The 31st of January. Just another day in the football calendar, albeit one without any actual football, save Southend United vs. Newport County.
Distinguished slightly by the ending of the mid-term period allotted to register new players but little more than a logistical failsafe to cross the i’s and dot the t’s and make sure all the cumbersome bureaucratic paperwork is completed before we exit the first month of the New Year.
WRONG Bitches! For this is Sky’s Super Awesome Magic Transfer Deadline Day Bonanz-O-rama! Only the most bed soilingly Bangerang day of the year. Like Christmas crossed with New Year sprinkled with your 21st birthday, only not your 21st birthday, you worthless boring peasant, your 21st birthday if you were one of the Beckhams or the Osbournes only featuring Jim White – That’s right, JIM WHITE! THE JIM WHITE!! (Actually no, not the Jim White, he plays snooker.) The country’s SECOND MOST NOTABLE JIM WHITE! – That bloke you might recognise off Sky Sports News if you watch it enough accompanied by an interchangeable collection of tits, both figurative and literal!
If Sky’s overly dramatic Nolan-esque promo is anything to go by, this years festivities will be scored by Hans Zimmer and take place in Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom Universe. It’s only a matter of time before they’re numbered and sponsored. With that in mind, what can we mere mortals expect to get for our subscription fees from the 20th Biannual Sky Deadline Day Bonanza in conjunction with EDF Energy & Wimpy?
REPORTERS STANDING OUTSIDE, IN FRONT OF THINGS
Reporters often stand outside, in front of things. Standing outside in front of things is an important pre-requisite of what reporters do. Standing inside, behind things is far too easy, and probably comfortable, and reporters should never be comfortable inside of things, lest we cotton on to how easy their jobs actually are.
I once watched a report on the dire effects of the cold snap on hospital admissions, which required the intrepid reporter on scene to stand outside, in front of the hospital in question. All the way across the road from it in fact, so it was nicely in view, interviewing its chief resident doctor in the snow on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection. Ironically this both increased their chances of getting ill and diminished their ability to get to the hospital.
Often reporters are made to stand outside in front of important landmarks that have nothing relevant to do with the story they’re discussing, but merely to prove they’re in a place and “looking busy.” We can expect to see a lot of this kind of pointless behaviour as reporters stand idly about in front of Stamford Bridge or The Etihad despite the actual negotiations taking place in Portugal or Belize and not in the middle of the Fulham Road. Or perched at the end of a country road that leads to a training ground they’re not allowed near, all just to reassure us plebs they’re not merely sitting at home checking their Twitter feeds like the rest of us.
This is almost always accompanied by…
SPURCHINS… AND OTHER ANIMALS
If Reality TV has taught us anything (and it hasn’t) it’s that everyone wants to be on television. Being on television, however fleetingly or ignominiously is the status signifier of the 21st century, along with Twitter followers and pretending to like Ryan Gosling films. As soon as a reporter is stationed outside in front of a thing, it’s only a matter of time before a curious throng of dubious specimens begin to gather, enraptured moth like by the bright lights and the promise of nationwide exposure.
More often than not they manifest as urchin-like children, escaped from parental attention (providing their parents aren’t watching Sky Sports News) and determined to spend their youthful freedom staring gormlessly into the dark lens of the soul. This tends to make the reporter look a bit like Fagin, or a dowdy pied piper, harnessing the evil power of transfer speculation to lure the nation’s children out of their homes to do his bidding.
EX PLAYERS SITTING INSIDE CUPBOARDS
While reporters are rightly treated like the roaming cattle they are, former players are treated with a modicum more respect by the transfer speculation express. When discussing the possibility of a player’s transfer from one club to the other, it is of course vital to have the opinion of someone who has – at one time or another – played for one club, or the other. This player will likely have no knowledge of the current inner workings of the club, or indeed football itself, having stopped playing in the early 80s and never gotten closer to the game than a celebrity golf tournament since.
Yet his opinion will lend gravitas to whatever story it is he’s commenting on and he’ll be available. Former players are almost always interviewed in two ways; via satellite from a celebrity golf tournament, or in a cupboard full of monitors. The second allows said former player to view footage of said transfer and rattle off insightful phrases like. “…which is what he’ll bring to the table” and “a whole new dimension.” If he’s really lucky he’ll be able to slip in an anecdote about his time at Fulham in 1981 before he’s allowed to return to his life of golf and bankruptcy.
REPORTERS REPORTING ON OTHER REPORTERS
Whether standing outside in front of things, or sitting indoors behind things, or merely trapped in limbo on their way to do things, Sky will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to cannibalise their own reporting and eat up those precious viewing hours. Enter Jim White, the sort of self-created deadline Deity cum dancing transfer monkey of Sky Sports News who’s projected image is used as the headline act in the network’s deluded promotion of the event.
Jim’s whereabouts will be reported on throughout the day by other reporters as if he’s a transfer himself, in an act of almost Zen satire entirely lost on the protagonists. His grinning visage will also appear routinely on the sidebar alongside whichever news-tits he’s scheduled to anchor with, like a sort of monstrous inter-gender boxing card. Those in the know say this year he’ll wear a cape and enter on a runway of dry ice to the strains of Headline News by Weird Al Yankovic.
CARS & SUNGLASSES
Cars form a crucially important part of transfer speculation. Most footballers these days drive cars of course, and most of these are inappropriately large, expensive things with tinted windows that all inexplicably look the same. This makes for the perfect visual filler in virtually any story. As rolling news trundles on in its constant desperation for something to happen, such footage will be replayed endlessly as the hapless roving reporter informs us that “we’ve heard nothing yet, but he arrived at training this morning as usual.”
Occasionally, to the unbridled joy of the huddled, wild outdoor newsmen, a car will stop and converse with the mass of hungry reporters. Frequently however, this conversation will yield no interesting information, and ‘Arry will simply be asking if anyone knows the form for the 3:40 at Lingfield.
When, against all the odds, a transfer actually is happening, footage of cars simply won’t cut it anymore and only footage of players walking around airports with wheeled suitcases dressed like diamond encrusted clowns will suffice. This is a must for your more personal rolling news filler, and will mandatorily require the player in question to be wearing sunglasses, despite the fact he’s in England, in the winter and most significantly indoors, contravening Rule 4 of the official people’s guide to not being a giant tool. (See also: Scarves) If one thing can be said for super Jim and his merry band of excitables, they’ve never needed sunglasses.