10 amazing transfers: Sir Hardly Anyone as the bland lead the bland

by Sir Hardly Anyone.

The bland leading the bland at the Toppled Bollard

As you may have noticed if you choose to meander around the transfer rumours that litter the football websites, no one ever claims to be the source of any transfer story.   Rather it is always someone else’s fault.  And one can readily understand why, if one chooses to spend a few hours at the Toppled Bollard, drinking den of football journalism’s elite.

Take Mindless McGuillycuddy of the Birmingham Frail, a man who bleats like a sheep and doesn’t know his penalty area from an albatross, on a recent trip to London sent his editor the statement that Arsenal target Christopher Nkunku has put the “Gunners on alert after refusing to sign a new contract with PSG.”   Now what he doesn’t admit is that the exact same story appeared in the Daily Mirror which he nicked after falling asleep one afternoon and missing most of the next week.

And of course anyone who has been at PSG for over one year will have played under Emery, and thus is seen to be an Emery chum and liable for a transfer.    And that’s about it when it comes to the story.  One can merely tap these journos on the head and say “there there.”

But of course the Bollard is always full, and quickly the tale spreads as within seconds the Peabrain Boskett was putting out the headline “Arsenal target REJECTS new deal at PSG: £30m summer move could now be on.” Like so many substantial journalists, Peabrain started on whisky young, and then kept on drinking, springing from bottle to bottle like whatever sort of animal it is that inhabits the upper Alps, and goes leaping from crag to crag, just occasionally falling over, breaking a leg and freezing to death.  (Actually I think the comparison doesn’t quite work, but I am sure you know what I mean).

Of course Football.London, the 50 Arsenal stories a day website, will have none of this, and yesterday it ran, “It’s Thursday, the weekend is right around the corner – and we’ve got plenty of transfer rumours and gossip to take you through to Friday.”  A whole day reading transfer rumours?  I mean Julius Caesar liked to have men about him who were fat, but men who create 50 Arsenal stories a day?  Can you imagine how much they consume? 

But there they are, and  their tale is that Mr Emery might leave Arsenal in the summer to go and work with Ivan Gazidis because Mr G is considering removing Gennaro Gattuso as head coach because the club is 2000 points behind Juventus.   According to Tuttomercatoweb, Gazidis will then bring in Emery who after a year at Arsenal would be available on the cheap. Of course I told Drainpipe McGurgle that this was unlikely, but he just growled at me rather like a polar bear who has just spotted lunch, so I backed off.  One can never be sure with journalists.

Meanwhile Denis Afterthought, another FootLond man who is known to move from pint to pint with all the uproar of a contented jellyfish, on hearing my disbelief on one of their stories, wandered over and told me in no uncertain terms that half the stories his colleagues published were made up and the other three quarters were of dubious provenance so what was I moaning about.

He then told me that Ander Herrera has given an interview in Spanish suggesting he is leaving Very Old Trafford this summer on a free and Arsenal were onto him.

And so the drinking, and the placing of the blame for each story on an obscure foreign source, goes on at the Bollard. It just shows, what any journalist (or indeed member of Parliament) will tell you, if you want a story the preliminary six pints is essential. Unless pie-eyed you cannot hope to get a grip on footballing reality.

Indeed I remember once running hot foot from Arsenal’s training ground to the Toppled Bollard with an absolutely genuine report about the chance of Giroud leaving the club and was wholly dismissed on the grounds that my breath was not tainted with the devil’s brew so the story couldn’t be real.

This however does not taint the notion that Arsenal are scouting Belgian striker Benito Raman from Fortuna Dusseldorf forward.  They tell me he has scored four goals in 24 games and three assists in the last five.  The blame for this creation is of course not FootLo but Sport Bild, but even they won’t take the credit as they blame Sport Witness (or maybe the other way around) and say that WHU, Everton and Burnley are interested in making a €15m bid.

Apparently the follow up story is going to be that Burnley will pull out of negotiations they were never in, in the first place, and thus the headline “Arsenal to sign Burnley reject” will roll off the presses.  This point was made (over a period of some eight or nine minutes) by Felix Sprokett who is himself either a man of about a hundred and twenty years who is looking rather young for his age, or a man of 24 who rather cares for the occasional short one.

“What’s the word on Arsenal’s away form?” I asked Felix.

“They will continue to peck cautiously at the ball,” he told me, “while lower level clubs will never once spare themselves in their efforts to do Arsenal men a violent injury which the referee will ignore.  After all, have you considered the sex life of newts?  They just waggle their tails at one another, and off they go.  That’s the way it should work.”

And there we have it.  Wise words indeed.  And we can be sure, the stories totter off the press as the journalists roll about on the floor.  Meanwhile we will shortly be starting our annual Transfer Rumours service.   The target this year is to find 130 transfer rumours involving men coming to Arsenal with a success rate of 3%.  And I know the headline promised ten rumours, but really, I couldn’t be arsed.


6 Replies to “10 amazing transfers: Sir Hardly Anyone as the bland lead the bland”

  1. At a pet store –

    Cashier to customer at her counter : ” Can I help you with anything ?”
    Man , ( Slaps bag of bird seed on counter.) : ” How long does it take for this shit to grow into birds ? “


    a) When the PIGMOB finally treat the Arsenal favourably.

    b) When politicians truly serve the people .

    c) When the Spuds finally win something of note .

    d) When England finally win something of note .

    e) When BREXIT successfully unites the divide.

  3. Tony-

    Does anyone really listen/pay attention to this tripe anymore? To a bad pun:

    I Hardly Think So!


  4. There is a new page up on the Interwebs


    Written about someone at the beginnings of football “journalism”. The date on this article is today. Some quotes:

    A journalist once told me that his job was to tell people what to think. So, who are the people who tell us what we think about football? Who started reporting those early matches? It was an up and coming writer called James Catton.

    I don’t think it is anyone’s job to tell me what to think, but it is easy to see that “journalists” might agree with this.

    Meanwhile, football and journalism were constantly evolving. This new outlet for the new game was to be preserved and promoted, so as early as the 1890s teams had special press boxes from which journalists could ply their trade protected from the elements. This developed into mini office suites complete with whiskey bars.

    Possible proof as to the amount of proof going into football journalists.

    But he could be critical too. He could see that the physical nature of the English game was limiting as he lamented the lack of passing and control in the top flight of English football.

    Almost the end of the article. Pity that England still feels that football has to be that physical.

    Read the article, maybe you will find your own points of interest.

  5. Something unusual in the Leicester/Newcastle game. It appears that a PGMO “referee” has given a card for someone inflicting a treatment.

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