Are you having a good football transfer season?
Your favourite footballer or manager may be on the move, whether he likes it or not
For the football fan, the action never stops. You might think that just because all the major European leagues are on a summer break and those pampered, highly paid footballers are behaving badly on holidays worldwide that the football pages have nothing to write about, but you’d be wrong. There’s action on the Confederations Cup pitches in Brazil and on various pitches up and down this little country, but this is the time of year when the football stories dominating the back pages involve cash, speculation and new homes for those lads who kick a ball for a living. Estate agents, moving companies, hotel managers and travel agents are all on standby.
Every morning when you click to your favourite football site (OTR is a fan of the Guardian’s football coverage), the headlines scream back at you as they accompany stories which often contain more speculation than a fast foot snackbox. Rooney to Barcelona (you can add the owners of tapas bars to the standby list)! Tevez to Juve! Ancelotti to Real Madrid! Kinnear to Newcastle (which, in fairness, has provided the comedy story of the season)! Djourou to Hamburg! Or Hanover! Or somewhere else beginning with “H” (Hull?)! Suarez to stay! Suarez to go!
Often, you have to wonder what is the point to these frenzied accounts of hurly-burly buying-and-selling and wheeler-dealing activities. Even when the season starts in a few weeks and the transfer window shuts with another bout of over-stimulated huffing and puffing from the Sky Sports’ lads in helicopters, the transfer talk will go on. Be it agents geeing their charges on to talk about transfers to get a better deal at their current club or a manager seeking to put a player in his place, transfer talk is now a year-long activity. Transfers have always been part of football, but they’re now far more promenient than ever before because of the amount of money sloshing around the game.
For the players, it must be quite surreal, especially when you get towards the end of August and you hear youself mentioned in connection with some club who’ve never even entered your mind, even when you had to play them. While the crazy wages provide an enviable upside, the instability and the sudden, unexpected moves must be hard to take. Imagine trying to get your head around your manager coming into your cubicle this morning and saying ‘right, Peter, you’re off to Mullingar tomorrow. We’ve sold you. Good luck now and take care”.
The dance goes on. Between now and the end of August, dozens and dozens of managers, bosses and gaffers will come out, pout and declare that they have no interest whatsoever in a player who is already on his way to their club (pending a medical). The players will vow love and respect for their current club 72 hours before they turn up clutching a box-fresh team shirt and sporting a cheesy multi-million grin at a ground a couple of hundred miles away. The fans will fume or cheer, depending on who’s coming in (aside from Joe Kinnear, whose return to Tyneside has been all fumes) or who’s going out. Here’s one game where everyone is a winner.