This week we have sealed a deal that massively excites me in bringing Billy Sharp back to Doncaster Rovers.
Billy is a player who everyone at the club loves but more important for us is the fact he is a proper goalscorer.
Transfers are never as simple as making a couple of phone calls and signing some paperwork. There is a tremendous amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes and it was certainly the case with this one.
Nine times out of ten when you try to sign a player there are half a dozen other clubs interested in the same man and so it turns into a bidding war.
What we have tried to do is get players in who other clubs are not aware are available. Our extensive list of contacts help us do that and it has helped us sign players of the quality of Abdou Meite and Gabby Tamas this month.
Abdou was training with us but we wanted to get the deal done quickly when we could. Through contacts we had found out he was available way before other clubs new.
It was the same with Tamas who we originally tried to sign in the summer but left it alone when Champions League clubs were chasing him. Through contacts we got him in under the radar.
Whenever we bring someone from abroad, whether they have English league experience or not, I like to get them down to the training ground first.
We believe that once players get a taste of the atmosphere we are trying to create here and what we’re trying to do with the players then it will be very hard for them to leave again.
Getting the calibre of players such as Tamas and Meite sends a strong message out to other players about our intentions and ambitions. It has a domino effect that helps bring a similar quality of player in.
I believe that all started when we agreed a new deal with Richie Wellens. I’m not saying we wouldn’t have signed Gabby, Abdou or Billy had that not happened but it would have made it a lot more difficult.
We held on to our talisman, the captain at the time and one of our most experienced players and that sends out a great message. Richie was the first piece of the puzzle.
Making Billy Sharp the final piece of the puzzle took a lot of hard work, plenty of persistence and a good deal of pestering.
Southampton probably think I’m a right pain in the backside because once I got the encouraging signs that it might happen I never left them alone.