This week’s column from Warrenpoint Town manager and former professional striker Matthew Tipton takes a look at his experiences of the transfer window:
“Over the course of my career I’ve experienced transfers as a player when anyone could move at any time, as a player once the transfer window become law and, following January, as a manger.
“A team-mate of mine at Macclesfield Town once told the story of how he was leaving one club at £800 per week hoping to get around £1,000-plus at his new club.
“He was stunned when negotiations with his new club started at £4,000 per week - at which point his agent earned every penny of his commission by standing up and calling the figure an embarrassment.
“This gamble worked a treat as the new club immediately upped the figure again and turned his signing-on bonus from £100,000 to £250,000.
“This just gives some insight into how things can go inside the room and although the sums are obviously much, much, smaller in the Irish League, it still comes down to the old skills of identifying the right player then getting the deal over the line.
“I spent much of my playing career negotiating my own deals and hated the games over money so was always straight up, simply asking what was the maximum on the table then working from that point.
“It is the same as a manager, this is my first transfer window and I have probably lost out on some players due to a refusal to haggle but also feel being straight is the best approach.
“We have to work within the club’s financial means but, of course, the prime factor is will Player X improve the squad.
“I may be new to management but have years of coaching experience and love developing players on the training pitch.
“But, as manager, I am judged by results each matchday and the only way to move forward from A to B as quickly as possible is to buy players.
“The long-term goal is to have teams from the reserves down to the youth sides working in the same way and having homegrown players progress up to the senior side.
“But the short-term need for results means you cannot have 11 youth products at once and the transfer window gives you a chance to bring in talent capable of pushing forward.
“The statistics show something like 900-plus players fail to find a new club each year in England and the transfer window limits opportunities for players to two periods.
“A player needs security from his career so I can understand someone trying to squeeze out the best deal possible or even staying at a club under a decent contract despite not playing much.
“I did it a few times myself as a player but, in the main, I would go knocking on the door if not playing and am happy for my players to do the same.
“It can be difficult moving players on from your squad after spending so long building up team spirit with that group and I try to help sort out a player with another club but I also have a responsibility to my club to produce the side with the best chance of achieving success.
“You tend to do your main rebuilding in the summer but January is the time to finetune to really help for the final stages of a season.
“There is a real buzz once you wrap up a deal and, for example, I felt our business was done in January with the signings of Curtis Dempster, Philip Donnelly and Anto Reilly.
“Then the opportunity came along to secure Darren Murray for the summer and we had to move quickly or risk losing out on someone who was a target for so many clubs.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m talking to a youth player stepping up or an established player like Darren Murray I’m trying to sign, my conversation starts and ends with football and how the player will fit into our style of play.
“When it comes to identifying targets for a transfer window it is a constant process.
“I have just about finished moving the names from my black book on to my iPad and you can spot a player in one game then store away that name until, months later, he is someone you want to revisit as a potential signing.
“I signed Philip Donnelly this January but first spotted him after I retired from playing over a year ago and was just watching a random match.
“You watch highlights and read newspapers to see who is doing well, plus you judge opposition players in your own games and keep a note, when possible, if someone stands out.
“If there is some free time to check out a game I will go myself to as many fixtures as possible but also use people I trust to go and watch players then report back.
“The Players’ Football Association website has a database covering England and the Republic of Ireland but information can be harder to find on our league.
“You count on word-of-mouth to hear who may be looking a move or coming out of contract and then it is about contacting the club asking for permission to speak to someone.
“I always start off with an initial phone call to gauge the interest over a move, then try to get a face-to-face as quickly as possible.
“Given our budget and standing at Warrenpoint, it is rare you can sign the finished article but, as a coach, we expect players to come in and need time with us to fit into the style of play.
“Having just finished my first transfer window, I am delighted with the squad...but also thinking about this summer’s window and beyond.”