Guest Post January: Top five ways to improve the transfer window
Our latest loan signing sees friend of OTP and former editor of The Spoiler Ryan Bailey putting the transfer window to rights.
With Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool and a not-rubbish England cricket team lording it over the colonies, it would be be easy to assume you might have gunned it back a few years in Doc Brown’s DeLorean. A cursory glance at the bustling activity of the 2011 winter transfer window, however, disproves the time travel theory.
The current transfer system has its critics, with many calling for a return to the days of old, where deals could be struck right up until March. Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as getting rid of the ridiculous circus of lies, laughable overvaluations and tedious media guesswork that the window provides, but I certainly feel it could do with some changes. So I wrote them down, yeh?
1. Organise all transfer activity through eBay
If there ever was an odious career choice, it’s that of the football agent. Like pimps and those fixer guys in films who sort out fake passports for bad dudes breaking out of prison, they make their cash through the effort of others. Why not cut out Mr 15% and place all available players in online auctions scheduled to end at midnight on deadline day? The public could follow negotiations right up to the wire, clubs could negotiate postage and packing discounts for multiple purchases, and players could spend the agent’s cut of their fee on prostitutes, snoods and gauchely decorated cars. How fun!
2. Shut down Sky Sports News on deadline day
The ‘drama’ of SSN’s deadline day coverage often amounts to a dedicated pack of freezing-cold correspondents standing outside training grounds listing names of players who have had the good grace to turn up at work. And then telling us when they leave again. This is frequently supplemented by the half-hearted sleuthing of the studio experts, whose ‘intell’ is usually either patchy suppositions or a cryptic text message from Leroy Lita. Here’s an idea: shut down the channel for the entire day, and then make an announcement of all the successful deals at midnight. Not only would this filter out all the nonsense and allow us to get on with our lives uninterrupted, but it would feel like Christmas morning to get all the transfer news at once. Sky Sports’ advertisers might not agree, but it would be magical.
3. Give Harry Redknapp a dedicated coverage on deadline day
The chances of Spurs’ oft-entertaining gaffer having a quiet deadline day are roughly equal to those of his son actually going on a Thomas Cook holiday. So, if Sky Sports News decides not to shut down for the day, they should provide constant coverage of ‘Arry. Literally constant – even when he goes to the toilet or makes his daily phone call to the wife to remind her she is his second greatest love (his greatest is money). If the coverage gets a little boring, David Beckham could be brought on wearing a fashionable hat, or a reporter could come on and call him that term that rhymes with “peeler dealer”. That’d spice things up.
4. Introduce the death penalty for making up transfer news
Editing a football blog for some years, it became rather obvious which news outlets acquire their transfer gossip from genuine sources, and which adopt rather more dubious methods in order to fill their column inches. A few major British tabloids are the key offenders, but their worst crime is often to lift news from the Spanish press, which has no scruples whatsoever about publishing completely-made-up crap. Seriously, some of the unsubstantiated assertions they make are laughable, and ask the reader to suspend their disbelief as if they were listening to Ashley Cole’s wedding vows. To cut down on this severe waste of ink and our time, those incorruptible souls at FIFA should use their divine sovereignty to publicly execute anybody who publishes a scurrilous rumour without having a documentable source to back it up. If anything, it will decrease the amount of Daily Mail journalists in the world, and that’s always going to be a change for the better.
5. Put Robbie Savage in charge of everything
Because he’s so fucking clever.