There’s no trophy for ‘winning’ the transfer window, so why the endless hype? | transfer window
Hhave you ever wondered how long richarlison’s legs are? It’s something I admit I spent very little time considering until this week, when Spurs tweeted a five minute video of the Brazilian’s first day at the club.
We start with him walking around the training ground flanked by an entourage of three. He receives a mixed reception from Ivan Perisic and we are in the physio room for his medical examination. Is this his real medical or his medical show? A man checks that his legs can bend at the knee and goes to full expedition forecast, “45 internal, approaching 90 external”. It cuts off before it presumably continues: “Lower, Hebrides 9 9 4, moving rapidly southeast.”
Back to the big reveal – a measuring tape is placed at the top of her hips. It clicks through the 40s, 50s, into the 60s, into the 70s, into the 80s, into the 90s as we approach the peg. It is something extraordinary.
Someone is holding a clipboard. They show an ultrasound; for a second it looks like he’s having a baby. They print a lot of 1980s computer paper.
And he is free to go. He looks at the training ground. It looks like a training ground. A warm hug from Lucas Moura and here we are in the canteen.
Lunch. A close up of a bowl of broccoli. He is handed what looks like an omelet. Emerson Royal makes chicken noises to him. They are kissing. Matt Doherty says hello. Giovani Lo Celso too. He kisses Cristian Romero. Everyone applauds. Fraser Forster sits alone in the back.
And suddenly, Richarlison hops on the ground. Running with an elastic cord around his waist. He hits the ball. He hits him again. And one last time. There is a close up of a soccer ball to be completed.
How did we live without this detailed forensic account of every part of player transfers in the good old days? If you weren’t brave enough to spend your parent’s phone bill on ClubCall, then it was Ceefax or nothing.
I vividly remember hearing out of the blue on the radio that Spurs had signed Jürgen Klinsmann while I was playing Championship Manager on the Amiga in my bedroom. No gossip, no live medical exams, no reporters forced to spend all day at Finch Farm. It was a line and that was it – a truly breathtaking moment. Jürgen Klinsmann!
Now summer is an endless content machine of guesswork, rumors and fluff. It was ‘the latest news’ that Jan Bednarek was considering a move from Southampton to Leicester, a move I was convinced of for about 15 minutes last summer. My apologies to Jannik Vestergaard. Whether it’s ‘breaking news’ if a reasonably competent centre-back tries to decide whether to play for a team that finishes eighth instead of 15th is another question. Could there be different levels? Robinho at Manchester City deserves at least a stronger swoosh and bigger font on the ticker.
It would be wonderful if the football family could arrange an amnesty over the word ‘understand’ from journalists with sources explaining William Carvalho’s likely destination. I understand that N’Golo Kanté is considering leaving Stamford Bridge. Whole organizations get it right now. Sky Sports News understands that Cameron Jerome is happy at Luton. Can’t we leave understanding to things that need understanding? Thermodynamics or Serbo-Croatian or space travel?
Beneath the high-profile ‘let’s go’ transfer sagas lies the hidden gem of lower league social media signing announcements. This catches up with me several times. Cambridge United sends the ‘eyes looking this way’ emoji and a clock. Announcement at 5 p.m. Who will it be?
The clock strikes, the club posts a video. Someone is holding a scarf, the camera is panning, it is a man’s face. It’s Brandon Haunstrup. Of course, I haven’t tracked Portsmouth’s left-backs on loan for the past three years. I don’t know Brandon Haunstrup – it’s my fault. Still, I’m still aroused — a dopamine hit staring at the face of someone I’ve never seen before. I trust Cambridge manager Mark Bonner with my life, so I trust him with the full-backs as well.
And the small community of lower league fans who frantically exchange such moves is a rather pleasant section of the internet full of very short cordial exchanges. Every time a Cambridge player moves on, I get tweets from rival fans. “Does Jack Iredale [now Bolton] something good ? ” “Yes”. “Ah great. Thank you”. “Its good”.
Of course, all we really care about is the semi-annual transfer deadline day anticlimax. One year I spent three hours on the radio promoting Graham Dorrans’ loan deal from West Brom to Norwich. Nothing else happened.
As my jaded colleague Barry Glendenning suggested, do we need all that? Can’t we just wait for the first day of the season, pick a schedule or just watch the pitch and see who’s there? What a surprise that would be.
What’s the point of deciding who won the window? There is no trophy yet. We won’t know until the season is over. New signatures don’t always work. Your current players can improve.
Still, there are so many ways to be a true football fan – the definition of it largely depends on how football was for you when you were 10. It’s easier to just succumb – spend your summer hitting the refresh button, watching eventless videos of your players wandering the training grounds.
And like someone who spent the summer recreating this video of a man hitting a stool and then bring that video to the cinema and watch people watch it, I may not be able to judge what makes sense. Not everything needs to have one. We fill all the time.
Richarlison’s left leg is 96 centimeters long. You never know the story of his right leg, one of football’s mysteries. What I hear, and what my sources tell me, and what I understand is that it’s a similar duration.
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