Siberian Soapbox

Jim White is probably a reasonable man. He’s well-dressed, presentable – well, it is his job after all – and does his best to be cheerful. Even the most mundane sentence can be given the utmost gravitas by his Scottish brogue.

There’s the problem, though. The smothering wool he pulls over our eyes is ubiquitous and omnipotent, like a bloody stealthy nerve gas. The fact that Premier League Player #2,704 has driven his car to his club’s training ground is earth-shattering news in Jim White-land. Why does he do it? Aside from the pedantic answer “It’s his job!”, you muppet.

Sky Sports Transfer Window Madness

It’s quite simple really – we lap it up. Sky Sports is a humongous vessel that is out of control, and good old Jim is the honest face we can trust to steer it through choppy waters.

I am at this point a massive hypocrite. While ranting at the souped-up product shoved through our eyeballs, I indulge in its embrace as much as anyone. Sitting through a few hours of utter crap can dull the mind somewhat, as everything else afterwards seems somehow insignificant. Without a ticker tape live feed on a screen filled with smarmy in-the-know permatanned gits, news just isn’t news anymore.

Don’t blame Sky. Actually, do; it is their money that has flooded our game and our common sense to create this situation. What I mean is that this was always inevitable. Football’s mass appeal could never remain honest and pure; whether it had been Sky or not, this blanket coverage would have arrived.

Crass Crap Coverage

I am still trying to believe some of the utter shite crassness that was squeezed into the live rolling broadcast. That’s the problem with committing to producing non-stop news – you have to fill every second with something. When Ron Burgundy made (fictional) history with the first 24-hour news channel, he descended to the lowest common denominator. Car chases, animal fluff stories, whatever the hell made people watch.

Today we were treated to a hilarious interview with Patrick van Aanholt with the reporter trying to get the Dutchman to apologise for splashing him as the player drove past. We had a fans’ board inside Sky HQ lobby. Attention-hungry social media types were rounded up and made to stand on some stairs. There was even one presenter whose sole job was to read out tweets from random fans.

Christ. Is this really what we’ve come to? I get that coverage has to be filled with engaging material. The problem is that now it just isn’t. I find myself utterly despising the Premier League. OK, like I said, I’m a complete hypocrite, and come every weekend I’ll be glued to the telly. I hate myself for it though.

Early End To Transfer Window

This is a sentiment that has been steadily growing for quite some time, to be fair. This year’s summer transfer window has had an extra irritation though. With a vote to change the closing date of the window, English clubs have now already passed the deadline. The logic has a basic understandable premise – finish transfers before the season starts. I for one actually support that as a concept. However, for it to work, it really requires all European leagues to adopt the same line.

While we think that’s the last of the madness, the rest of the continent will lurk ominously in the background. Eden Hazard has stayed? For now. Real Madrid have another fortnight to work their dark magic, and if they do, Chelsea will be powerless to recruit accordingly.

I’m not a political commentator, but it is hard to ignore the parallels with Brexit. England striking out on its own? Ignoring or disregarding its neighbours? Not fully understanding the implications until it’s too late? Ah to hell with those pesky foreigners! We’ll damn well do it our way.

Something tells me that the rest of Europe will be watching intently to see how they can exploit the English. Who can blame them? They have to get the best players. If the selling clubs have voted to cut short the transfer window, it’s not the buyer’s fault. Thank god the Premier League is run by a team of experts with the best interests of its members at heart, just like Brexit.

Ah…