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 of things is far too easy, and probably comfortable, and reporters should never be comfortable inside of things, lest we cotton on that their jobs are actually pretty easy. I once saw a report on the effects of the cold snap on the rise in hospital admissions, which required – naturally – the intrepid reporter to stand in the cold outside of the hospital (all the way across the road from it in fact, so it was nicely in view) interviewing its chief resident doctor for what seemed like an irresponsibly long time in the shivering cold. This interview could quite easily have taken place inside the hospital of course, where stuff was actually happening, or even in said doctor’s office, allowing both interviewer and -ee a comfortable level of relaxation, aiding and abetting the fluidity and coherence of the conversation immensely one would imagine. But no, they had to stand outside, in the cold, ironically increasing their chances of getting ill and needing to go to the hospital across the road. 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 that has something do with the story, and thus “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 Eastlands despite the actual negotiations taking place in Italy, or at the end of a country road that leads to the training pitch they’re not allowed to go near, just to reassure all us plebs that they’re not merely sitting at home checking their twitter feeds like the rest of us.
Ex-Players sitting inside, in cupboards – Whilst 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 opinion it is he’s espousing 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 current player, and make insightful observations with words 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 1982.
Cars – Cars form a crucially important part of transfer speculation, filling up hours of repeatable filler footage as reporters speculate wildly on the actions of various players from outside of a stadium or the end of a country lane. Most footballers these days drive cars of course, and most of these are inappropriately large, expensive things with tinted windows that all inexplicably look pretty much the same. This means that footage of a large car with tinted windows entering and exiting somewhere nondescript makes the perfect visual filler for virtually any story. As rolling news trundles on in its constant desperation for something to happen, this footage will be replayed endlessly as the hapless “man at the scene” 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 themselves, a car will stop and converse with the mass of hungry reporters for anything up to a whole three minutes. Frequently however, this conversation will yield no interesting information, and ‘Arry will simply be asking them if anyone knows the form for the 3:40 at Lingfield.
Sunglasses in Airports – In a spin off from the ‘Cars’ motif, constant footage of players walking around airports with a wheeled suitcase dressed like diamond encrusted clowns will abound. 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 complete and utter twunt.
Women – Due to the recent Sky sexism scandal, women will now perform all acts of reportage leading up to the deadline, as the once proud network that gave us Mile High seeks to claw back its credibility, whilst the other networks seize on their chance to get one over on Old Rupe’s boy’s club. After Richard Keys’ inevitable public flogging (which will take place in The Body Shop and be screened exclusively on Living TV) Helen Chamberlain will be put in charge of all live footballing matters and Jamie Redknapp will (literally) be replaced by Louise – in order to maintain the ancient and accepted quota of Redknapps in football.
Boyhood Dreams fulfilled – Once a player has actually signed for a club, much to the orgasmic joy of reporters and viewers everywhere, he will almost certainly be required to declare some kind of pride at his new employment. In many cases, this will include a gushing fulfillment of some cherished aspirational dream. This line can be recycled indefinitely, especially if you’re Robbie Keane and you’ve signed for one of your many numerous boyhood clubs.
Arsene Wenger – Arsenal’s raptorially elegant manager is a notable mainstay of the January transfer window. Most notable by his absence in fact, but his constant assurances that he will eventually actually buy someone, but that he doesn’t need to, and actually won’t. Some say Wenger is mistrusting of the process of mid-season transfers, some say he will never buy again, and some say he’s has never actually ever bought anyone anyway, and instead grown all his players form an experimental cress garden in his attic, lending credence to the argument that Marouane Chamakh was made from fossilized Raptor DNA after Wenger had watched Jurassic Park over Christmas one year.
Sir Alex Ferguson – Like his nemesis come friend, come nemesis, come friend again, Fergie will be similarly notable for his non-entrance to the mid-winter fray, and his constant assurances that he has actually got lots of money to spend, looaads of it, honest guv, but he just doesn’t see anything he likes, so there. Pfftttttttt.
Last minute changes of heart – Some players don’t really care where they go, as long as they go somewhere, so desperate are they to escape from whatever slavish, highly paid hell they’re currently slumming it in. At some point, but almost always at the very last minute, a player will seem destined to sign for one club, only to suddenly decide to switch to another at the last minute, usually on the basis that this club is actually better, but apparently really where he wanted to go to all along, and also his boyhood club, that he’s dreamed of since he kicked balls of newspaper around a Rio slum.
Shirts and Tattoos of unsigned players – In the age old tradition of football fans being complete idiots, some irresponsibly excitable fan will decide – wholly unwisely, and probably without the consultation of his doctors – to buy a shirt, or in extreme cases, get a tattoo, with the name and presumed number of a player spuriously linked with his club. Said fan will then be promptly ridiculed by the footballing world at large and drag down the reputation of his exasperated colleagues, most likely at Newcastle or Manchester City. If this doesn’t happen, a photo-shopped picture will appear on the Internet, and everyone will assume it has anyway.
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