As transfer deadline day approaches, withering yet more precious life fragments from our ultimately pointless existences, like a child whose pined all Christmas for that dream present only to find Santa has given it to that rich brat down the road and he’s been left to make do with a barely functioning second hand training bike on loan from Wigan which his father had to sell his favorite jumper to afford – now’s as good a time as any to compile a list! And surely it’s that time again where we mockingly predict things that are inevitably likely to happen on planet football before the window closes, finally affording us sweet, blessed, gentle release from the madness, and all that endless, endless speculation.
1. People still standing outside in front of things – People love standing in front of things. I know I do. Usually I like to stand facing them though, enabling me to get a good juicy view of the particular thing of interest I’m standing in front of, which is a luxury rarely afforded to the unenviable roving reporter on transfer deadline day, whose function is merely to stand in front of something related to the clubs his transfer report is concerning. This is almost always a stadium or training ground, despite the fact that standing outside, in front of it affords him no advantage in gaining any insight into the transfer itself, and if anything actually hinders him, as said transfer is unlikely to be instigated, enacted or completed on the street across the road from a stadium, surrounded by an unwelcome gaggle of excitable kids all desperate to do something silly on television. But such is the rise in prominence of self accessible Twit-formation that the quaint old television reporter is these days required to prove he’s actually doing something worthy of being paid for. They’ll still receive the crucial breaking news five minutes after everyone on Twitter, but at least they’re outside being annoyed by kids.
Probability of seeing people standing pointlessly outside in front of things – 10.
2. Harry Redknapp in a car – People love their cars. I know I do. But Harry Redknapp loves his car more, which is why he conducts all of his interviews from it. Rarely can you switch on Sky Sports News without seeing ‘Arry beaming mischievously from out of his car window whilst telling a group of wild, roving reporters how little he actually knows about his own transfer dealings, what his players are up to, or tactics. He does this so frequently that some reporters are stationed permanently in the Spurs car park, living only off Twiglets and discarded energy bars, waiting patiently for sustenance from the teat of wheeler dealing wisdom. Thankfully they’re kept well nourished as ‘Arry is always on the move somewhere in his car, often being interviewed toing and froing several times in a single day. This is likely because he spends most of his days hunting bargain strikers around the country, or possibly simply because he knows if he goes home he’ll be forced into another tortuous game of Wii tennis with his son, daughter in-law and that other one no one recognises.
Probability of seeing Harry Redknapp talking from inside his car – 8
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3. Wesley Sneijder signing for Manchester United – I’m pretty confident about this one. Mainly because Wesley Sneijder has already signed for Manchester United. About seven times by my reckoning, not including the once he signed for Manchester City. To be more accurate (which would be wholly out of step with the practices of tabloid journalism) he’s “agreed a deal” with United about seven times, probably about nine by the time this goes to print. Inter Milan have agreed around four of those deals, whilst Sneijder himself has agreed personal terms twice, but also failed to agree them six times and The Daily Mirror has agreed terms with all of them at least three times a week for the last month. Such is the declining scoop potential of print journalism that tabloids often feel the need to pre-emptive strike transfer stories in the hope of hitting at least some of their targets before the twin beasts of rolling news and the internet steal their thunder and precious, precious readers. In this regard the Dutchman’s fourteen current moves to Old Trafford can merely be considered collateral damage. As can 8 of every 10 transfers reported in a red top.
Probability of Wesley Sneijder signing for Manchester United – 0 or 10, depending on who you follow on Twitter.
4. A journalist attempting to boost his followers on Twitter with an impending exclusive – People love Twitter. I know I do. But journalists don’t, especially when they’re being contradicted by a player they’ve just written a nonsense story about, instantly rendering their status as the “in the know” middle man redundant and faintly pathetic. What journalists do love though is breaking exclusives, even if they haven’t got one. At various points in the next week, some hack or other will attempt to drum up some free publicity for whatever drivel he’s written by announcing a disingenuous and misleading exclusive reveal at a specific time in the near future. This will begin with something along the lines of “Big news on Sneijder, will tell all at 6” only to eventually reveal that he’s dropped a Cornetto on his wife’s favorite shoes or momentarily put a cat in a bin. This will inevitably lead to a barrage of abuse, but not before he’s boosted his online following exponentially amongst the army of gullible idiots who followed him to get the exclusive on his exclusive. This ploy can also be used to drum up excitement around some actual but uninteresting or obvious transfer news, such as “Big development re:Arsenal, full story at 4” – “Wenger says he’s happy with his squad if he doesn’t sign anyone.” Luckily there’s a simple tactic to figuring out this crafty ruse and avoiding the inevitable let down – Don’t be an idiot.
Probability of journalists disingenuously telegraphing their own uninteresting invented stories – 9
5. Someone burning their shirt – Nothing confuses wives, girlfriends or the uninitiated more than the strange fixation overweight middle aged men have with garish figure hugging polyester sports clothing intended for young, lean athletes. In any other context such an obsession would be madness, bordering on the grotesque, but in football it symbolises the passion, intensity, depth of feeling and the levels of self flagellation one is willing to go to for ones beloved club. However sometimes a shirt can come to embody all the contemptible, disloyal, traitorish aspects of the game, especially if it’s emblazoned with the name of a recently departed player, and in such cases, it must pay. With fire! No transfer window would be complete without the sight of a disproportionately angry fan taking to the streets (preferably behind a reporter standing in front of something) to display his raging primitive anger in the only tangible way he knows how. By burning a £50 carcinogenic shirt in the open air in front of television cameras. Some would say that burning your own club shirt is counterproductively burning your own crest with it, but such people clearly don’t appreciate just how cool fire is.
Probability of someone burning their shirt – 7
….To be Continued.
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