I’ll start the piece by being perfectly blunt with you all – transfer deadline days have turned the average football fan into a complete and utter idiot. Admittedly that is likely too soft a word, but I’m trying to keep things civil here.
The chances are that you might’ve seen your club criticised quite heavily for not being active in the transfer market on the last day of August. It would appear that the months of shopping that have occurred since the end of last season, all count for nothing in the modern game.
I’m generally of the opinion that Sky Sports take a lot of unwarranted criticism a lot of the time. If there’s a problem in our national game, you won’t have to look hard to find someone aiming their crosshairs at the Murdoch Empire.
In this instance – I’d say it’s fully justified. Yet for all it’s inherent flaws, Sky Sports News’ coverage on August 31st is unmissable to any football fan, it’s all part of wanting to know the ins and outs of every club. That’s what we’ve become as fans, sadly.
The usual eye candy tease us with where a certain player has gone, and they’re going to tell us after the break – almost oblivious to the fact it’s been occupying a big piece of golden space to the right of my screen for the last half hour.
We get hourly updates from them, telling us of the obscene amount of money that our clubs have spent. But wait…it’s apparently not a patch on what was spent last year! The figure is paraded as if it’s something to be proud of. When I grew up, the only totalizers you’d see on your TV were for what kids had raised in Bring ‘n’ Buy sales on behalf of Blue Peter’s latest crusade.
Now it’s as if we’re supposed to believe the £400m worth of footballers (or: human beings) is meant to be impressive. Sadly, some guy down the pub will this evening use that very figure to proclaim the Premier League is the best league in the world – more Sky TV rhetoric obviously.
In amongst the histrionics, it’s perhaps lost on many what’s really important. We at Notts County for instance – have a player who caught the eye of many a club and supporter at the end of last season, Alan Judge. Being our usual downbeat selves, we couldn’t be convinced that Judgey would still be our player by the end of the transfer window. That just wasn’t plausible.
Yet today’s press coverage has Judgey telling us he’s going nowhere. But despite a couple of iffy home performances to get his season under way, his staying has apparently become of far less importance now in comparison to who ISN’T going to be a Notts County player come 3pm tomorrow. Where’s the logic?
It seems as though an entire transfer window’s judgement rests on whether your team makes it onto Sky Sports News on the very last day. The signings that we’ve made like Gary Liddle and Francois Zoko mean nothing unless a high-pitched, silver-headed Scotsman gets himself into a lather about it on national television.
These days are one of the few things Paul Ince did get right during his tenure at Meadow Lane. He was not prepared to go into battle with an open wallet on the final day, knowing full well of the over-inflated price tags that you’re faced with. Of course, it arguably cost him, and statements (despite loaning in about two dozen players) that he didn’t have his own squad were laughable – but he was right about the valuations on days like this at least.
Now I’m off to scrub myself down with a cheese grater for paying Paul Ince compliments. Assuming no one has swooped in with an audacious last minute bid for said kitchen accessory.