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Tim Dellor's Royals Watching: Reading break leaves room for other sports



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Not being a fan of international football breaking up the rhythm of the domestic season, when there are no Reading games for a fortnight I turn my attention to other sports.

RAMS against Rosslyn Park in National League 1 was a thriller last Saturday. Andy Murray’s performances in Indian Wells made good viewing. Fury V Wilder is understandably being described as fight of the century, so far. I even enjoyed Lewis Hamilton having a bust up with his own Mercedes team in Turkey.

The undisputed highlight though was my annual trip to Newmarket to Tattersall’s Yearling Sales. This is where the great and the good of horseracing converge every October to buy young wannabe racehorses for squillions of pounds. Actually, they trade in guineas, which is part of the historical charm of the event.

Tim Dellor
Tim Dellor

Each day a couple of hundred horses are led into a magnificent auction ring. Like a catwalk for horses, they parade around a few times, while an auctioneer tries to get the very wealthy onlookers to part with as much money as possible. These horses have never been ridden before, are not fully grown, and yet fetch anywhere between a few thousand and a couple of million guineas. A guinea is valued at £1:05.

Once the auctioneers gravel comes down the horse is led out the ring and to a waiting horsebox, to be transported to wherever in the world the new owner cares to train their string. Many head back down to Lambourn. Some end up in the US, the Middle East or Australia.

Palace Pier is the best example of a rip roaring success recently. Sold for a few hundred thousand, he lines up in the QE2 at Ascot on Champions Day, and if he wins will cover the costs of the investment for the owners with that race win alone. Palace Pier is the exception. More than 50% of yearlings bought at the sales are not fast enough to make it to a racecourse.

So why such detail about this traditional element of the horseracing industry in a football column? Because when I am in charge of FIFA it is the way the transfer windows are going to operate. Any player who wants to change clubs will need to jog round the centre circle at Wembley a few times. Any prospective buyers will bid for the player in a fast paced auction. There will be no time for social media rumours or speculation, fitness tests, personal terms, the involvement of agents or WAGS, or bartering. It will be fast, clinical and ruthless.

Managers will buy players based entirely on how they move and look, and their temperament on the day of the auction. Some players will go on to be club legends, while others will never make it into the first team.

This new system also eliminates another pet hate of mine – the undisclosed fee. Not any more will it be undisclosed as everyone will have had a chance to see exactly what bids are coming in for a defensive midfielder who played a handful of games in the Premier League six years ago, but has since struggled with a knee injury.



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