A time often associated with great panic and bewilderment for most Tottenham fans, it must've been some relief that this summer's TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY!!!(!)$$£$404error$!!- as declared officially by the parping cyborg mouth-trumpet of Jim White- was rather a mundane one.
The morning starts with dear old 'Arry Redknapp addressing the Sky Sports News cameras from the passenger seat of his leather-clad 4x4. An impatient Kevin Bond taps the steering wheel as the Spurs manager admits that he's looking at one or two. He also confesses that he hasn't heard from the chairman yet and he's probably still in bed. If there's business to be done, you see, it'll be done in Daniel Levy's own sweet time and the closer he can sail to the deadline without having to put on a pair of trousers, very much the better. Brinkmanship at its finest.
The hours then pootle along with lots more gab from the manager- we're looking at three or four but it's difficult, you know?- and rumours of superstar footballers in helicopters darting around the airspace circulate on Twitter to fuel the confusion. Then, as quick as the idea forming; it's dead again. The stopwatch in the SSN studio reaches 00.00.00, the window thumps shuts and Spurs have signed Ryan Nelsen on a free.
Everyone is sad.
The final day bedlam wasn't just reserved for the stewardship of Harold James Redknapp, either, wheeler-dealer extraordinaire. André Villas-Boas was a bold and progressive appointment for Spurs but he, too, was kept sweating in his first window with the club.
João Moutinho, you say? Interesting. Have you considered Fulham's Clint Dempsey?
This summer, however, the blueprint for Tottenham's transfer dealings has been almost unrecognizable. While one might argue that it remains a squad with obvious deficiencies- Assou-Ekotto's departure, for example, has done nothing to address the club's shallow pool of competent fullbacks- there has been at least, the semblance of a plan. If nothing else, the early, no-nonsense business conducted by Levy and new Director of Football, Franco Baldini, has removed any need for the North London club to be scratching around in the eleventh-hour trying to orchestrate some impossibly complex deal (think Damião) or plug holes with last-minute bargain bucket specials (think Dempsey).
Instead, the majority of Spurs' work has been completed in the summer's early months (Paulinho, Chadli and Soldado all signed before August 1st). Which, as well as negating any need for impulse purchases on Deadline Day, has given the new players a sufficient period to attune to their new surroundings. Targets were identified and signatures procured quickly with minimal fuss. Very much who, how much, let's tango.
This more nuanced approach in the market has some understandable origins. The imminent departure of Gareth Bale has no doubt helped finance the extensive recruitment (there's not too much you can't do with the promise of €100m swilling around in your bank account- even without Champions League football) and the club's insistence on finishing their incoming business prior to the Welshman leaving, left them in a position of control which had previously not been the case. Up to and including the triple-bag of Lamela, Chiriches and Eriksen, every player was signed before Real Madrid had shown Spurs the colour of their Euro.
Compare, then, to the Tottenham which sold Dimitar Berbatov to United in 2008 on the final day of the summer window; when they were left with a princely sum of £30m but the disastrous situation of having zero time to spend it and having to find work for Frazier Campbell. The difference is clear.
Theories abound that Arsenal's promise to invest heavily was a trigger for Levy (and majority shareholder John Lewis) to get their collective acts together. In early-June, Chief-executive, Ivan Gazidis, talked of new revenue streams being available at the Emirates and pledged to do things which would excite you (steady, Ivan) which can't failed to have pricked the ears of Spurs' top eggs. Having watched their team fall short once again in the race for the Champions League places, while also realising the chances of their best player leaving was, well, likely, they couldn't afford to be left behind.
Whatever the cause for this change of transfer strategy, Tottenham fans will be encouraged that, as well as a willingness to invest seriously in the squad- something which might've looked improbable considering the club's aspirations for a new stadium- the moneymen upstairs are waking up to the idea that the final hours of the transfer window aren't necessarily the best time to do all your shopping. To that end, they might have to get used to Deadline Day being an altogether more serene affair. But you get the impression they'll cope.