3. The Old Farm Derby loans
The passion. The drama. The impressive farming machinery.
One of the hottest rivalries in recent ESMS seasons has centred on the matches between Ivor’s Army and CSKA Tulse Hill; the Old Farm Derby. For Ivor’s Army, a conduit for Norwich City despite the players being named after a glorious recent addition to a cheeseboard and the team being named after a glorious recent addition to humanity, and CSKA Tulse Hill, fielding a host of Ipswich Town legends, the result can define the season.
This season kicked off with a (bit of a) bang, with Ivor’s Army edging the first game of the Division Two season 1-0 against CSKA Tulse Hill. The battle lines were drawn for the return match.
What preceded the game was a mix of vaguely transparent Machiavellian transfer shenanigans that is shrouded in enough intrigue that it would take a full season of CSI: ESMS to get to the bottom of. The facts we do know:
- Ivor’s Army had no quality left midfielder going into the game.
- Over the course of the previous games, CSKA Tulse Hill couldn’t score for toffee.
When the teams lined up, Ivor’s Army were proud to reveal that left midfielder E_Fries had been signed on a short term loan from Kay FC for no fee. Further to that, the starting 11 also revealed IVO had further strengthened their midfield with the addition of G_McAlliser on a short term loan from Wilko’s 92 All Stars for no fee. How was this achieved? We don’t know, but we would like to.
The match was hanging in the balance by the 70th minute with CTH a goal up but a man down…when from the CTH subs bench entered Fat_Ronaldo, a player of some attacking renown who it was revealed had been signed on a short term loan for a fee of £1.50. How was this achieved? We don’t know, but we would like to. Dan Brown could not write this. Well, perhaps he could, but he definitely wouldn’t.
CSKA Tulse Hill subsequently saw out match and won the five-goal thriller in the last minute, a match on the 15th February that has in the last 5 seconds been dubbed the St. Valentines Dayish Massacre.
We don’t know what was said on that frantic day of transfer haggling leading up to that game, but we would like to know how and why so many fees were waived…
2. L_Robert to Hackbridge Harriers
How low would you go in the pursuit of money?
Would you drink a dirty pint for a bet, go through your parent’s wallets or partake in a bit of shoplifting?
Would you rob a pensioner, ‘borrow’ some items from the local clothes shop then list them on eBay or sell one of your kidneys?
Would you offer around your player on a five-game loan deal to various managers in the game claiming you want to help them out and only asking for a reduced fee, wilfully neglecting to mention the fact that this player has recently picked up a five-game injury whilst also editing the rules document for an unknown reason earlier that day and causing such consternation following the completion of the deal that a transfer appeals committee is formed in the wake of the deal?
On the 5th February 2021 Tulse Hill Invincibles loaned L_Robert to Hackbridge Harriers for five games and a £500k fee.
1. The ‘pick your match’ loan deal
Sometimes it’s hard to pick a winner in something.
Nerds and enthusiasts can spend hours debating whether the tone on a 1958 or 1959 Gibson Les Paul is superior, whether the Ferrari F90 or Lamborghini Diablo is the ultimate supercar or whether they’re Team Messi or Team Ronaldo.
“I suggest we do a dodgy loan”
Technically, it was in the rules. Morally, it was so far out of the rules it wasn’t in the same postcode. When your transfer starts whipping up the level of reaction and vitriol that causes you to denounce your trading partner then you know something must be a bit off.
What was in the rules: Players must be loaned for a minimum of three games.
What was not in the rule: Specifically which games count towards the three.
“Brilliant deal and it will wind Jeapes right up”
On the 29th July the managers of Tulse Hill Superior and Canvey Island Isolators agreed to a three game swap deal that would see one their players joining the opposing team. The key detail is that it wasn’t for three consecutive games, rather choosing three games to use the players over the course of the season, when the parent club was happy to let them go. Essentially, they would pick and chose which three games they would loan the players for over the course of that season.
The backlash was intense, the deal was cancelled and the rules were immediately tightened.
Never trust a transfer proposed with the line “I suggest we do a dodgy loan”.