The Story Of Transfer Deadline Day


Transfer deadline day: sports greatest soap opera. More twists, turns, drama and sub-plots than an anniversary special, and almost as ridiculous. It is probably the most exciting yet repulsive day on the football calendar. For every jubilant fan, drooling over their new messiah, another sits dejected and mournful at the loss of their hero. Of course there will be the more uninspiring signings along the way, but today always looked set to be a big one.

It had all the right ingredients; big names, big asking prices and most importantly big holes to fill. The move everyone was waiting for was of course Fernando Torres; would he go to Chelsea and what would happen in the ensuing merry-go-round? Elsewhere Spurs seemed to be looking at every half-decent striker in Europe, Blackpool where sweating on the future of Charlie Adam and Man City where reportedly in the market for a left winger.

Predictably the day started slowly, gossip and signings trickled in slowly yet failed to inspire. All was quiet at Anfield. Then it picked up all of a sudden. At around half-ten rumors began to circulate that both Tottenham and Liverpool where preparing bids for Andy Carroll. Did this mean Liverpool had agreed a deal for a Torres departure? Had the Suarez deal fallen through? Kenny Dalglish tells the press “We’ve not brought anyone in as a replacement for anyone else. Movement is part and parcel of football but the most important people at Liverpool Football Club are the ones who want to be here.” A mixed message considering Torres had his transfer request turned down on Friday.

We were about to witness a huge statement of intent from the Liverpool board as almost as soon as the rumours had surfaced, news came in that Newcastle had turned down an astonishing £30m bid from Liverpool for Andy Carroll. Thirty million for Andy Carroll. Put that in perspective, it is the same amount Barcelona paid for David Villa in the summer. It is more than Rooney, Drogba, Tevez and indeed Torres. If Newcastle were holding out for more it was a risky tactic.

Elsewhere Tottenham’s hopes of capturing Aguero are quashed as he signs a new deal at Athletico Madrid. Apparently Spurs are now chasing Aguero’s teammate Diego Forlan but it is looking desperate for them now. Blackpool confirm the signing of Andy Reid, just as Manchester United emerge as favorites in the chase for Charlie Adam. The Tangerines however where playing hard-ball, apparently they were now refusing to take calls from Liverpool now.

Back to the big story and the plot thickens. Liverpool have made a second bid of £35m which we are told meets Newcastle’s valuation, Carroll is also keen it is said. The deal is on, or is it? We still have no idea what is going on with the Torrez deal or how it affected this one plus Luis Suarez is yet to put pen to paper. Liverpool could end the day with the best strike-force in the premiership, but then again they might end up with David Ngog. It also emerges that the second bid is also rejected by Newcastle, unbelievable stuff. Defiant Liverpool are however keen on their man, and inevitably a fee is agreed after the striker hands in a transfer request. Carroll is now on his way to Liverpool, as is Charlie Adam by all accounts in an incredible turnaround of events. The deals are far from complete yet though.

The Spurs striker search is now officially called off as Harry Redknapp announces there is “no chance” of the club signing a striker tonight, nor any chance of Peter Crouch leaving for Newcastle as Andy Carroll’s replacement. “This comes after reports Tottenham made a late bid to hijack the Carroll deal as well as approaching Villarreal forward Guiseppi Rossi. Disappointing news for those in search of drama as Spurs are usually good value for money on transfer day (unlike Andy Carroll (sorry couldn’t help it)). Mind you I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear from them again, late bid for Torres?

Well that would be impossible now as news comes in that Chelsea have had a £50m offer accepted and the Spaniard is on his way to London for talks. Not sure how Reds fans are supposed to be feeling now but it’s not long before they can breathe a sigh of relief. The first piece of the Liverpool jigsaw is complete, Luis Suarez has finally signed. One piece that will definitely be missing however is Charlie Adam after reported talks break down. Another big development, overshadowed up to now by all the madness, is that Chelsea are now very close to capturing David Luiz. That would take their days spend up to a staggering £70m, and we thought their big spending days were over.

It’s getting late now, less than an hour to go and there is still no confirmation that the Torres, Carroll or Luiz deals have been finalized. This is classic deadline day stuff but we are yet to see an out of the blue, last minute development. Step up Tottenham Hotspur, we knew we had not seen the last of them, first a cheeky bid for Phil Neville is rejected, and then news breaks that Spurs are rushing through an eleventh-hour deal for…you guessed it, Charlie Adam. Terrible news for Blackpool fans with only minutes left to spare now. It’s 10:56 when the breaking news arrives; Andy Carroll has signed a five-and-a-half year deal with Liverpool. Still no news on Torres, what’s going on? One, two, three minutes go by and then right on the hour an official announcement from Chelsea, Torrez and Luiz have both completed their deals. Carroll’s record domestic transfer fee stood for all of four minutes.

Obviously there where countless other deals, no-deals, rumours and hear-say during the course of the day but ultimately everyone was, and will be talking about Liverpool. It appears they have re-found that big club mentality, we certainly would not have seen such bullish authority in the market this time last year. It’s also worth noting that none of the top three got involved today. Obviously they are happy with their squads and rightly so, but could this mean the second half of the season is about to take a different course?

Without doubt the biggest winners of the day where Blackpool, a truly heroic effort to keep hold of Adam, he will keep them up and that is priceless. The biggest losers? It’s a toss-up between Newcastle and David Ngog, neither look likely to get a sniff up front for the remainder of the season.


Home Nations Set For Comeback


A new sponsorship deal for the FA has brought about the possibility of a revived home nations championship starting in 2013. The home nations, last played in 1984 was already set for a comeback this year, albeit without England’s presence. Now sponsors Vauxhall, who also back Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are said to be actively encouraging England to compete. The FA, at the time of writing has said the 2013 tournament would be a one-off to celebrate its 150th anniversary, although the idea of an annual competition has not been completely ruled out.
The tournament was played annually for 100 years, England and Scotland dominating for the most part with 54 and 41 wins respectively. Its demise was attributed to falling attendances, crowd troubles and England’s desire to play against stronger opposition. Since then several attempts have been made to revive the competition, its supporters arguing improved attendances and a significant reduction in football related violence would make it viable again. However critic’s such as the FA claim fixture congestion and the relative importance of the World Cup and European Championships make it impractical.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said, “The reality of preparing for qualifiers that we face for the European Championship and the World Cup mean that managers rightly want to experience different playing styles, and fans want to experience different playing styles, and we only have a limited number of friendly matches available.”
As much as the proposal may be impractical it is likely to be a hit with fans who will relish not only the passionate nature of the fixtures but also the chance to actually win something. England would surely be favorites and winning could just be the catalyst needed to push on to greater things. Unfortunately the fixture list would dictate that other friendly games would need to be sacrificed to make way for the tournament. Unless the domestic game was to be drastically transformed in order to better accommodate the national team this is always going to be the case.


What’s It All Aklout?


As much as I love the idea of ‘old school’ print journalism I have learned that to be successful in this age you must accept and embrace digital media and online technology. Being a bit of a technophobe it has taken me a while but recently I have made a concerted effort to be more active online, either through blogging, tweeting or just networking on facebook. An aspiring journalist not only need’s to practice their skills but also try to build an active audience. This is why I was interested to hear about ‘Klout’, a website that takes information from your Twitter feeds and Facebook activity to give you an ‘online influence rating’. It may sound like a vanity calling but to me it sounded like an interesting tool and I was keen to find out how I rated.
A Klout score ranges from 0-100 and is effectively a measure of your reach and activity online. It takes into account a number of variables such as how often your posts are retweeted, the average number of ‘likes’ your status updates receive and the number of comments you receive. Results are broken down to allow you to see the size of your active audience, their influence, and the likelihood your content will be acted on. It also provides a handy grid which plots your progress, from observer or browser right up to broadcaster or celebrity.
I scored a disappointing 22 although I was assured that my level of activity and engagement shows I ‘get’ it and they predict I will be moving up, which is nice to know. The results breakdown was both interesting and helpful, identifying the area’s I need to focus on. Facebook and Twitter can be misleading at times. It’s all good having hundreds of followers and friends but not all of these are actually paying attention to what you are saying. Klout only takes into account those that are and therefore is an effective and useful tool for people wanting to measure and improve their influence.
Initially Klout only gathered information from Twitter, only recently factoring in Facebook data. I believe this was a decision made to open it up to a greater audience and possibly the biggest criticism I have. Facebook is far more ‘friends’ based than Twitter and perhaps its inclusion has taken away from the initial point. Having said that, the potential for followers is far greater on Twitter and the people with the highest Klout scores are all famous ‘tweeters’ such as Justin Beiber , who worryingly is more influential than Barak Obama . By in large I think Klout is a good indicator although I would like to see more factors included such as WordPress and other blogging sites.
Although my reasons for using Klout are mainly as an aid to my career I have a feeling it is going to catch on in a big way.There is a certain amount of competitiveness in social networking and it would not surprise me to hear people boasting about their Klout score in the near future. Either as a useful tool or just out of curiosity I would recommend it to anyone.


All we need is….Ravi Bopara, Ravi Bopara


Billy 'The Trumpet' Cooper


An ode to England’s ‘twelfth man’ in the wake of the superb victory at the MCC. I have put together some of my favorite barmy army chants, enjoy.

Ricky Pointing
Ponting is the captain
Of the Aussie cricket team
But once the match is over
He is a gay drag queen

Ponting’s special friend
Is a man called Glenn McGrath
You’ll see them holding hands
At the Sydney Mardi Gras

Shane Warne’s Villa

(To the tune of Amarillo)

Show me the way to Shane Warne�s Villa
He’s got his diet pills under his pilla
A dodgy bookie from Manila
Nursey’s on her mobile phone

Repeat x3

La-la lar la-la la-la lar, Fat Git!
La-la lar la-la la-la lar, Take a bung
La-la lar la-la la-la lar,
Warney where’s your mobile phone?

Graeme Swann
(to the tune of Champagne Supernova)

How many special people came
So many flights we had to change
Where were you when we were in Chennai?

Got hit for four with his first ball
Then took Gambhir and the Wall
Where were you when we were in Chennai?

Some day you will find him
Taking loads of wickets
In a Swanny super over in Chennai

Some day you will find him
Taking loads of wickets
In a Swanny super over, a Swanny super over

Because people believe
That we should never have come here at all
But you and I, will never die
And Graeme Swann is just one reason why, why, why, why…

Jonny Trott

(to the tune of Only Fools and Horses)

Stick your passport in your pocket
And your kitbag in the van
Cos if you want the Ashes
And you don’t mind Saffers
Then brother, he’s your man

Cos where he comes from is no mystery
But he’s gonna lead us home to an Ashes victory
A song for him was driving us beserk
But then we thought that Jonny Trotter works

La-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la-la-la

Kevin Pietersen

(To the tune of Just A Little)

KP
When you walk out to the crease,
You’re sexy
You are England’s number four
You’ve got a ton to score

(chorus)

Hook! Just a little bit,
Pull! Just a little bit,
Drive! Just a little bit,
Score just a little bit more
KP score a little bit more,

Just a little bit more, just a little bit!

Dont look back in Anger

Slip inside Ricky Ponting’s mind
He’s trying to find
Some new players to play

He wants to play his older team
But that’s just a dream
They’re too old to play

He said he’d start a revolution in his head
But he’s been through all the players A to Z
Now there’s just a summertime of doom
If he loses the Ashes race
He is going to lose his place
Losing three would simply tear his heart out

So Ricky can wait
Shane Warne is too late

And there’s no Glenn McGrath
Gilchrist’s had his day
And don’t look back to Langer
He cannot play

Where did all those old players go
Now everyone knows
You’ve nearly had your day

You’ll have to leave the team in the hands
Of Michael Clarke and
He’ll throw it all away

He said he’d start a revolution in his head
But he’s been through all the players A to Z
Now there’s just a summertime of doom
If he loses the Ashes race
He is going to lose his place
Losing three would simply tear his heart out

So Ricky can wait
Shane Warne is too late
And there’s no Glenn McGrath
Gilchrist’s had his day
And don’t look back to Langer
He cannot play

So Ricky can wait
Shane Warne is too late
And there’s no Glenn McGrath
Gilchrist’s had his day
And don’t look back to Langer
He cannot play

At least not today

Siddle by Siddle
(to the tune of Little by Little)

Siddle by Siddle,
You bowl us everything we ever dreamed of,
Siddle by Siddle,
The wheels of your team are slowly falling off,
Siddle by Siddle,
You always bowl a ball that goes for 4,
And all the time,
Ponting asks himself why, are you really here?

Why are you really here?
Why are you really here?
Why are you really here?

Alastair Cook
(the the tune of YMCA)

Young man, when you come to the crease
I said young man, let your runs never cease
I said stay there and you’ll score lots of runs,
and you’ll make many more tons

runs runs runs runs runs

It’s England’s number 1

Alastair Cook
It’s England’s Number 1
Alastair Cook

Andrew Strauss
(To the tune of Shout)

Strauss, Strauss
Never gets out,
He plays the shots that we dream about
Come on, we’re talking ’bout you
Come on

Kevin Pietersen
(To the tune of Hi Ho Silver Lining)

And its Hi Ho Super KP
Everywhere we go now Peter
You’ll score a double century
Or maybe just a ton
You’re Kevin Pietersen


Snood Do You Think You Are?


Forget the obscene transfer fees, inflated wages, player power and petulance, there is one thing above all that has wound up football fans this winter. Snoods. The latest must have personal insulation accessory for the modern footballer. Ever since John Barnes controversially first donned a pair of gloves in the late 80’s keeping warm has increasingly become a pre-occupation for certain players. This seasons chilly weather has meant a huge surge in popularity for winter warmers. Does it really make a difference or are they just being indulgent pussy cats?

Ipswich Boss Roy Keane is certainly in no doubt, “Don’t get me started. I don’t know how they do it. It’s very strange. Gloves, scarves, I think somebody came on a few weeks ago for [Manchester] City who had a hat on.

“I don’t know how they do it and focus on the game, it’s weird. That’s the way the game’s gone.”

Nor is former Republic of Ireland forward Tony Cascarino, “It’s like a fashion accessory and personally, I think it’s typical of the modern footballer. I don’t want to seem like a dinosaur but I think the modern game is full of players who are of the ‘softer option’ when it comes to playing football. I would see it as a weakness, slightly, that they’re not a real man.”

The reason why we’re seeing it now, he says, is that the dressing room has changed into a much more indulgent environment.

“It’s not frowned upon now, but 20 or 30 years ago a player would not have got away with it. He would have been buried [with abuse].”

I have to agree that the modern footballer is certainly more indulgent than ever before. What-more I cant help noticing that many of the Premier Leagues snood wearers are also among the leagues more controversial figures. You would never see a Giggs or Scholes wearing one, (mainly because Ferguson has banned them) think about it, nearly all the PL’s snood wearers have a history of indulgence or scandal. A lot of them also play for Manchester City.

Carlos Tevez toys are never in the pram, much like teammate Mario Balotelli. Then there is the most over-paid player in the world, Yaya Toure. DJ Campbell, who was arrested in connection with a stabbing a few years ago. Liverpool’s Maxi Rodrigues, who was booted out of Athletico Madrid for his petulance. Not forgetting that nasty little piece of work at Arsenal, Samir Nasri. I’m pretty sure Craig Bellamy also likes to keep his neck warm.

There are certain circumstances where thermals may be considered acceptable, perhaps if your a goalkeeper, or maybe if you ply your trade in Russia. But wouldn’t it be nice if a few of these guys would show some respect for our footballing culture and man-up.

If you ever needed an example of this cast your minds back to Liverpool vs Tottenham a few weeks ago. Jamie Carragher is fuming as he is reluctantly led off the field with a dislocated shoulder, it soon becomes clear his anger is vented towards his replacement Sotirios Kyrgiakos who is busy tying his hair up.Roy Keane,


Top Five Unbelievable Tekkers


Unbelievable Tekkers‘ (adj)
a phrase coined by former footballer, actor and all-round good guy Andy Ansah. It describes a moment of technical brilliance and has become a cultural phenomenon among football fans.

Some tekkers are good, some tekkers are bad, but some are…… unbelievable tekkers. Here is my top five most unbelievable tekkers. Vote for your favourite and if you know of any more unbelievable tekkers please forward them to me.

Spain’s Mata with a ridiculous nutmeg during the warm up.

Sublime skill and finish from Jay Emmanuel Thomas for the Arsenal Reserve team.

Calvante scores an audacious penalty with his standing foot!

Hamut Altintop hits a 30-yard volley direct from a corner

Robinho mocks the opposition with this solo effort

The best 5-a-side goal ever

I know i did say this was a top five, but i just could not decide which clip to leave out. Please vote for your favorite and if you think you can find some examples of even more unbelievable tekkers please let me know.


FIFA Scum


So Sepp Blatter is now calling England sore losers following last weeks disgraceful goings on. Absolute rubbish. FIFA dismissed England’s bid because our media exposed them for what they are, corrupt, self-important money-grabbers. The BBC expose shamed FIFA, who rather than stick to the principles expected of such an influential organisation have reacted in a childish, self defensive manner.
Now we no longer have anything to loose it is paramount that we and anybody who cares to join us fully exposes FIFA corruption and pushes for change. Who are these 22 individuals who wield such power? What do they have to do have to do with football? and how can such an important cultural, financial and political decision be decided in such a secretive, backward way? The diplomatic boot-licking was sickening. Why should leaders and future King’s be groveling to these nobodies?
I may sound bitter, and I am,though not because we lost the bid. Because of the manner in which we did. Because despite having what was acknowledged as the best technical bid we received only 2 votes. Because since then FIFA officials have publicly blamed the English media for this.
The English media found solid evidence that proved FIFA was corrupt. A good journalist should always report what is in the public interest. Our media was fully justified in doing so. If anything, the best thing to come from this is that it re-enforces what we already suspected.


Miranda Review


Miranda Hart, love her or loath her? That was the question asked in a newspaper survey this week. Astonishingly 90% opted for the former. I had never seen Miranda before, I had never wanted to. Having seen her promoting the show on several chat shows I found her to be one of the least amusing and appealing ‘comedians’ I have ever come across. However, there are clearly a lot of people out there who disagree with me so maybe it was time to let her change my opinion. The sitcom is now in its second series, there had to be some winning formula, or not.
Well it turns out Miranda is a very tall woman who runs a joke shop. The shop scenario can work, look at Black Books but my first impressions were not good. The canned laughter suggests the target audience is one that requires prompting. I certainly did. The jokes are basic, old fashioned and predictable. But for a few sexual references it wouldn’t be out of place on CBBC. The most irritating thing is when Miranda addresses the camera as if you’re her best friend. I’m not and I wish she would stop.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, it’s clearly not aimed at me and I can understand how some people may find it charming. Having never seen it before its possible I missed some running jokes or interesting character relationships, it’s hard to see though. It’s basically an inoffensive, unimaginative hark back to 70’s sitcom. Maybe that’s what people want at times like this but fans of alternative comedy will find Miranda excruciating viewing and I for one will not be watching again.


Tramadol Nights Review


The pre-broadcast warning said it all,“Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights contains very strong language and uncompromising content which may cause serious offence”. Mr Boyle is not for the easily offended. Most viewers will have already known this from his stint on ‘Mock the Week’ where, lets just say he divided opinion. Boyle is the comedian who says what you might think but dare not say, and far worse. He quit his regular post on Mock the Week last year, saying he was fed up fighting with the other comedians to get his jokes in. This is his opportunity to show what he can do on his own.
The program begins with Boyle in familiar territory doing a stand up routine in front of a live audience. It is trademark Frankie, cutting and always verging on the ultra-offensive. It takes a brave person to sit in the front row at one of his shows, as several members of the audience immediately found out. One woman was told she looked like Boy George in a chemotherapy wig, another man accused of being a child killer. Several thousand Michael McIntyre fans hoping for half an hours jocular observational comedy immediately switch over.
Tramadol Nights is more than just a showcase for Boyle’s stand up ability. It is for the most part a sketch show. This is new territory for the comedian and it was interesting to discover how his style would translate to the format. For me it was with mixed results. As with all sketch shows the quality varies, some funny bits, some not so. The surreal elements were enjoyable in particular the use of cartoons but watching Boyle playing a character turned out to be strangely uncomfortable viewing, maybe because I’m so used to him playing himself.
Frankie Boyle could be described as a fairly one-dimensional comedian, his talent is in ‘taking the piss’. There is little in the way of observational comedy or storytelling in his live act, or in this show. But I suppose every comic has their own style and the truth is Boyle is brilliant at what he does. Existing fans will enjoy Tramadol Nights but I doubt it will win him any new ones.


‘Perfect’ England


England took a huge step towards retaining the ashes last night, bowling Australia out for 304, still 71 short of England’s huge first innings total. It was the first win by an innings and more over the Aussies in 24 years and thoroughly deserved. Many are calling it a ‘perfect’ performance; it’s certainly hard to recall any better. It’s hard to recall a more complete England side.
Every player is at their peak, playing in a side perfectly set up for beating the opposition. Yes Australia where below-par but you sense no team in the world was capable of beating us over the past five days. The last two innings, 620-5, and 517-1 add up to 1137 runs for the loss of just 6 wickets, the bowlers aren’t doing too bad either.
Swanny hit back at those questioning his abilities down under with his tenth five-wicket haul for England, his first against Australia. He is a genuine class act, showing he is capable of taking this series away from the opposition in a way counterpart Xavier Docherty could only dream of.
Australia’s struggle to find a competent spin bowler is such that old-timer Shane Warne may even be called to come out of retirement. 71% of readers in a Melbourne Newspaper supported the idea of a comeback for the 41 year old leg spinner. It would certainly add some extra spice to the fixture but come on, Australians are clutching at straws and it feels good.
Anderson produced yet again as did Finn who has shown a maturity in his game that belies his modest experience. Unfortunately Broad’s injury will now keep him out of the series. I’m a fan of Broad and it’s a shame to loose him but I believe he is replaceable. The loss of Katich on the other hand is a huge blow for Australia, the batsman being one of the few to give a decent account of themselves so far. It would be nice to see Bres given a chance but Tremlett is perhaps the wiser choice, particularly on a bouncy Perth pitch.
Of the batsmen Pietersen was probably the stand-out performer, his innings combined his trademark grace, power and prowess with a new found maturity and responsibility. If this new attitude is here to stay then surely there are many more runs to come from KP this series. Cook hit yet another century as did Trott, who also produced the moment of the match when he dismissed Katich with a superb run out.
If Australia is to have any chance in this series they will have to demonstrate a similar level of ruthlessness and sheer brilliance in the field as England have. A winning side is one that doesn’t drop catches and punishes teams at every opportunity; struggling sides tend to do the opposite. It may seem a basic point to make but psychologically England clearly have the edge and I believe this is the key reason. Australia are struggling for wickets so the few opportunities that come their way must be taken, particularly when everybody in England’s top order appears to be capable of such huge scores.
So England will head into the third test next week a confident and settled side, knowing a similar performance will almost certainly guarantee the ashes returning to these shores. Meanwhile Australia will be scratching their heads wondering where to go from here. I do not see 20 wickets in that attack, nor do I see a batting line up capable of fending off Swann and Anderson for long enough to cause problems. Having said that cricket is a funny game and you never know Warney may just save the day.