CGM blog: The price of everything

Hey, it’s football transfer deadline day don’t you know. Not that Sky Sports will let you forget, mind.

In fact, if you watch Sky Sports News today, you’d be hard pressed to believe there’s any other action worthy of mention in the wonderful world of sport.

Forget GB swimmer Adam Peaty’s multiple record-breaking, gold-winning week in the European Championships in Glasgow.

Or the happy smiling faces of dozens of British athletes competing – and winning – in Berlin. Team GB 800m runner Adelle Tracey couldn’t stop beaming having qualified for the final. This girl loves her sport so much she grins when grimacing in competition… honest. That’s not just class – it is healthy, happy and joyous.

Or England’s cricketers stepping out for a Lord’s test match with young Ollie Pope being the third 20-year-old or younger to sport Three Lions on his shirt this summer – against the most cricket-mad nation on earth, India.

I wouldn’t mind, but Sky can show this proper live action all day (weather permitting) yet it pales into insignificance  compared to the desperate last gasp manoeuvres of England’s football clubs.

Never mind the quality, feel the width.

Most of the talk – and it is ceaseless and hugely repetitive – is about money. The quantities being spent rather than the quality it can buy.

Success is measured in volume to justify the TV coverage and couched as progress rather than a wasteful biannual trading carnival which, in a more sanguine society, we’d scorn as misplaced with billions of pounds spent making mainly modest sportsmen multi-millionaires rather than being spent on good causes – like grassroots sport to tackle health, obesity and mental health issues.

Instead, it’s the mental health of Sky Sports reporters camped outside training grounds from the dawn to dusk that I fear for. Surely there’s only so much paint anyone can watch dry before it gets to you? The inactively is excruciating.

“If it’s happening in Liverpool today, Vinny O’Connor’s the man to tell us,” gleefully pronounced the anchorman as if a transcendental sighting of the Fab Four might somehow be on the cards.

Cue the live link to poor old (well, young) Vinny, perched three miles out of town at Liverpool FC’s Melwood training ground, haplessly trying to read deeper meaning into comments made by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at a recent press conference.

Klopp it’s thought has “‘done his business early” and when asked, teased reporters with his typical toothy grin and said “maybe…” there might be some surprises come transfer deadline day.

As for over at Everton. “Well, you never can tell,” chirps Vinny.

Early news at Bournemouth. “It’s raining,” said their Sky-jacketed reporter. “Doesn’t usually happen on transfer deadline day”, as if it is not allowed to rain on this parade of the self-righteous.

Over at Watford there’s actual player news.

“We believe Craig Dawson is trying to agitate a move out of West Brom.” Apparently, Klopp-like Watford “went early” in the market so aren’t desperate. Unlike Dawson it seems.    

The games people, eh? Apparently “agitating” Dawson refused to go on Baggies’ pre-season training camp in an attempt to stay at home to “force a move.”

In Sky parlance this is a wholly more honourable sporting activity than swimming, cycling or running for your country on terrestrial television. What you can’t see…

Constant text scrolls across the screen about a seemingly endless parade of Celta Vigo and Real Betis players who may be on the move (maybe) and Besiktas officials are by all accounts in the country trying to sign anyone who doesn’t feign a convincing enough limp.

“Will Jose Mourinho be smiling by the end of today?” we’re asked. Who cares – and not unless hell is planning to freeze over today, I’d imagine.

The miserable Portugeezer sums up this charade – joyless, confusing, bored. He is, we are.

An endless cast of old managers are wheeled in to comment on the wheeling and dealing and we’re told Paul Merson will be “with us later with his thoughts” as if the Dalai Lama was planning to grace us with his presence.

Actually, I’d back our cat Jessica to have a more considered opinion on some of the foreign players heading for the Premier League than Merson. Jess can certainly articulate the way she feels better. I’m sure her glazed expression as she leant into me on the table this morning meant: “Come on, Chris. Switch channels, mate. You’re better than this.”

So on transfer deadline day Teresa and I will be off to New Road – to watch the ever-eager cricketers of Worcestershire Rapids take on Derbyshire Falcons in front of the most wonderful sporting vista in England.

Real players playing real sport for realistic wages.

Oh, and the transfer window will close (or “slams shut” as broadcasters are apparently urged to say) while we’re there – and I won’t care a jot unless West Brom are planning a late swoop for Messi, Ronaldo, De Gea and Lukaku for a bag of sweets and couple of conkers.

“Hang on, there’s breaking news… apparently there’s a real world going on out there.”