Chris Powell's Flat Cap

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The End of Emergency Loans

In previous years, today would see the emergency loan window opened. Football League clubs only needing to wait seven days to attempt to address gaps in their squad that they couldn’t fill before the conclusion of the transfer window.

Alas, in their infinite wisdom, FIFA have decided to protect the “sporting integrity of competitions” and do away with emergency loans. The change forced upon the Football League, and the window no longer in place from this season forward.

FIFA’s decision seemingly made on the basis that clubs might make a handful of temporary signings outside a proper transfer window which define seasons. Promotions sealed and relegations avoided as a consequence of short-term loans.

Apparently, a rather weak notion of preventing the purity of leagues being damaged considered more important than player development and less financially powerful clubs being able to find replacements when key members of their small squads suffer injury.

Instead, clubs needing short-term additions to address temporary holes in their squads are likely to have to turn to out of work journeymen. Free agents can, of course, still be signed.

It probably no surprise, therefore, that a number of players, both young and old, mutually terminated their contracts with their clubs in the final days of the transfer window.

Diego Poyet among them, with a period of playing nothing but U23 football for West Ham not ideal at a time when a player with obvious talent needs to rebuild his career. Many other young players now unable to escape the relatively uncompetitive environment offered by development in search of first-team experience at a lower level.

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For Charlton, the lack of an emergency loan window means the slight lack of depth in certain positions provides greater anxiety. Fredrik Ulvestad must immediately impress, and a desperate need for Ricky Holmes and Nicky Ajose to remain fit.

It also prevents the Addicks from offloading the unwanted. Jorge Teixeira and El-Hadji Ba here until January at least, with both on large salaries and Russell Slade seemingly having little interest in playing them.

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Consequently, the removal of emergency loans seems a very odd one, with it having only harmful and restrictive consequences.

But the ending of them does offer an excuse to reflect some of the emergency loan signings that Charlton have made since their relegation from the Premier League. And there have been plenty – 44 signed during an emergency loan window.

My favourites undoubtedly those who contributed absolutely nothing. Goalkeepers Luke Daniels and Neil Etheridge, though he did later make appearances for the club, benchwarmed during spells on loan from West Brom and Fulham respectively, while defender Marcel Siep did similar having joined on a temporary basis from Plymouth Argyle.

At the very least, their efforts did surpass many of those who were allowed playing time. Frank Nouble losing track of a long ball and it bouncing off his head, before falling to the floor attempting a step over, just about sums him up, Egger Jonsson was subbed before the hour mark over his only start for the club in a win at Burnley having been horrendous, and Emmanuel Frimpong did nothing but disappoint and attract quite bizarre attention.

All three signed by Chris Powell, but his use of the emergency loan window was relatively successfully. The flat-capped boss largely temporarily adding forwards to his squad, who chipped in with important goals. Dany N’Guessan helped get the Addicks over the line as they won the League One title, Rob Hulse was excellent in the famous 5-4 victory over Cardiff, while Jonathan Obika’s late strikes against Wolves and Leeds were very enjoyable moments.

At the very least, Powell made better use of it than Alan Pardew or Phil Parkinson did. In fact, in the 2008/09, the season that saw Charlton relegated to League One, the use of the emergency loan window was more of a hindrance than a help. The squad and starting XI ever changing, and the likes of Danny Butterfield, Keith Gillespie and, two goals in a defeat to Watford aside, Tresor Kandol lacked both the quality and seemingly the motivation to drag the Addicks out of a desperate situation.

The emergency loan window producing mixed results prior to the Roland Duchatelet regime, and those mixed results continuing while he has owned the club. Francis Coquelin able to become a regular starter for Arsenal following his spell with the club, but the likes of Davide Petrucci, Conor McAleny and Yung Suk-young all underwhelmed.

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Comparatively, the use of the emergency loan market while this regime have ruled has been minimal, but you wonder whether Slade’s influence would have meant a greater exploitation of it this season were it still around. At the very least, it would still be nice to have the degree of comfort it provided.

And that degree of comfort, overall, is really what the emergency loan window provided for the Addicks. The most successful signings making very short impacts in spells of poor form or when others were injured. Other clubs and players utilising it far more successfully than Charlton over the previous nine seasons, with the Frimpongs outnumbering the Coquelins.

But any debate about the usefulness of the emergency loan window exclusively when considering how the Addicks have used it is made meaningless when you consider a club legend may not have started an association with Charlton without it.

Johnnie Jackson originally arriving in SE7 on loan from Notts County in February 2010 in order to provide cover at left-back. A permanent signing, 230 appearances, and 52 goals later, the adored skipper is undoubtedly among The Valley greats. A true leader, who has provided both wonderful moments and held supporters and club together in increasingly testing times.

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It quite weird to consider how his Charlton career began. I very much doubt the emergency loan window provided any club with someone who shares the status Jackson does with the Addicks.

The emergency without him in recent years would be even greater than the one there has been, even greater than the emergency that some clubs might well find themselves in this season without the emergency loan window to call upon.

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