Arsenal

Messi, Henry, Torres All On The Move, Says George Caveney…

‘The transfer window is like Christmas.’

It is. Here’s why. I don’t mind the big day itself and the peaceful aftermath with some new things to coo at. It’s the relentless frenetic build up that makes me want to buy a twelve-bore and live in a remote shed for a couple of months. I don’t know what’s wrong with the human race, but it’s like giving pic’n’mix to a troupe of autistic monkeys.

And so it is with the transfer window. Speculation? Fine. Pipe dreaming? Fine, as long as it’s not dressed up as anything but playground chatter. “No way, right! I just seen Messi disguised as a bag lady at Turf Moor, innit!”. Met with, “Yeah, whatever, but a pigeon’s just been sick on the pavement outside Craven Cottage, so it means Thierry Henry’s signed as Fulham’s new goalie for a week.” Okay, it can be great fun on the last day – we know it’s going to be silly and the tired humour comes out – plus there’s often some Cannonball Run type ferrying around of players to sign things they won’t have time or brains to read. Like Robinho. See what I mean?

Apart from the fun crescendo, though, I just prefer to hear about it when it actually happens. I was on holiday for the best part of January’s shenanigans, and it was so refreshing to simply scan the newspaper stands for confirmations – instead of wade through an indecipherable ocean of ‘sources close to the club’ (the nearest boozer), ‘close friends of the player’ (stalkers) and ‘reliable information’ (lazy hack nonsense). Am I just being a miserable git, or does anyone else get transfer-window fatigue way before the chuffing thing’s open? It’s easy for me to say – what I do all day every day means I can immediately see through the pathetic ambiguity of such journalism.

People make themselves ill with excitement over thinly-veiled titillations. Just like Christmas. “It’s probably a pair of XL starchy Rudolph boxers, but hey, it could be a silk pouch containing the keys to a Veyron.” It’s the same as “It looks just like Ted the groundsman who’s been here 15 years, but you could, if you were an idiot, mistake him for Eto’o.” Which gets you thinking, however unlikely it may be? Exactly. And just like Christmas, it becomes a draining rollercoaster of expectation, disappointment, one-upmanship, self-medication, cheesy smiles, holding up new shirts, putting your arm round people you don’t know, blurred vision, the occasional fight and a hankering for normality. Guess what… I hate Xmas. Anyway, let’s talk Torres. Is he on his way to City if we get fourth spot? Let’s wait and bloody well see, shall we? Either he will, or he won’t! So let’s get on with our daily chores until it’s something that merits discussion – for example who Garry Cook managed to upset in the process.

Fact is, apart from a dozen or so people well versed in keeping their traps firmly shut, no-one really knows what’s going on. And then suddenly everyone does, which is why the real inside scoop is gold dust. My point is, there are so many inside scoops that aren’t inside scoops, it all gets a bit tiresome. Sure, people are paid well to rattle cages and inspire debate, but let’s not get confused as to what’s what and what’s not.

Sorry, there I go again. For better or worse, we’ll be under the spotlight again, and in many ways that’s massively positive for City. I’m so pleased we’re making this league more interesting, for whatever reasons. And I’ve no doubt the summer months of World Cup action and transfer traffic will keep us all hugely entertained. And for those of us that hate the melee that precedes it all, let’s just hope the end results are worth the wait, and the prices of shed holidays and twelve-bores don’t go through the roof.

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