West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce has bemoaned the impact of Brexit on the transfer market, claiming the new restrictions have already prevented him from signing three players he had identified to try and save the Baggies from relegation.
There is more than a hint of irony and hypocrisy at his protestations at being hamstrung in the transfer market, having previously expressed his support for Brexit and leaving the EU on a number of occasions.
The ramifications of Brexit on transfers have been well publicised for several years, with EU nationals now in need of a work permit before they can register with British clubs. Brexit would have stopped N’Golo Kante coming to England in 2015, for example, because he wouldn’t have qualified.
Brexit finally became a reality on 1 January, well over four years after the original referendum, but Allardyce has quickly discovered a major downside to the new world.
“I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they're not allowed. It's a shame,” the 66-year-old has now complained.
“Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas [previously] they would have done. I have to look at that and think 'can he qualify?'
“That has made life a bit more difficult. It's not so much the pandemic, it's the change of rules because of the Brexit deal.”
A few weeks after the 2016 vote, Allardyce referred to himself as ‘out’ because his feeling was that the ‘European Union isn’t doing the United Kingdom any favours.’
Just before the referendum, Allardyce had already taken aim at the EU over new restrictions on the loan market, seeming confusing EU membership with being subject to UEFA rules, even though more than half of UEFA’s member associations are not part of the EU.
“Don’t forget we have this massive problem of producing our own players in this country. That is one of the worst things to ever happen in this country - it’s probably why we should vote out of the EU!” Allardyce declared on the matter.
“If we can vote out then we won’t have to take UEFA law - because that is crap. Their diabolical rules are spoiling the chance for youngsters to develop in this country. We can’t send our young players on loan anywhere, only for a year.”
In May 2019, Allardyce declared his apathy with politics in general, but suggested that ‘Brexit Party’ founder and all-round gobshite Nigel Farage could be the man to get him interested again.
“I think he has always been a forthright, forward speaking intelligent man, more a businessman than a politician. If anything, he may encourage me,” he said while appearing on The Jeremy Vine Show.
Fast forward to January 2021 when his job and reputation as an undefeated relegation ‘firefighter’ depends on it, Brexit, that thing he wanted to happen, actually isn’t good after all.
Safe to say Allardyce regrexit.