...and we’re back. I’ve spent the past month amongst the chaos that is the Edinburgh Festival. It’s a month of heavy gigging, late nights and intense weirdness that has to be experienced to be properly understood. On my return I got straight off the train to go and record the podcast before finally, mercifully going home. The very next day I witnessed something that seemed to be hell-bent on fitting the intensity of something like the festival into one day, albeit in a more shiny, bloated and hysterical fashion: Transfer Deadline Day.
Sky have done well to create this phenomena. It has an event status that they have manufactured entirely by themselves and it won’t be long before they sell the movie rights. I swear they lay on the helicopters for those players who make particularly late moves, just to up the drama. Jim White is king for a day, the various regional reporters get regular air time and everyone involved gets genuinely excited about what is effectively live admin. They then repeatedly tell you how excited you are about it, using things like “the Totaliser” - which could be more accurately described as “the Calculator”, except that it’s not even that good as all it does is add up – to pad out the day. At one point Simon Thomas did an impression of Alan Partridge. What next, monkey tennis?
Of course it only works because time after time Premier League clubs act like rubbish dads on Christmas Eve and leave all their shopping to the last minute. Gary Cahill looked like he’d be this year’s Buzz Lightyear but it turned out that not one dad came in for him. Jermaine Jenas was the equivalent of a tin of Quality Street bought from a petrol station.
Given that country-wide looting took place during the window I’m surprised that not one hard up club went around kicking in other clubs’ training grounds and making off with players. Everton in particular could have done with using this tactic, though I’m delighted that Royston Drenthe will now be gracing the Premier League. Every single time I’ve seen him play he’s thrown a strop of some sort and I’m tipping him to become one of the stand-out head-cases of the season.
Arsenal’s dealings were much needed after the larruping at Old Trafford and it’s impossible to say if it’ll give them the boost they need but they’ve added experience and leadership, two things they’ve lacked in recent times. It’s a new look Arsenal for the first time in a very long time and I for one am excited about that.
Perhaps the most surprising arrival was that of Vicente to Brighton. The now-former Valencia man has had a torrid time with injuries but hopefully he can stay fit and do enough dazzling to excite the sea-hippies, as Brighton fans aren’t known. Even if he gets injured in his first game he’s known as The Dagger of Benicalap, which is reason enough to love him.
Joe Cole made all of us who regularly cry out for English players to move abroad happy when he moved to Lille on loan from Liverpool. He then kind of ruined it by revealing that he’ll still live in London, given that Lille is only 90 minutes away. There’s no way that’s door-to-door. It’s still a hellish commute. Just move out there Joe! I’m sure you’re worried that everyone will only speak mime and that there won’t be anything to eat other than snails’ legs but it’ll be fine you daft man.
I find it odd that the window is still open when the season has already begun. The last minute dealings make everything feel jumbled up and like a bit of a false start, so that when it finally shuts it becomes a blessed relief where you can take stock of what you have at the club and finally gear up for the season. I doubt that will change any time soon though as football exists outside the realm of logic, which if we’re honest is one of the things that makes it great. Until January…
Jim Campbell is co-producer and co-presenter of The Football Ramble and is a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian. You can follow Jim on Twitter here