The Mixer

Short of games at Spurs, Robbie Keane ponders whether to sign a contract for thirteen year old Lucy Taylor. ‘Arry provided him with the pen. Image: Oliver N5

Short of games at Spurs, Robbie Keane ponders whether to sign a contract for thirteen year old Lucy Taylor. ‘Arry provided him with the pen. Image: Oliver N5

Transfer window madness lacked a bit of Burton

You have to feel for Andy Burton. Somewhere on the 1st of February the suspended Sky Sports News presenter was sitting, sobbing gently, surrounded by total, desolate silence. Where there was once the constant hum of ringing phones (Burton reportedly owns 12 Blackberrys) now there was just loneliness and despair.

The most recent deadline day was made for Burton, a man who thrives on meaningless speculation. Imagine the scenes: Burton, foaming at the mouth, screaming in a studio link up section with anchor Jim White “ANDY CARROLL MAY OR MAY NOT BE IN A HELICOPTER WHILST FERNANDO TORRES IS ON A HOVERCRAFT HEADING FOR WEST LONDON”.

Regardless of the silly season tag attributed to the final day of transfers there were still long periods of nothingness for the beleaguered BBC and Guardian live bloggers to fill. The tactics they employed to combat moments of boredom were perhaps the most fascinating updates of the day.

They varied between anti –news, i.e. news that had never been confirmed that was still not happening, such as the earth shattering update that Diomansy Kamara still hasn’t moved to Kilmarnock on loan. When it isn’t non-existent nonsense being held in the bullshit crucible known as the internet, valuable cyber space is given over to the hackneyed opinions and rumours generated by fans. Lines like “If Carlton Cole is going to Newcastle for five million (invariably he isn’t) I’ll drive him there myself! He’s bloody useless!” are chucked around with wilful abandon.

Any rumour goes on deadline day. On one blog they published one from a Leeds fan suggesting that, given his contacts with Paul Scholes wife’s hairdresser, the ginger maestro was heading to Leeds United. Statements like this should really be greeted with the same outrage that would occur if I posted a rumour stating that David Cameron was gay just because he wore a pink tie to PMQs. Instead they are given credence even though every sane football fan knows they are utter rot.

Maybe it’s a sense of escapism that drives the self deception. For Brighton fans the brief thrill they get from imagining a world in which Nicky Butt is going to come out of retirement and head down to the Withdean because of an affinity with the seaside is a shelter from a world of monotony.

Hopefully Burton will be restored to his rightful place as transfer window anchor, standing in the face of the cruel gust generated by it ‘slamming shut’. Every rumour that Robbie Keane is about to put pen to paper on a deal with his 114th club will be covered. Every story that gives false hope to expectant fans will be hugely over played (“Huge Chelsea news coming out of Cobham, Jim … Jeffrey Bruma is considering a loan move to Leicester City”). The most ridiculous thing about deadline day was not the 35 million pounds paid for Andy Carroll, it was that Burton wasn’t there to cover it.

Footballing thug on the loose

Image: Justyn Hardcastle

Have you seen this man? The wiry, ginger one? He might look like an effeminate and frightened young man but it would appear he is, in fact, the spirit of Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris. Described by another student newspaper as a “sometime campus sports journalist”, one half of TM has thrown down the pen and the notepad in favour of actually playing football.

Picture the scene, it’s Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham, York resident and BBC commentator Guy Mowbray (Thanks for not getting back to our interview request, BBC. Thanks very much. Licence fee certainly vindicated…) has had enough of describing the game to the viewers and decides to don his boots. Wenger’s having none of it but Mowbray barges on, does the universal symbol for substitute, tells Alex Song to sling his hook and takes his place in the Gunners’ midfield.

Mowbray might be alright at football, as the aforementioned ginger fop who strolls the left wing for Derwent is, but where will this madness end? There has never been a clear distinction between players and pundits – see Redknapp, Savage and Townsend as examples of this – but this crossing-over only ever takes place one way. We can’t let any old “campus sports journalists” don their boots and play. Next thing we know Alan Green will be at left-back for Brighton and Jimmy Armfield will be replacing Charlie Adam at Blackpool.

Needless to say, in some quarters, messrs Mowbray, Green and Armfield would be out of their depth. Sure they can write up a hackneyed 500 words on how Torres will need to work with Drogba in order for Chelsea to succeed but can they, as fans so delightfully sing, “get into ‘em, fuck ‘em up”? It would appear that these “sometimes campus sports journalists” have the ability to mix it with the best of them. Mindless violence that would make De Jong and van Bommel proud.

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