Feel free to interview the champions further in the comments below.
We left Norwich worried about the repercussions of a set of messages appearing in the Transfer Window Simulator chat room – the talk of freezing Norwich out of the transfer window. If Norwich can’t trade, the alternative is to release our lowest value players and try to replace then with higher values. But a) this will cost tokens at this stage of the season and b) it doesn’t appear the remaining talent pool is sufficient to make this strategy viable. But as hinted earlier, hope arrives in the form of two messages.
The first comes from our arch rival Fulham, who we believe would just love to see the other teams not trade with us. Norwich had sent out a few trade offers to this point, trying to move 2 players for 1 or even 3 players for one. We had even sent out our first offers days before the window even opened. But responses were at best non-existent and certainly not positive. At Carrow Road it certainly seems like the freeze out might come to pass and it puts a damper on additional transfer efforts. But one morning this arrives:
From: Fulham Transfer Office
Sent: Aug 4, 2013 9:00 am
How do you fancy trading Marquinhos and Agger for Kompany…when it gets later in the week and if no one is willing to trade you might want to consider it as it allows you to offload a player, also not prepared to negotiate down, I’m sure you can appreciate how much more valuable 1 high value is to 2 lower value hence the extra 8 mil we want.
Hmmm. The freeze out seems to be built on a foundation of sand. Even the team most likely to benefit at this point is willing to crack the ice in their own self-interest. If our arch rival will forgo the freeze out, logic suggests that other teams will as well (especially as any team that suggests they don’t want to trade with Norwich for fear of the backlash, will get a copy of the above email as evidence that others are willing.)
Oh, and the same morning the Norwich Inbox contains an email from another team, which proposes a minor deal. The deal is so insignificant, Norwich almost ignores it, but we’ll see more of it later. First, there’s a much more significant message to deal with that will trigger the most critical event of the whole season. It’s posted in the simulator chat room and it comes from an anonymous source calling himself the “TWS Reporter.”
On, August 5, a date chiseled in the Carrow Road TWS annals, the TWS Reporter posts a message indicated that Tottenham is negotiating to deal Cristiano Ronaldo. I confess that at this point I believe the reporter is ElNinoRules, as the reporter has previously seemed to come up with info from emails that had been shared with ENR. But who the reporter is doesn’t matter, just the idea that Ronaldo and his 100 million value might be on the move is enough to set the Norwich wheels in motion again. Because of lack of positive response to previous offers for players like Falcao and Neymar, Norwich had not even tried to go after more valuable targets like Messi, Bale, or Ronaldo even though they were on our wish list. But the Reporter’s message changed that. I first saw the Reporter’s rumor via my iPhone while heading out to my car to pick up my wife across town. A trade offer was quickly typed up and emailed an attempt to land Ronaldo while sitting in my driveway (“Sorry, I’m late dear, traffic was horrendous.”)
The day before we had received this message from Ronaldo’s owners:
Sent: Aug 4, 2013, at 2:47 AM
With 3 rounds left and plenty of value in the game, you will no doubt be looking to add value to you squad, but with limited positions in your team I’m guessing this may prove difficult unless you release a player or 2. As I’m sure you are aware, release fees have now ramped up to 4 tokens so any player released will eat into your budget to replace them. [Author’s note – Typical of messages from this part of the window, here is an inference that Norwich will be unable to trade and will have to release players.]
Take a look at my team however and you will see that we are desperately short of players – the strict wage cap we operate and a lack of Champions League football clearly hampering our recruitment. We are therefore offering to take players off your hands in exchange for a notional fee. We will offer 2 tokens in exchange for any player from your ranks that you wish to offload…
Frankly, we had put this message on the back burner when it arrived. It was well down the priority list. But spurred on by the TWS Reporter, this is the reply I composed in the driveway while my wife waited on the other side of town:
Re: Cristiano Ronaldo
Sent: Aug 5, 2013, at 10:10 PM
While reviewing your offer with the Norwich board our Manager revealed that there may in fact be players on our squad who do possess some attraction for the bright lights and big city. 5 in fact. Before we conclude a 2 token deal, the board has asked me to inquire whether you would consider trading our 5 stars truck players for your Mr. Ronaldo. These players are:
Varane D 25
Kroos M 32
De Rossi M 20
Verratti M 15
Lamela S 23
That’s a total value of 115 or a net gain of 15.
Please let me know if you would consider this offer before we continue the negotiations on your original offer as this obviously makes the original moot.
The rest of the negotiations shook out like this:
On Aug 6, 2013, at 5:03 PM, Anorak wrote:
Billy is interested, but the shadowy suits have insisted there are some tokens thrown in as a sweetener. Ronaldo is our bona fide superstar, and his arrival in Norwich will surely seal the title for you, so I urge you to go the extra mile to get this deal done.
Varane, Kroos, De Rossi, Verratti, Lamela and 7 tokens and I will personally put Cristiano in a limo up the A11 myself.
Hope to be shaking hands on this soon.
On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 11:41 PM, The Shadow wrote:
I wish winning this thing was so easy, there is so much chaos in the bidding rounds that almost anything could happen.
The ‘board’ anticipated you’d come back with a counter and authorized me to accept 3 tokens (because they think Veratti is due a rise). But let’s cut to the chase, I enjoy the game a lot but the emailing back and forth drives me crazy. If you are still on tonight I’ll go 5 tokens plus the players and risk the wrath of my partners if we can put this to bed tonight without another round of emails.
followed by a simple “agreed” and confirming emails to the TWS league office.
Was the TWS Reporter’s revelation of the possibility Ronaldo moving and inside scoop, or simply an outright fabrication? I do not know. If it ever mattered, it no longer does. What I do know is if he had not posted his story, I would not have made the counter offer from my driveway that became the Ronaldo deal. Who knows how the transfer window would have then played out?
And that’s the true story of the deal that sealed the TWS championship according to many. There were three more round of player bidding to follow. From Norwich’s perspective, it was just a question of playing conservatively and using our modest but sufficient remaining tokens to fill our now 6 openings. We replaced the value lost in the Ronaldo deal by bringing in low/mid value players not attracting much attention in the closing rounds. And making the final rounds anticlimactic. Arsenal’s late surge caused some concern but the quality of the reaming pool had dropped so significantly that it did not seem mathematically possible for them to make up the needed ground.
So there you have it. Most, if not all of the secrets of Norwich’s success in season one. I hope these articles have provided some useful information for those who take up the challenge in season two. Norwich will be waiting…
“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
– Albert Einstein