10 years on - A nostalgic look back at the first ever January Transfer Window


Well Middlesbrough have not learnt their lesson, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Reading and Swansea pulled off coups while Manchester City were buying flops. Ten years on what has changed about the January Transfer Window?

It is ten years since the first ever January transfer window. Back then it captured the imagination of a lanky 13-year-old wondering just who would be going where. Back then Sky Sports News was simply a glimmer in Jim White’s eye and for me it was destination Ceefax to run the rule over the comings and goings and then to update all the squads on what I imagine at that point in time was Pro Evolution Soccer.

So while Jonathan Woodgate moved for £9 million from Yorkshire to Tyneside what else happened in the first ever Transfer Window?


Christophe Dugarry - Bordeaux to Birmingham City (Loan Deal)

The first ever Premier League January signing and some Birmingham fans may still argue their best ever. The former French international signed on-loan from Bordeaux and had a fantastic end to the season at the club and is still held in high regard at St Andrew’s; so much so in fact that he is a member of their hall of fame.

Yakubu - Maccabi Haifa to Portsmouth (Loan Deal)

Harry Redknapp first brought ‘The Yak’ to the Premier League in 2003 on loan at Portsmouth. He of course went on to play for Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn becoming one of the most successful African players in the leagues history and a much loved figure amongst Premier League fans. Feed ‘The Yak’ and he will score is now being sung in Chinese dialect in Guangzhou.

Steve Sidwell - Arsenal to Reading (Free Transfer)

In 2003 when Arsenal let skinny red-head Steve Sidwell join Reading for nothing nobody other than those in the Berkshire town batted an eyelid. But he had a huge impact on Reading FC and I should know; I jumped on his back during a pitch invasion after Reading’s record breaking promotion campaign in 2006.

Since then he has been at Chelsea and Villa and has now cemented himself a place in the heart of Fulham’s midfield.

Leon Britton West Ham to Swansea City (Loan deal)

Technically this went through in December but I felt it important to bring up the decade since Britton first signed for Swansea. I remember him doing wonders for my Rushden & Diamonds team on Championship Manager 01/02 so I was never in doubt as to the potential he had (I was 11 give me a break).

By pure luck I was right and despite a brief exile at Sheffield United he has been there every step of the way as Swansea have risen from the very bottom of the Football League to the brink of European football. He was also declared the best passer of the ball in Europe along the way showing Iniesta and Xavi how it is done in South Wales.


There was also some flops such as Robbie Fowler at Manchester City and Middlesbrough had possibly the least effective Transfer Window in history; Michael Ricketts, Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggot all arriving. At least they have had 10 years to learn their lesson and won’t have signed anybody too injury prone this time around. Oh wait did they really snap up Kieron Dyer? Southampton didn’t fare much better with the money splashed out on David Prutton and Federico Arias (who... no seriously who?).

I have also done my best to put a list of the players who have changed clubs in both the first and the most recent transfer windows and here they are.

Stephen Kelly

2003 - Tottenham Hotspur to Southend United (Loan)

2013 - Fulham to Reading (Undisclosed fee)

Matthew Upson

2003 - Arsenal to Birmingham City (£3million)

2013 - Stoke City to Brighton (Loan)

Danny Higginbotham

2003 - Derby County to Southampton (£2.5million)

2013 - Stoke City to Sheffield United (Free)

Mikael Forssell

2003 - Chelsea to Borussia Monchengladbach (Loan)

2013 - Unattached to HJK Helsinki (Free)

There is some knowledge to impress your mates with down the pub later.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © mrs_logic

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