I thought with the Johnny Margetts and Theo Robinson saga we’d had our fill of deadline day suspense, and once deadline day had passed and my head hit the pillow I thought the same. Then, Friday morning happened and the whispers started. Since then I can’t help but feel the case of Simeon Akinola has become something of an embarrassment to the FA.
Danny was put in a tough situation when quizzed pre-match about his new signing. Radio Lincolnshire knew who it was, Danny knew who it was and by then I think every man and his dog knew who it was. Simeon had been seen on the training pitch Friday, spotted at the ground by fans after training and seen by most fans Saturday too. Danny, officially, still could not say anything. Farcical? Absolutely. This underlines the need for a secure and private training facility if nothing else.
During the game Barnet chose to release a statement about the player, telling the world they had agreed a transfer and pending paperwork he would become a City player. Shortly after, no doubt spurred on by the Bees statement, Lincoln released the same. Danny’s interest had been kept quiet all summer long, almost up until 5pm deadline day, but by 3pm Saturday it was common knowledge. Amusingly after the game Danny had been clued into the statements by the club, and Michael Hortin referred to a player who ‘looks a lot like Simeon Akinola’ stood behind Danny. Both parties were bound by restrictions, Michael will have know it was Simeon, Danny will have known he knew and yet both played out the charade of not knowing before the game. It would be tragic if it wasn’t so bloody amusing.
It is now the 3rd of September, almost 72 hours since the end of the deadline and we still do not know if Simeon Akinola is a Lincoln City player or not. It seems as though the FA have yet to ratify the deal, although they have managed to give Barnet the green light on Dave Tarpey, and I’m led to believe his paperwork was sent in at a similarly late hour. What could possibly be the hold-up?
Maybe the problem is international clearance? Simeon is Nigerian, born in Lagos, so perhaps there is a complication there? Maybe Barnet were late sending their paperwork in? They are the only two issues I can think that could possibly hold up the deal for so long, but whatever it is, the situation is now becoming a bit of a joke. The Lincoln City statement said; “The EFL has written to both clubs to request supporting documentation be provided in order for a further review to take place.” Maybe the issue is with the agreed fee?
Surely the FA, a national institution used to dealing with transfers, have the facility to sort things much quicker? I’ve never heard of a Premier League transfer to take this amount of time, in truth I’ve never heard of any transfer to take this amount of time. If supporting paperwork is needed, why could it not be dealt with Friday morning like all the other transfers? Dave Tarpey was signed and able to play for Barnet on Saturday, and yet Sim is still kicking his heels not knowing what the future holds. What if the FA say the transfer can’t go through? Does Sim go back to a club that don’t want him, knowing he won’t play at all? Will Barnet be paying the wages of a player they don’t want, in addition to their new faces? Surely some common sense should be applied?
There could still be late disappointment, Barnsley and Swansea fell foul of the FA this transfer window. Swansea attempts to sign full back Andy Yiadom on loan failed due to late paperwork. Both clubs appealed to the FA to allow the move for the Ghanaian to go ahead but they ruled the paperwork was submitted too late. Could the ‘extra paperwork’ needed for the Sim deal be time specific?
It is the most bizarre and uncertain situation I think I’ve ever known for an Imps player, and at the centre of it is an exciting prospect desperate to play for Danny Cowley and Lincoln City. I said how I thought Danny is a catalyst for Sim’s ability, at Barnet he didn’t get the right management under which to thrive. He was first linked with us last summer, again in January and now this window too, I just hope that there isn’t yet another twist in the Simeon Akinola saga. The boy just wants to play football, and despite our excellent draw against Luton, we need him too.