Last summer, as I sat down to attempt to write an article for this fanzine, a retweet appeared in my twitter timeline. It had a picture on it, a picture of a grin in a suit, pointing at a massive yellow screen, smugness and glee smeared over his face like birthday cake on a toddler, as he gestured at a number.
That number was actually a monetary figure of £800,550,000. An incomprehensible and frankly obscene amount of money, equal to the national debt of Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic combined, and also, quite ludicrously, the amount that Premier League clubs had spent in that transfer window. With three hours still to go.
Ever since the first piece of boot money was tucked inside the first miner’s size 12, football and finance have been closely entwined. It’d be easy for me to hark back to a halcyon day of amateurism and altruism, but at best this will be merely a sepia-tainted idyll of a smog-shrouded harsh reality. But whilst money has always been in the game, it is safe to say that it has never been as so crassly celebrated nor its presence as narcissistically vulgar as it is today.
Transfers can be celebrated for their sporting merit, but it seems they no longer are. That gurning buffoon on Sky prodding at a vast sum is not sport. He is not celebrating footballing talent being given a new outlet, he’s just getting his kicks out of money and spending it for spending’s sake.
Deadline Day on Sky Sports is no different to braying city boys bragging over obscene bar bills at what they refer to as ‘top-end bars’, but you or I would recognise more so as wanker conventions in minimalist décor. It matters no more where the money goes, just so long as it goes – in inflated sums – that can be totted up and gleefully touted in HD as if they serve some kind of self-endorsement for grown men who like to yell straight-down monitors into the nation’s front rooms about what is effectively glorified admin.
Among the eyes spinning with cartoon pound signs, the big question at Sky after the last deadline day was not about football; instead it was
‘What kind of a person takes a purple dildo or a blow-up sex doll with them to stand in the back of a piece to camera outside a training ground?’
The answer is exactly the sort of person they’d spent decades pitching their coverage at; an unthinking, all-consuming, banter-hunting, dullard. You reap what you sow and all that. ‘Them nut jobs outside training grounds want locking up,’ tweeted a friend at the time. Maybe so, but for now they’re just trying to earn a living as reporters.
At the arse end of January, as part of Sky Sports’ latest bi-annual attempt to masturbate themselves into a self-loving coma, the channel set up an online petition. Hosted on Change.org – a platform which exists for people to bring matters of importance to the attention of the government; things like the need for more affordable housing say, or more protective laws for children online – the petition was titled Make Transfer Deadline Day a UK National Holiday. And the self-absorbed yellow-tie-felating wazzocks actually had the cheek to address it to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
Sadly, I’m not even making this up. Here’s some actual sodding text from their actual sodding petition:
Jim White and Natalie Sawyer are calling on YOU to help make the January Transfer Deadline Day an official UK National Holiday. As ‘Sky Bet Transfer Fund’ ambassadors, Jim and Natalie are already helping Football League fans win £250,000 for their favourite club to spend on players in the summer. And now they have also teamed up with Sky Bet to help try to give you the gift of time by fighting to make Transfer Deadline Day a public holiday.
Gift of time? More like the gift of realising just how painfully empty and devoid of purpose your life has become. Why fight it? If you want to spend idle days watching middle-aged men in car-parks just bite the bullet and get into dogging.
There was a picture that went with this petition by the way. It’s the aforementioned White and Sawyer sitting on a sofa in fluffy lurid yellow dressing gowns and onesies – which are presumably supposed to project an image of cosiness, but actually make it look like they’ve hired chicken costumes from the fancy dress shop for the weekend and are ensuring they’ve gotten their money’s worth before taking them back – cradling mugs and smiling.
Smiling, I would like to think at the sheer lunacy of all this, but alas probably not, as that would indicate a degree of self-awareness. No, they are smiling because they are nothing but gurning simpletons who’ve no sense of purpose or depth of personality, and because smiling is the only thing they can do when their vacuous lives aren’t being prompted by an autocue of repetitive non-news masquerading as something vaguely worthwhile.
Apparently over 15,000 people signed this petition. That’s 15,000 people who not only actually think this to be ‘proper class’, but have also managed to stop retweeting the fucking Sports Bible long enough to correctly type their name into a subject field without adding an emoticon of a crying face or a turd with some eyes.
You know what I hope it’s successful. I hope Sky Sports are successful and can move on to next year’s petition to trademark the colour yellow and attempt battle out a landmark court-case over image-rights with the actual sodding sun. I even hope that Jim c***ing White – who doubtless spends the three days before deadline day alone in a room reciting motivational slogans at himself in a mirror stained with cocaine and his own semen – is successful too. And the reason I hope this is so that come next Deadline Day we can watch on as these morons skip out of bed, side-step their work clothes and eschew their commute to plonk down on the sofa, turn on their wall-mounted jumbotron-sized flat-screen TVs and recoil in horror as too late they realise that now that Deadline Day is a public holiday thanks to those ‘legends’ at Sky Sports, there are no actual transfers, because no business can be conducted, because no-one is at work, because it’s the fucking National Holiday they fucking voted for. Happy Christmas, Turkeys!
by Glen Wilson
This article initially appeared in print in issue 74 of popular STAND, a fanzine for the likes of Doncaster. Our next issue of popular STAND, issue 78, will be on sale on 3 October.