Following two injuries on Sunday, the effects of the embargo are really starting to be felt – especially the limit on how many senior squad members we are allowed. We can only have 23, and that includes anyone with a professional contract once they have played a competitive game.
Thus, if the likes of Jeff King or Alex Perry were to play against Crewe, they would be counted as ‘one of our 23’. Therefore they won’t play, which is a real shame. Young players who are still on scholarship contracts are allowed to play, though, without counting as part of the squad.
Many fans are unhappy with the EFL about this imposition in particular, given that it limits the playing time of young players who really do need to start playing first team football. I agree that this is silly.
However, I would like to come to the EFL’s defence here on some aspects of the embargo.
Obviously, I know little about the ins and outs of the embargo and the financial situation which got us into it. However, let’s put ourselves into the EFL’s shoes.
Their job with regards to all this, is to enforce ‘Financial Fair Play’ – one way you can do this is by punishing clubs who do not obey the rules to act as a deterrent. This is fair enough.
As I understand, the embargo’s previous terms meant that we could pay up to c.£10,000 a week to individual players, and not pay for any transfers. When we were in League 1, this did very little to limit us and even without the embargo, I think we would have still been signing the same type of player. Even in the Championship, I think it is possible to be competitive spending this money… just about.
Therefore, I understand the need to tighten up some of the rules and make conditions worse under embargo.
Obviously when we knew we were going to receive an embargo, the terms were different to the ones which now dictate our transfer policy. However, going under embargo was never an active decision on our part. It was something we would have to do – but maybe the more lenient terms made sorting out our finances somewhat less of a short term priority.
Now, given the rules we find ourselves in, which now limit us to paying new signings £4,500 a week we need to get out of the embargo as soon as possible. If not, we will not be able to sign experienced players at this level. The club knows that. While I’m not trying to suggest that they haven’t been trying, and I appreciate greatly what I’ve seen so far, maybe a little extra pressure is needed for all clubs in general.
Embargoes have to be tough. However, they should find a way of making sure it doesn’t effect the young players they should be protecting.