Transfer deadline day is almost upon us. A joyful day when you wake up expecting to unpack a new 30-goal Dutch league striker, but go to bed having watched weary presenters and former players who played 14 times for Stoke explain for 12 hours what is a “market sheet”. It’s like Christmas, but instead of presents and roast turkey, you have net spend graphs and endless satellite links to fans in car parks who hear that Neymar won’t ultimately sign for Aston Villa.
But it’s not always shit. Sometimes the last day of the transfer window brings golden nuggets. Moments that define one of football’s weirdest rituals. Moments that keep us warm on deadline days that come no more dramatic than Preston North End signing a left-back on loan from Burton Albion at 11am.
We don’t know what will happen before this transfer window closes (legally this is the only way to close a transfer window). But we are ready for anything. Because, as the following examples show, anything can happen on closing day.
The great flight of Berba / Robinho joins Manchester (City)
The gold standard of transfer closing days. Not content with buying players, the Abu Dhabi United group bought an entire squad on the last day of the 2008 summer window. Once their takeover of Manchester City was complete, they immediately set about transforming a side that had finished ninth in the season previous world champion.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov had looked certain to move to Manchester United all summer. But suddenly Spurs have accepted an offer from the new rich Cityzens. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson reacts with the calm and relaxed attitude he has always had when things don’t go his way. He drove to Manchester Airport to personally greet the player as he got off the plane and made sure Berbatov would wear the colors of the city’s red half.
City still managed to bring in a big name, Robinho, from Real Madrid. In the years since, he has admitted he was thinking about signing for City rivals Old Trafford. Here’s how we imagine the conversation went.
Sheikh Mansour: Want to join Manchester (whispering) City, owned by the Abu Dhabi (louder) United group?
Robinho: Manchester United?
Sheikh Mansour: Uh… yes, why not.
The Torres case &; Carroll
Like you and me, the winter 2011 transfer deadline day will live forever. Liverpool were at the center of a day that, more than a decade later, still justifies calling in sick at work and watching Sky Sports News all day.
Liverpool star striker Fernando Torres has been sold to Chelsea for a club-record fee of £50million. The Mersey club had their eyes on the ideal replacement for the dynamic and spirited Spaniard: Andy Carroll, a 1.80m ponytail dealer. But Newcastle United are no fool, they won’t let go of their most popular number nine since the last time Alan Shearer’s haired island graced St James’ Park without a hefty price tag. Knowing that Liverpool were loaded with money from Torres, they got 35 million pounds in exchange for Carroll.
So what has a goalscoring talent worth a combined £85million been up to at his new clubs? If you answered “scored a total of three Premier League goals in the second half of the season” then you did well, but you are also a nerd.
Carroll wasn’t the only extra firepower at Anfield that day. A little-known Uruguayan by the name of Luis Suarez also joined the club that day. I wonder what became of him…
Odemwingie leads to infamy
The most famous moment in vehicle sports this side of OJ Simpson’s white Bronco. You know where this is going to take you, but Odemwingie certainly didn’t know it on this day in January 2013.
The striker was playing his trade for West Bromwich Albion at the time. But Odemwingie had no intention of doing it any longer. Queens Park Rangers are interested in him and the player is enthusiastic. The player was so excited that he drove to Loftus Road to close the deal.
The only problem was that West Brom had not accepted an offer from QPR. They never will. Odemwingie had to wait in the parking lot for a transfer that would never happen, with the only way to kill time being to give a very embarrassing interview to Sky SportsNews.
Odemwingie eventually left for Cardiff City the following summer. He scored two goals for the Welsh club, roughly 0.00000001 goals for every person who laughed at the video showing him arriving at Loftus Road in his car.
Sky Sports is redefining the word ‘earpiece’.
Imagine the scene. You are Alan Irwin, Sky Sports News’ traveling reporter. It’s transfer deadline day, the big day. The day more people watch than any other. And for once, YOU are the star. Not the players, not the managers. No, today you, Alan, take center stage. It’s up to you to tell the fans what they want to hear, that they’re going to sign a new player.
You proudly stand ready to give the world what it wants to hear: an update on Tom Cleverley’s situation. You feel something slip into your ear as a cheer rises behind you, like the people made up in tweets about nannies voting for Brexit. You get away with it. You have this. You are fucking Alan Irwin. You wrap it all up. « How was it, guys? » you ask your film crew. « Alan, you’re not going to believe this, mate. »
You now remember the incident. An Everton fan inserted something into Irwin’s ear as he delivered his track to the camera. A facsimile phallus. An appendix prosthesis. A synthetic sausage for men. A non-recyclable trouser loop. A Boris Johnson.
Irwin would later say that he thought the purple mass disappearing from his earlobe was a finger. Whose finger, Alan? Barney the dinosaur? Stop that.
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