Approaching the auction night is like going to a fetish party for the first time. You prepare yourself beforehand with a mental checklist of exactly what you’d like to do, but the next day you wake up with a heavy feeling of remorse and eleven men to whom you wouldn’t normally give the time of day.
Managers have come up with many formulas for avoiding just this scenario over the years, with varying degrees of success. With the big night due tomorrow, here are some manager profiles you’re likely to spot:
The Shrewd One – outlay a fairly reasonable bit of cash on three or four solid players who’ll be certain to get points. Wait patiently for everyone else to blow their wad before scooping up proven creative talents from unfashionable teams unchallenged. Demands research.
The Blasé One – do no homework, warm up with a couple of beers, then turn on the war face and bid for every player going until snagged by the Titus Bramble ruling. Results can be haphazard and have never attained league or cup success.
The Frustrated One – be absolutely certain of targets pre-auction, but gradually miss out on more and more of them due to lack of funds after ill-advised, early-evening purchases. Become increasingly irked at lack of progress. Finish the night livid.
The Confused One – get a list of players to buy from a guy at the desk next to you earlier in the day and watch them disappear under the hammer while trying to work out what the hell’s going on. Repeatedly say to managers next to you ‘Is this guy any good?’ while mispronouncing foreign names.
The Tentative One – keep holding back the budget for those big signings, but get outbid each time when the price gets high. End the evening with a mid-table mentality that derails league campaign.
The Lucky One – pick a few good players who hit form for the season and sit back while you scoop the Kenna.
The word ‘wantaway’ crops up every summer to the chagrin of the Kenna manager.
With the auction taking place three weeks before the end of the transfer window, there’s always a risk of blowing the budget on a ‘top, top, top, top‘ player for him to do one before the season has even begun.