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If you had to explain what makes football important, what would you talk about? The trophies? The wins over your nearest and most bitter rivals? The occasions where a team of used-car salesmen overcome millionaires in a famous cup upset? The ability to bring a whole community together?
Those tuning in to Sky Sports News on Monday would be forgiven for ignoring all that as viewers were once again plunged into a self-indulgent, anti-climactic world of inflated transfer fees and panicked loan moves.
I guess I have to give Sky some credit. Despite being responsible for making television sets around the country look like they’ve come down with a severe case of jaundice with their overused yellow graphics, Sky succeeded in turning what was once a hugely mundane part of the season – reserved only for the clubs, players and agents that hadn’t pulled their fingers out earlier in the window – into something of a theatrical art form.
‘Mr Deadline Day’ Jim White continues to play the role of ringleader in this bizarre circus, summoning the sort of unreasonable excitement and enthusiasm one expects from an elderly grandma that’s just spotted Gary Barlow in Sainsbury’s.
I must admit, there was a time when I enjoyed it. All of it. The success to make even the most passive viewer listen intently about the latest MK Dons loan signing was something to admire, while moments such as Dildo-Gate were burned into the pages of television history.
But the relevance of such coverage is waning with each window.
January 2011 will surely be viewed by Sky as its vintage year for Deadline Day coverage. Luis Suarez sealed a career-defining move to Liverpool, where he was joined by £35 million striker Andy Carroll, and Chelsea smashed the British transfer record by snapping up Fernando Torres for a cool £50 million.
The latter two flopped spectacularly, and there has incidentally been a decline in Premier League signings on Deadline Day ever since, with just 10 made this time around, compared to 18 in the final 24 hours of the 2011 and 2012 January windows, 22 in 2014 and just 13 in 2015. The fact is, when clubs need to do business in the window, there’s a growing inclination to get it done early.
That will worry the yellow-clad Sky clan, who having been deprived on any actual drama to report on, began consulting stats from Football Manager to compare players that would have even the most avid footballing hipster utterly bamboozled.
Written by Tom Coleman
Follow Tom on Twitter @tomEcoleman
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