, Romelu Lukaku's hotel japes and Jonathan de Guzman giving Dirk Kuyt a very black eye are all part of this week's Classic YouTube.
We pick out our favourite reads from around the web this week, featuring a quite brilliant USA! USA!! USA!!! photoshoot and the story of Fifa (the game).
And catch up with all the latest transfers that aren't budging a jot with our no transfers live blog.