It all started with Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate. No, I’m not digging up an alleged racist beating that took place some ten years back but rather something just as violent and obnoxious: the January transfer window.
Bowyer was the first player in English football to make a permanent move in the newly created mid-season window, signing for West Ham United from Leeds United on the 8th of January, 2003. Less than a fortnight later Woodgate became the first big-money deadline day transfer, also fleeing the sinking Leeds ship but for Newcastle, rather than Green Street, in a £9 million move. The January transfer window – a throbbing, chuntering month of swoops, scoops, coups and bullshit – had been inaugurated.