It’s a tale as old as.. well since clubs had to formally register players with the leagues they play in.
A club announces in May or June that they have signed a player for the following season, that alerts higher placed clubs to the availability and strangely he’s at another club before the season starts.
Many a club has been bitten by the eagerness of announcing players off the back of a verbal agreement but the simple fact is no move is permanent until the league the club plays in releases the registration forms and starts accepting them back in.
Okay, so when are these forms out?
While we’re not entirely sure it’s uniform up and down the country, the Hellenic League usually releases forms to clubs at the end of June while Bostik Isthmian League forms are accepted from the 1st July.
Clubs have certainly got wise to this in recent seasons especially at step 5 and 6 and currently there’s more of a focus on the managerial merry-go-round than players. Naturally though there are some exceptions..
What are the exceptions?
Any player contracted to a club, by that we mean as a full time or semi professional player being paid a weekly wage.They will be contracted for a specific period of time and this can be done at any point throughout the year or season.
At step 5 it’s more unusual to see players on contract – Sam Barratt was during his final six months at Larges Lane while Bracknell Town had one player on contract last season according to the club, but it remains outside the norm.
All that being said, any club contracting players will still have to wait for a league to release the sign on forms before it’s all official and there’s always a chance a player may have outstanding fines or require international clearance from a previous club.
Main image: Harvey Griffiths signing for Bracknell Town. Please note the image is for illustration purposes and not related to the article. Photo by Andy Findlay.