I have to say that like many other managers, players and club administrators, l have found this transfer window to be one of the most difficult and frustrating that l have ever been involved in.
This was for a variety of reasons, but was mainly due to the fact that a number of clubs had a high level of injury problems, were reluctant to release their players and at the last minute they also missed out on transfers, which resulted in us then losing out on several agreed deals due to the knock-on effects. This was primarily the reason why both the Chung Yong Lee and Josh Cullen deals did not happen.
That said, we were very pleased with the deals that we did manage to complete.
I’d like to welcome Tyler Walker and Jon Flanagan who have joined us on loan for the remainder of the season from Nottingham Forest and Liverpool respectively, while I’m delighted that Reece Burke and in particular Zach Clough have returned to the club also on loan. These four join Harry Charsley in signing for the club during the window.
I am sure you’ll give them all a very warm welcome when they pull on the jersey.
A great deal has been written and said elsewhere about the transfer of Gary Madine, and l can say that, like many of you, l was very disappointed to lose him.
However, despite all that has been written and said elsewhere, even by some of the people close and actively involved in the transfer, it became obvious to me towards the end of last week that Gary and his advisors had decided on a move away despite having made what l considered to be a very good, new contract offer to Gary, whereby his salary and add-ons effectively doubled his current salary and extended the length of the contract by a further year to 2020.
However, for whatever their reasons, Gary and his advisors declined to accept our proposals.
Indeed, discussions came to a stage whereby Gary submitted a written transfer request on January 24, which was after the initial offers from Cardiff had been received and swiftly declined, and despite all the efforts made by the manager and myself to keep Gary, it was not to be.
I reluctantly agreed on Tuesday to meet with the Cardiff chairman personally to try and reach an agreement that would be financially beneficial and acceptable to the club.
As l said in my notes on January 17, and have said in the past, if and when an exceptional offer was made for any of our players, l would also have to consider the club’s longer term financial situation and base my final decision on now and the future, which as we all now know, culminated in Gary moving to Cardiff on a three-year deal and on substantially better terms than we could have offered him if l was to continue the prudent and commercially financial path that we are now having to take.
I do not blame or disagree with Gary’s decision and fully understand that he has to consider his own and his family’s future as the life and career of a professional footballer is a short one and is sometimes made even shorter by injury, as has clearly been seen with Mark Davies.
Both clubs agreed not to disclose the transfer details, but surprisingly - and l don’t know how - the level of the fee and the payment terms that have been referred to elsewhere and the figures being bandied around are not that far from reality.
Indeed, the transaction is one of the largest in this Sky Bet Championship window and is up there with previous club record transfers.
Furthermore, l can say that the determining factor in agreeing to the transfer, albeit that it was only reluctantly and finally accepted on Wednesday morning, was the fact that the fee was to be paid immediately with further substantial add-ons in the future, together with a substantial share of any future transfer proceeds.
As has been stated on many occasions by other clubs, the biggest disadvantage of doing last minute transfers is the difficulty and almost impossible challenge of finding a replacement so late in the day, and as it turned out, despite making numerous enquiries and several offers to other clubs and players, we were unable to conclude a deal to replace Gary.
Many of the names that have been mentioned in the media as possible targets were correct, but as l have already said, despite all the efforts by the manager, the recruitment team and myself, we were not successful.
We have not given up on finding a suitable replacement for Gary and are today actively looking at out-of-contract players.
Despite receiving bids for other players in our squad, we opted to ensure that nobody else left. It was always our intention to come out of this window with a larger squad, although I do accept that Gary is a massive loss and will be difficult to replace between now and the end of the season, but both the manager and I believe that we have a squad strong enough to retain Championship status this season and to kick on next season.
Tomorrow’s game against Bristol City marks the start of a busy month of February for the team, with six Sky Bet Championship fixtures to come – three away and home apiece.
Months such as this can be crucial, especially in our current position, with momentum there for the taking – picking up points when the games are coming thick and fast can make or break seasons.
And with us now having two successive home games, starting on Friday and next weekend against Fulham – we need to make our recent form here at Macron Stadium count.
As ever, your support is crucial and by sticking together and getting behind the players, home and away, we can achieve our ambitions.
If you haven’t already bought your tickets for the game, you can buy them online by clicking here. And please don’t forget that season ticket holders can buy up to four additional tickets for just £10 each so that their family, friends or colleagues can come to Macron Stadium and support the team.
As always, let's be loud, let's be proud and let’s get behind the boys!