The Football League Paper says...
Just let the players ply their trade...
IMAGINE this scenario – you’ve given sterling service in your job for a number of years and decide, with the agreement of your employer, that it’s the right time for a parting of the ways.
Your boss perhaps wants to take a different direction and you feel as though you need a fresh challenge. Fair enough, and you walk out the door.
But you’re then told you can’t take another job in the same industry for four months.
How would you feel? Furious, angry, upset, confused, worried.
Well, that’s effectively the situation Dean Cox found himself in when he left Leyton Orient. With all the paperwork not completed to terminate his contract by mutual consent before the transfer window closed on August 31, the 29-year-old winger was left in a nightmare position.
By the time his O’s exit was ratified, he could sign for another club – but wouldn’t be able to play for them until January. That means four months, or virtually half a season, of not being able to do your job because a transfer window has closed.
Surely that is a restraint of trade and will be challenged in the courts in the future, just as Jean-Marc Bosman fought for the right of a player to move for free at the end of his contract in the 1990s.
A player’s career is a short one and to miss half a season when you are fit and ready to play just doesn’t seem to have any logic – or fairness – behind it.
Thankfully for Cox, Crawley Town have signed him on a three-year contract, though he told us he won’t be paid until January.
In the meantime, he is allowed to go on loan to a part-time National League South club. But we believe he deserves the right to play on a bigger stage – and simply do his job.