Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Transfer Deadline Day Template

It is Wednesday 31st August 2011 – the first ‘Transfer Deadline Day’ of the 2011/12 football season. It’s a day that I’ve come to appreciate about as much as a satellite TV channel dedicated to 24-hour coverage of rotting fish, and yet now I feel ready at last to embrace it fully for all its virtues.

Maybe I’m getting soft in the head as I’m getting older but I now see Transfer Deadline Day for what it is – a comedy festival for the culturally blinkered. I used to get worked up by the hoards of fans wasting their time over so many irrelevances, but now I realise I was missing the point. Thanks to the advances in modern technology (© BBC Tomorrows World 1981), everyone can chip in with a jolly joke, a shaggy dog story or, heaven forfend, report an actual sighting of a player arriving at his new footballing home.

To guide you through this momentous day, there are several options available. For those of you wanting the televisual equivalent of Red Bull being intravenously fed into your bloodstream while your nether regions are stung by a thousand scorpions, there’s Jim White on Sky Sports News, a man who starts his shift on Deadline Day like someone who believes the Lord Jesus Christ himself is returning to Earth for the second coming. And then increases his enthusiasm tenfold every hour from that point onwards.

For those that want to avoid a TV-induced cardiac arrest before lunchtime, there’s a vast array of news websites that truly come into their own on such occasions. Auto-refreshing minute-by-minute coverage ticks over from first thing in the morning ‘til last thing at night in an attempt to cover all the breaking news from every angle. An anachronism of itself it may now be, but you do at least know what you’re going to get when TDD finally rolls around.

As if to prove it, here’s a template for anyone wanting to recreate the joy of Deadline Day on their own website with full guidance on how to apply it:

08:00 Cheery introduction. Greet your transient, bewildered audience like you’ve just sat down at your desk with nothing but the provision of a personal, dedicated news service on your mind. No-one, of course, will believe you.

08:02 Tell people what they can expect over the next 15 hours, even though no single human being remains on the planet that doesn’t know the drill by now. This includes lost tribes of Amazonian forest people, high court judges and cast members from The Only Way Is Essex.

08:15 Admit that things are obviously very quiet so far and take the opportunity to remind your visitors how they can get in touch with you, ensuring at all times to spell your Twitter, email and Facebook details correctly (unless you want a quiet day ahead of you, naturally).

08:19 First message from a chancer subtly advertising his own website on yours. Message usually says something like: “I’m really looking forward to the day ahead and will certainly be keeping my eye on for all the latest information.” Git.

08:22 First message from a fan hoping that his team buys someone quickly for fear of seeing their season fall apart before their very eyes. Hardly original.

08:38 First reminder to fans of all the deals that are expected to be finalised today, what with it being so quiet still and all.

08:52 Inaugural appearance of an old favourite – the (ho ho!) sighting of a football player at an airport located near to a club he couldn’t possibly be going to. Such fun.

09:05 Quick mention of all the main transfer details completed during the last 72 hours. It is still very quiet at this time of the morning, after all.

09:16 Various reports from clubs across Europe about enquiries received/not received for players who “weren’t for sale anyway”.

10:04 League Two club sends out a message to say they’ve not yet received an offer for their top player while secretly hoping this prompts the exact opposite to happen.

10:22 First receipt of a message from a fan trying to show his far-sightedness by saying “If Team A sells Player B, how likely will Team C be to release Player D so that Team A can sign him as a replacement?” Makes you think…

10:40 Latest batch of joke ‘sightings’ arrive, with fans now taking up the ‘play-on-words’ approach, i.e. ‘Welsh player Dai Annudyr-Day seen arriving at The City of Manchester Stadium’, etc, etc.

11:11 Initial instance of a player trying to whip up a sense of frenzied excitement among his followers on Twitter by saying “You’ll never guess who I’ve seen in the club car park!” Oh the anticipation!

11:35 CONFIRMATION OF AN ACTUAL SIGNING… and it involves a 20-year-old one-time young offender signing for a Conference club only a short drive from his old club.

11:40 David Moyes confirms Everton won’t be buying anyone. Tick.

11:56 Details arrive that a club has enquired about the availability of a player at another club. Watch this space…

13:00 Remind visitors to your site that THE TRANSFER WINDOW SHUTS IN TEN HOURS.

13:21 Arsenal fans start getting angry at the prospect of (a) their club not buying anyone, (b) their club not firing their manager, (c) their club selling everyone, or (d) all of the above.

14:44 Tell your website visitors that they’ve really kept your spirits up with their funny messages all day, despite the fact that you’re actually on the verge of having a total psychotic breakdown.

15:12 First mention of a former legend of the world game signing on for an Arab minnow.

15:23 Fans start to realise the sheer futility of what they’ve experienced over the last seven hours or more before a reminder that there’s still another eight hours to go before the transfer window closes.

15:48 Stop to ponder whether the people spreading rumours about player sightings on Twitter are actually the same people that spread malicious rumours about riots breaking out across unaffected parts of the UK recently.

16:33 Time for a recap on the number of deals actually completed since the start of play this morning. Two.

16:50 Someone from Opta chips in with a statistic that is neither useful, interesting or funny about the amount of money that’s changed hands in today’s transfers. Still six hours to go before the transfer window closes.

17:40 Express bewilderment that the proposed transfer of Player A to Club B still hasn’t gone through yet.

18:14 Use bold and capital letters to say that Player A’s move to Club B is NOW OFF before blaming Sky Sports for making you believe it could happen in the first place.

18:53 Attention turns towards confirming that specific players are now staying put at their original clubs. No reference to barrels or associated scraping noises, strangely.

19:27 Report the return of an English player from the continent that’s quoted as saying “living on the continent wasn’t really for me” which everyone predicted would be the case except the individual concerned.

20:31 Inevitable sighting of the old ‘Russian team looking for a perestroikas’ gag. Tick.


21:46 Time to trot out the old chestnut about football agents needing to check their mobile phones to make sure they’ve been switched on all day. Some traditions should never be overlooked.


22:26 Late breaking news… a Premier League club have urgently contacted the FA over their faulty fax machine which is preventing the pending transfer of a little known Japanese triallist / desperate last-minute punt.* (* delete as applicable)

22:53 Various reports of lights being visible from the offices of at least 70 clubs across the UK, thereby indicating deals are still being thrashed out or someone with access to Sky is seeking salvation in the 900+ channels.

23:00 Tell the world that THE TRANSFER WINDOW HAS CLOSED. You can now go to bed, call The Samaritans or drink copious amounts of strong alcohol, depending on your level of abject desperation after today’s events.


hifirandy said...

Well done, although you forgot the "could sign with MLS" report that's guaranteed to pop up at least once early on in the day, usually around the mention of an aging, inflated-sense-of-self-worth former star.

Chris O said...

Quite right, hifirandy! MLS was conspicuous by its absence in my original article...