Ultimately, I have no beef with transfer deadline day. In my living memory it has always existed in some guise or other – be it at the end of August, at the end of January, or (for reasons the football league never really made clear) an arbitrary day sometime in the middle of March. And I don’t really remember when it became a thing to sit and watch it unfold, but it seems to have been accepted as a thing.
However, it brings out the absolute worst in people.
Maybe it’s because I’m actually a working journalist (not to the scale of Sky Sports News people, mind you), but I can’t help but feel that anybody who goes down to the training ground to stand behind a reporter all evening is (a) something of a c**k in the first place; (b) in danger of being branded as a c**k because they cheer and dance and do c**kish things when they realise the reporter is live on air; and (c) lucky not to get a smack in the mouth for being a c**k by throwing dildos and inflatable dolls at the person who’s standing there freezing their tits off reporting any old rubbish and who would rather be anywhere else instead of cursing their luck that they didn’t book transfer deadline day off work.
I’m not sure what it says about the British public when we have to say things like “you’re live on TV, please don’t say anything offensive”. The natural position of anybody should be not saying anything offensive. Unless you’re Micah Richards and you’ve just scored your first ever career goal, and that’s an out-take I think we can all forgive.
Let’s be honest, there’s been a big attitude change in recent years. Very few deals are done on the final day of the window because football clubs’ directors and managers have suddenly realised that there’s no point in leaving things to the last minute just in case Tucker’s Law takes effect. Personally, on this point, that’s why I’ve got no sympathy for clubs when they miss out on players or have to apply for an extension – my answer would simply be: “no, you bunch of tits, you’ve had two sodding months to get this done.”
Then the follow up would be: “No, I don’t care that he fell asleep at the airport, Sven.”
This is why I have sympathy for the reporters who have to go and stand at the arse-end of nowhere with a bunch of clowns making really far too much noise for that time in the night. And it’s always why it baffles me when people say they’d love to be a sports journalist after what they’ve seen on TV. Do these people NOT see the amount of crap they have to put up with? Most of them will never be in a position where they can be fired from a multi-million pound job because of sexist comments made when they didn’t realise the mic was on.
I think it’s the dramatisation of it that brings out this reaction in people. “We can cross over now to John Thing outside Manchester United’s training ground, he’s there now wearing shoes… John, what’s the latest?”
Invariably, the latest is pretty much what everyone expects – some footballer is in the building BUT THE DEAL HASN’T BE SIGNED YET. At this point, I’d invite most people to switch of the TV and cut the bullpats – he’s not signed yet, it’s 20 minutes to the deadline, the clubs have got all the paperwork in order, the FA know about it, and he’ll sign sometime soon. The deal probably isn’t going to fall through.
But that’s not enough for those in the studio, who must get the latest comments from two guests who were only available because they got paid rather handsomely and who’ve got no insider knowledge of any of the transfers taking place. Both of them probably had better things to do, too, like lying down or blinking.
Perhaps this was the way to deal with it in the early days of the transfer windows, but it’s rather old hat and frankly annoying now. Most clubs have done all their business by the final day and, let’s be honest, Sky Sports News are never going to be as lucky as they were in September 2008 when somebody suddenly pumped billions of pounds into a mid-table club.
But that’s not the worst of it.
There are people out there that are so determined to be thought of that they have insider contacts that they’ll tweet their “latest information” from their sources, despite their source being a journalist who has just also tweeted the latest information from their source and despite everyone following the former also following the latter.
Those people I can deal with, though. They’re just a mild annoyance.
I save most of the vitriol I have built-up over the course of the day for the fans. Frankly, I thought it was hilarious watching some of the U-turns performed on Radamel Falcao from Manchester City supporters. When he looked like he was heading to Eastlands, he was some of the finest Colombian imports, but as soon as it became clear that Old Trafford was his likely destination then he was suddenly as unreliable as some watered down methadone.
There were some bloody awful jokes tweeted on that matter too – the sort that only get retweeted by the person who wrote them, but from a different account they manage.
And yes, I’m aware methadone isn’t used for cocaine addiction, but sod it this is transfer deadline day we’re talking about here, who cares if I’m accurate or not? Some inside sources are so desperate for credit, they’ll feed anyone any information they can, so it’s usually wrong. Some would call it a great piece of satire, though me and you both know I’m just too lazy to research properly.
The absolute worst aspect of deadline day, though – I know, despite the previous 959 words, I’m yet to cover it – is the people who moan about how over-dramatised it’s become. I am exactly what’s wrong with it. I am more of a c**k than the c**ks who stand behind the reporters. I know that the whole deadline day coverage is pure nonsense and yet I’m here writing about how much it annoys me and I even briefly watched Sky Sports News on Monday night.
At least those who stand behind the reporters aren’t aware that it’s s**t. I know it’s s**t and still there I am lapping it up with a desert spoon. I have absolutely no right to moan about the drama of Jim White et al. But because I’m a hypocrite, I’m going to do it anyway.
Written by David Mooney