Transfer Gossips’ Anonymous.

 With the World Cup Finals now a distant and painful memory and the start of the new season not quite upon us, Silly Season is in full swing. Silly season is the time of year when the transfer window is open, there is nothing going on out on the field but the press need to fill their column inches with something. In this case it is scurrilous gossip and rumour about which club wants to buy which player.

Many of the stories circulating seem based on mis-quotes, leaks from “club sources” or player’s agents, hypothesis, wishes of fans and writers. Some are seemingly invented from nothing. I would hazard a guess that around 90% of the stories that appear in the papers do not come true. You know what though? I love it.

During the summer and in the days and hours that lead up to the end of each transfer window I am glued to every football website I can find, desperately searching for a hint that my club will sign someone half decent before the window slams shut and we are forced to make do with what we have.

Twitter too is becoming a rich source of footballing news. I am following around 100 journalists who all ensure I am able to gorge myself on transfer gossip every minute of the day. My obsession is always catered for as no matter what time, day or night, I can pick up my phone, check Twitter and see that Chievo have signed a Nepalese right back for an undisclosed fee. It’s fantastic.

It’s not just the rumours that I love, it’s also the language used that I find so appealing:

“Martin O’Neill will be handed a £50m war chest as he attempts to turn Aston Villa into genuine challengers.”

“Joe Cole has snubbed Spurs and Arsenal to join Liverpool.”

“Fernando Torres has put Chelsea and Man City on red alert after declaring he wants to quit Liverpool.”

“Chelsea will snap up the Portuguese starlet (starlet?!) with more signings to follow”

There are all manner of situations where someone is “eyeing” a move, someone else “seals” a move and someone else “lands” such and such a player-usually in a “sensational raid” whatever that means. When do you ever see these terms other than during football gossip? I love the imagery each conjures up as well. It can’t just be me that imagines Randy Lerner summoning Martin O’Neill to his office, ushering him in and showing him a Treasure Chest full of cash before saying, “Make us title challengers with that Martin.”

Likewise, I can’t shake the image of Joe Cole turning up in a room with representatives of Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs all there. He walks around the room for a bit, but when Spurs or Arsenal try to talk to him he looks the other way and turns his nose up at them before jumping into the arms of Christian Purslow and speeding away in a car.

The clubs on “red alert” one is probably my favourite. As though the clubs tracking (in this case) Torres have some sort of system where every time a quote attributed to him surfaces in the media that suggests he might be available for transfer, some sort of alarm and red flashing light sounds in the boardroom at Stamford Bridge and Eastlands. You know, like the ones in numerous action films that mean a bomb is about to go off or the villain’s underground lair is about to explode. You get the idea.

In truth, it really doesn’t matter who the player is, it doesn’t matter whether he ends up joining or not, every fan’s pulse quickens when they scan the gossip pages and see that their club is linked to someone. Similarly you get excited at the prospect of someone paying to take players you’ve long since fallen out of love with off your teams’ hands. This usually leads to a secondary fantasy of “If we raise £x for him we can buy him, him and him.” It never happens but it’s still fun.

With the age of social networking sites like Facebook and more recently Twitter, there are even more outlets for these stories to surface. Just this week Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe has said on his Facebook page he is joining Liverpool. Has he joined? Nope. But wasn’t it great thinking that it had been announced through Facebook and not Sky Sports news? (Incidentally it can’t be a genuine page, any self respecting footballer knows Twitter is far cooler these days. Ask Darren Bent/Ryan Babel/Rio Ferdinand etc)

 As much as I’m itching for the new season and some actual football to start, there is a part of me that won’t know what to do with my time once all these rumours stop surfacing. I know that when I see the yellow ticker tape on Sky Sports News burst into life it won’t generate the same excitement when it’s “Spurs team to play Arsenal announced” and not “Guy Branston has signed a permanent deal to join Torquay United.” Again, that might just be me.

They say the first step to rehabilitation is admitting you have a problem. Here goes: My name is Ross Bone. I’m addicted to transfer gossip. Phew. Right, I’m off to check Twitter, apparently Chievo can’t meet the Nepalese right-back’s wage demands and the deal is on the verge of collapsing. You heard it here first.

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5 Comments

  1. Another good read RV, always good fun looking at your blogs. I’ve heard Denis Bergkamp is coming out of retirement to bolster the gunners’ forward line…..

  2. That should say RB (apologies…. Blackberry has very small keys!!!)

  3. Nice comments on transfer language. It’s not just football though it is (much as I love the “slapped a hands-off warning” or “issued a come-and-get-me plea” or “Roy Hodsgon has wantaway Aston Villa defender Luke Young in his sights” – is he tracking him with a sniper rifle?) – it’s the whole tabloidese that I love. When has anyone been described as a “love rat!” outside of The Sun? No one has ever “BEDDED” a “STUNNER” after “knocking back £600 cocktails at a trendy London nightspot” before “BEGGING for a THREE-IN-A-BED ROMP” in real life. See also “slams”, “blasts”, “raps”, “dubbed”, “hapless” and “love nest” for words and phrases that are never, ever heard outside the pages of the red tops. Sorry, RED TOPS. Got to love those random capitals.

    For example, the first three pars of an offering, if that’s the right word, from last week’s News of the Screws:

    KERRY Katona has DUMPED her heartbroken decorator boyfriend and told the News of The World: “I never loved him.”

    The bankrupt star revealed she’d had enough of Adam Waldron’s DRINKING – and couldn’t afford the PETROL to go and see him. “I’m not sad – I’m relieved,” she said.

    Kerry, 29, gave her painter the brush off after a whirlwind three-month romance so she can keep her squeaky clean new life on track.

    “Heartbroken”, “revealed”, “whirlwind romance”. Oh dear oh dear.

  4. Pretty comprehensive list from TV’s AH. I suppose it is a general tabloid trend. Particularly enjoy the use of “romp” in the papers. Always raises a smile.

    Had forgotten about teams “swooping” for someone until that little beauty popped up today. Lovely stuff.

  5. I enjoyed reading your article RoBo but have to say that I find all the endless transfer speculation during the summer incredibly tiresome. As a Liverpool fan, the past few summers have been anything but fun as our best players have been consistently linked with moves away from the club. It makes you nervous to look at the back page of the paper each day. I’m sure most Arsenal fans will agree as well.


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