Published: 17/01/2013 09:15 - Updated: 12/02/2013 17:52

Football column: 'The day I signed for Newcastle, Bristol City and Birmingham'

Written byBY KEVIN AFFLECK

Mick Harford signed for three clubs in one day in 1982. Picture: Andy Handley Mick Harford signed for three clubs in one day in 1982. Picture: Andy Handley

THE gaffer must have the patience of a saint during this transfer window.

You can’t get hold of him on the phone as he’s got agents, players, chairmans and chief executives ringing him. But I think he knows now which calls to blank and which calls to answer.

Yet I bet no player he is chasing or releasing will find themselves in the bizarre scenario I did in 1982 when I moved from Bristol City to Birmingham City.

I was told Birmingham wanted to sign me but because Bristol City were in financial difficult I had to resign for Newcastle, my former club, and then straight away sign for Birmingham. I’m still not sure exactly why but there were financial implications. It was bizarre. I ended up being signed by three clubs in one day.

In those days you could sign or sell anyone at anytime. I prefer that system. The transfer window is exciting for the fans and people on the outside but it must be hard for lower league clubs who are struggling for cash.

They would probably like to be able to sell at any time while some would probably like to buy when they are short because injuries.

There were also no agents involved in my days as a player. A transfer was done on the basis of a chat between club to club or manager to manager.

You’d be at home and get the phone call from the chairman to say someone was interested in you and then you decided if you wanted to go or not. That’s the way it was.

It’s much more complicated now. It’s a 24-7 business. Karl is on the phone non stop and he’s working very hard. He’s full of life and deals with it very, very well.

He makes the final decision on a player but we do speak about players coming in and players going out. The coaches help in a small way in who we want to bring in and let go and in shaping the squad for the rest of the season.

But we are fearful of losing our better players during this period. We believe we have got some very good assets at the football club.

Stephen Gleeson is the one who always gets mentioned but there are six others at the club who have impressed me and who managers of most other clubs would want.

It’s so important we keep them together and hopefully get automatic promotion. We’ve got to get out of this league by hook or by crook but, to do that, we must keep this squad.

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