Sir Hardly Anyone reflects on another wasted night at the bar.
I have generally thought most “reporters” who cover transfer chit chat to be half baked, but some of those I have met in this fenêtre de transfert don’t seem even to have made it into the oven. And to hear the silly little people as they have gathered together daily and nightly in the Toppled Bollard on the western side of Wapping Swamp in London’s jolly east end, you’d think the last couple of months had been a triumph for the measly blighters rather than an unmitigated disaster of false prophecies and downright lies.
For as one of them, still able to string something resembling a sentence together told me this morning, “I’m all for not letting the sun go down without having started something calculated to stagger humanity.”
At which point he fell over.
But sad humanity has not been staggered by anything from the multiple minor talents who have been covering the transfer season, other than the lunacy of the drainpipes (as us superior beings now like to call the “media outlets”) that employ them.
Jut look at some of their latest fun and games, as they produce headlines such as “Arsenal transfer news: Besiktas defender Domagoj Vida makes Gunners decision – reports” which appears in the Excess this morning, followed by the note that “there has not yet been an official approach with just hours left of the transfer window for English clubs and Turkish outlet Aksam say that Vida does not want the move.”
In fact if one does visit Aksam.com.tr what you find is the statement, ‘Beşiktaş’ın Hırvat yıldızı Domagoj Vida, yönetici Umut Güner’e, “Gitmek istemiyorum. İstanbul’u seviyorum.” dedi.’ which translates roughly as ‘Beşiktaş’s Croatian star Domagoj Vida told the executive Umut Güner, “I do not want to go, I love Istanbul.”‘ But the point is, he said that a month ago.
Indeed as I suggested to one scribbler who has been something of a permanent fixture at the Bollard for the past two weeks, (and I was direct and straight to the point in this), “If there were any justice in football journalism you’d be hauled out of your chair and shot at noon.”
“Ha,” said he, grinning stupidly, “that’s where you are so wrong. I couldn’t be. I’m never up that early’.”
But it was interesting that having run the headline “Arsenal transfer news Besiktas defender Domagoj Vida makes Gunners decision – reports” at “Arsenal transfer news: Barcelona ace Ousmane Dembele reveals decision over Gunners links,” just 20 minutes later. “Change the name, leave the headline the same, that’s the game.” One of the blighters actually said that to me before falling over.
“Headline department on strike this AM?” I asked picking up the flailing jouro who looked at me bleary eyed.
“I mean to say,” I continued, “when a newspaper runs a headline on one topic, and then runs the same line again on a different matter, one is entitled to think that the drainpipe is laughing at its readers with a sound akin to a bursting paper bag,”
“The sound of a bursting paper bag,” he asked, pondering. “What’s that sound like?”
“Look,” I said being as patient as I could, “The outcome is the same in each case. With Dembele the story is (and here I read from the screen,) “Dembele also laughed off other suggestions he would be joining Arsenal as he responded to other comments and hailed team-mate Lionel Messi as the best player in history.
“So it was all a total windup from start to end. What on earth was on your mind in running this for the past couple of months?” I demanded.
He looked at me vacantly. I tried again.
“When I say ‘mind’,” I said more reflectively, “I refer to the quarter-teaspoonful of brain which you might possibly find in your head if someone drilled a hole in the top of your skull and sank an Artesian well.”
Foot Lond however, still going strong on the 40 a day, did attempt something newish with “Tottenham and Arsenal to battle it out for Genk midfielder Sander Berge”
Others too are still going. “The Gunners had been linked with the services of AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez” says Gunnersphere but now we find that the story is, “Defender ready to snub late Arsenal interest & remain with current club.”
Of course different drainpipes have different ways of handling all this. Football Fan Cast have “‘A mistake’ … Some Arsenal fans left baffled as Emery considers major shift.”
“A major shift,” I hear you cry, “wherefore is this major shift?”
Well it turns out to be the notion that Arsenal were going to sell Elneny. Now I, like the rest of Untold, like Elneny, we see him as a hardworking solid and increasingly reliable defender who doesn’t mind being picked for lesser games – for example ensuring their is solidity in a cup match where several youngsters are in the team. Was there ever any plan to sell him? I doubt it. So why run the survey? Your guess is probably better than mine.
Then as I sat, head in hands, a journo tapped me on the shoulder. “You don’t get it do you?” he said. “My instructions from the football editor are ‘do not let the sun go down without having started something calculated to stagger humanity’.”
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