By Sir Hardly Anyone, our man in the Toppled Bollard; watering hole of the football journalist.
I don’t know if you have ever seen a tiger or wildebeest or tyrannosaurus rex or something along those lines, raising itself up to its full height in preparation of rushing at several thousand mph across the fauna and flora ready to pounce on its prey, but if you have, think of the opposite where every living creature is indistinguishable from the fluff on the living room carpet, and you get the picture of the Toppled Bollard, public house of the London football journalist, now the buying season in the Premier League is over.
“Struggling” would be the word I might use to describe the lifeforms there, if they were actually showing any sign of life. But they are not.
Occasionally a head is raised above table level with the words “anyone gotta story?” emerging, but with no one replying they fall back into their stupor as others shout, “I don’t want no ******* story, I wanna drink.”
“Here here,” is the cry before several men from Foot Lond shout “Where where?” and there is much hiccuping.
“But wait,” you cry, “this cannot be right. The ventana de transferencia is still open in the rest of the universe, there must be something a-happening.” And yes that is true, for at such a time it is the young wannabe cub reporters who are left back in the office running the show. And they have been waiting for this moment since last February so have come up with some jolly old whims.
One such is “Catalin Carjan reveals when he will join Arsenal after agreeing a move from Viitourul Domnesti” which the junior deputy under manager (football) at the Mirror has come up with. Trouble is, we knew that a month ago. It is when he is sixteen. And that is what the Mirror says today. Oh how droll! How those young trainees giggle!!
And another ploy is afoot, for it is to find old timers still plodding around, and feed them make believe stories which they will then take to be true. As with Sky Sports telling us the our old chum Song has joined Siad on a free. Well!
But as I enter the Bollard there are still one or two signs of life. “Tell me Paul Merson got angry,” screams a voice from the floor into its phone, but that too has been done – it is after all the most common or garden standard line that there is life after it is all over. Yes, “… Lambasted by furious Paul Merson” is the line to use when all else fails, with the name of each member of the Arsenal team inserted at the start of that line, in rotation, until the jolly old трансферное окно opens once more.
Just as bad is “Arsenal transfer news: Campbell set to sign three-year deal as Emery begins clear-out” in the
But ultimately the real live winner of it all is “‘So unbelievable’ – A lot of Arsenal fans in shock as pundits jump on them after one game” which screaming beauty that old bunch of dissolute bargees at
And then the dominant feeling that no one could be arsed to write anything was amplified by the Evening Standard’s poor offering “Title bid is complicated but Arsenal want trophies,” allegedly said by Aubameyang telling us nothing much, which is probably the idea.
In a final desperate attempt to find out what was afoot I approached Bonkers McClaren, sports writer for what London journalists call “The Sludge”. I’ll let you guess who that is. “I was told by the sports editor,” Bonkers said after I bought him a pint, “that he was fed up with my writing the same old transfer stories with just the names of the clubs and the names of the players changed each time. So you know what I did?”
I said I did not know what he did.
“I outsmarted the silly ********. I wrote a piece with all the same old stories but using the same names of the clubs and the same name for players as before. And pretty silly it made him look I can tell you.” I patted him on the shoulder and helped him back to his chair.
But of course there is always Football London, the website that puts the stock in “laughing”. They are suggesting that Arsenal fans are now envious of Everton after rumours that Usmanov is going to invest in toffees and make them European Champion tooth decay champions. “‘Game over – they will overtake us’ Arsenal fans react with envy to Usmanov’s Everton statement” is their headline of the post-headline post-media post-modern post-post era post.
And yet in the face of such an upping of the stakes, (or is that the steaks?), some journalists really are not trying at all. Take The Hard Tackle that chimes in with “Arsenal star set for club exit”. I mean come on guys. You are supposed to be writing headlines here. However, even they were outdone by the wonderfully named Arsenal Analysis that ran “Get a grip Mr Emery”
Elsewhere the news that Arsenal Supporters Trust have been told to call themselves AST turned out to be a misreading of the next story in which Arsenal Fan TV has been told to call itself AFT and stop using the Arsenal logo. Oh yes it is all happening and when I say “all” I mean it is not.
It is indeed the postmodern posttransfer post-past-the-post postman world. Yes the oordrag venster really is closed.
- Critical safety systems: those rather annoying hiccups that get in the way.
- Ian Wright claims football media and the FA are both racist
- Does the sponsorship of a club really mean that fans can’t criticise the sponsor?
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the club that gets cards at over twice the rate of Arsenal
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying