I’m guessing that it’s highly unlikely that anyone reading this has ever bought or sold a football player (if you exclude playing Football Manager of course).
However it’s more likely that you’ve been involved in buying and selling a house and it may be worth considering that experience.
Let’s imagine that you live in a property on Lafferty Street. It’s a tall town house with a certain charm which you’ve had for a couple of years. But then let’s say your circumstances change; maybe your family has got bigger or maybe you got a promotion. Either way, you decide that it’s time to look elsewhere for something better and more suited to your new needs.
You’d probably look at the areas that you’d like to move to, make a list of your requirements and contact various agents to see what’s available. You get shown the details of some beautiful properties and then find out that the asking price is way beyond your budget.
You could possibly stretch yourself to make the new mortgage payments but then what if the promotion didn’t work out and you lost your new job? Do you push it and risk financial problems or settle for something more modest that sits within your budget?
Some properties may carry a premium because of where they are situated. Is that a good investment or is it better to look further a field where you can get more for your money but you don’t know the area so well?
The chances are that you will spend a lot of time and effort viewing all manner of properties, looking for the one that ticks all the boxes (or as many as possible) and which more importantly is within your price range.
After a lot of searching you find a house on Naismith Avenue. You contact the current owner and make an offer but he turns you down and decides he doesn’t want to sell after all.
So you go back to Lafferty Street but all of a sudden it just doesn’t seem like home anymore because you’ve set your heart on moving. Meanwhile your family are divided. One of your kids loves your old home and doesn’t want to move.
Another one was desperate to go to the new place and gives you all manner of grief for not making a bigger offer. Whilst they squabble, you weigh up your options knowing that you’re the one who’s ultimately responsible for keeping them and your bank manager happy.
After a while you get word that the house on Naismith Avenue may be available again and wait for news. It seems as though the owner is prepared to sell but he’s still considering his options and he may need to find a new place too.
Furthermore you’ve yet to find a buyer for your old home. It’s been on the market for a while but you haven’t received any offers close to your asking price.
An Italian guy has expressed an interest but he only wants to rent the property and you really need to sell in order to buy the new place. Most house sales involve a chain of some sort, with each transaction being dependent on several others.
That is unless you’re a wealthy developer and a cash buyer – but you’re not one of them.
Assuming you can agree both deals, there’s still a lot of work to do. There’s the survey to carry out to make sure that the new place hasn’t got any hidden issues and won’t fall to the ground immediately after you’ve spent all your money on it.
Then there are all manner of legal agreements to work through and different agents to liaise with. All of this with the knowledge that there are other parties interested who may come in at the last minute and outbid you.
OK, back to the real world and I appreciate that all of this is a fairly clumsy analogy. However the point is that many of us have experienced how difficult it can be to buy and sell a house.
It is often a long and drawn out process that contains many complications, obstacles and disappointments along the way. However there seems to be an assumption in some quarters, that signing a new football player is relatively straightforward.
If anything it’s harder. After all, unlike a football player, a house won’t pull out of a deal because it doesn’t fancy the potential new owners. And of course the housing market isn’t constrained by two transfer windows where suddenly everyone is looking to conclude their business.
As supporters, we take on the role of the kids; either urging ‘Dad’ to spend the money with no responsibility or sense of the state of the finances; or alternatively saying that the new place is a dump and really not worth it.
Many City fans (myself included) feel that the transfer dealings of last summer could have been better and I’m sure that with hindsight mistakes were made. However I don’t believe it was due to a lack of effort or endeavour on the part of those who run the club.
Similarly I’m sure that those same people are working tirelessly now to make sure that things fall into place by the time this window ‘slams shut’ (that’s for Stewart).
We just need to recognise how complicated it is and show a bit of patience.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevocook