Nerves are being frayed and nails are being bitten. Deadline day is fast approaching and football fans across the country are feeling the pressure, stress and exasperation.
New rumours abound on a daily basis, be it the battle for striker Saido Berahino or the touted return of Gareth Bale to White Hart Lane. In the midst of this media merry-go-round, fans are waiting nervously, hoping their team secures fresh talent before the window closes. In fact, many are so committed to their clubs that they would be willing to make personal sacrifices to land a star player.
Recent DocuSign research revealed that over a third of football fans would give up Facebook for a month to land their dream signing. Another quarter would happily surrender their mobile phones for a whole week or work an extra day a week for a month if it would help to get that key player over the line.
Some fans are even willing to set aside their love lives for the beautiful game including almost 20 percent of West Ham fans who were willing give up sex for a month. Supporters of Chelsea, Manchester United, Norwich and West Bromwich Albion also demonstrated extreme levels of devotion to their teams, with one in ten prepared to give up their girlfriend or boyfriend for a week.
However, despite their devotion to securing their dream signing, many fans are clueless when it comes to the mechanics of the transfer process. Over a third have no idea how transfer deals go through with suggestions including Skype, backhanders and brown envelopes stuffed with cash! Another third think that physical signings are involved and one in five think that deals are closed over the phone and email respectively.
Fax machines were not front of mind for fans with only 12 percent suggesting that they were used to close transfer deals. However we can reveal that our respondents were wrong on this point; fax machines are still regularly used to share transfer documents between clubs. This is worrying given that they are slow, cumbersome and prone to regular breakdowns.
With this in mind, we took the issue to fans, investigating how they felt about the role of fax in football transfers. We were greeted with shock and outrage when people realised that Premiership clubs are still relying on fax for crucial signings. In fact, when presented with an image of a fax machine, many people had no idea what it was or how it was used.
Londoners are baffled by this image of a fax machine.
It’s clear that football transfers are an emotional issue for football fans. Under-18s are still haunted by the last minute failure of David De Gea’s transfer from Manchester United last summer, with a third of them ranking it their most memorable deadline day moment. Given the sacrifices fans would make in the name of signing their dream players, the time has come for clubs to invest in modern technology to simplify and speed up the transfer process. Hopefully, this will ensure that deadline day sticks in people’s minds for the right reasons moving forward. To do this, we need to kick the fax out of football.