Portsmouth chief uses failed Town move as cautionary transfer tale 

Ian Crook agreed to join Ipswich from Norwich in 1996 before later pulling out of the deal

Ian Crook agreed to join Ipswich from Norwich in 1996 before later pulling out of the deal - Credit: Archant

Portsmouth chief executive Andy Cullen has used a failed Ipswich Town move as his example, while discussing his club’s summer transfer policy. 

Cullen, in an interview with The News in Portsmouth, has insisted the Fratton Park side will not be announcing any new arrivals until the transfer window officially opens in June 10. 

He says that’s because he fears announcing any new signings before they can be officially registered, once the window is open, only serves to alert other clubs to the availability of players. 

Cullen, a Norwich fan, has used Town’s move to sign Ian Crook from the Canaries in 1996 as an example, with the former City player pictured holding Ipswich kit and a scarf aloft before ultimately deciding to return to Carrow Road after a late change of heart. 

“As a Norwich fan, I’ll always remember Ian Crook signing for Ipswich in the summer of 1996, with them parading him as their new player,” Cullen told The News. 

“However, they never got the deal done, they couldn’t register it – and then he had a change of heart. 

“Days later he returned to Norwich after Mike Walker came back to the club, so was never an Ipswich player. 

‘You can have all the paperwork in the book, but it can't be dated until that particular point, so the contract is not really valid and has no legal standing until that date.” 

Discussing the current market, he said: “You cannot register any paperwork until the day the transfer window opens, which is a new dynamic in the EFL this year compared to previous years. 

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“A deal is never a deal until it is registered with the Football League – and you cannot register those deals until the transfer window opens (on June 10). 

“There may be deals already done, there may be papers in drawers, but I think if you disclose it then all you’re doing is alerting potential competitors to hijack your deals. 

“You wouldn’t want to. If you have a deal done at the table, all you would do is heighten the risk of that deal potentially not going through. 

“Some clubs have done it by announcing signings, but there’s not many. 

“It's never, ever done, there’s still something which could be upset. Until it’s registered, there’s nothing to say in terms of whether you have the deal done or not.” 

Ipswich have already announced the signings of Freddie Ladapo and Dominic Ball following their exits from Rotherham and QPR respectively, with no concerns over the deals. 

They will join up with the Town squad when they return for pre-season training later this month.