Friday, 5 February 2010

Afternoon Report - Transfer Deadline Day

Afternoon Report
Monday 1st February
Sky Sports News 16:00


Now you may find this hard to believe but I watch Sky Sports News quite a lot. With only council telly (freeview) its my default channel if there’s nothing on or more than likely, something’s happened in the sporting world that I want to see the action and of course, reaction from. I know its faults. I know they provide umpteen stories a week that in no way constitute a story, I know it gives over-proportionate coverage to certain teams and players, and I know they choose many of the female presenters for nothing more than their aesthetic quality (phwoarrr eh lads…sorry, got carried away then. Sincere apologies to my legions of female readers.) With this tendency to broadcast hours of absolutely nothing, no event in the sporting calendar is more suited to SSN than the transfer window but despite this description I and I’m sure many of you find it compelling viewing.


Mainstay presenters Jim White (the Scottish one who looks exactly how you’d expect a ‘Jim White’ to look…unless you were thinking of the snookerer Jimmy White, then in that case he doesn’t) and Simon Thomas (young, catalogue-boy, Jamie Redknapp type) welcomed us to this decisive hour of the January transfer window. The graphic that has appeared on this channel throughout the month of January popped us to tell us there was “0 Hours 59 Minutes and 42 Seconds” left of the transfer window now and Thomas confirmed “clubs up and down the land have less than one hour to get their business done.” Then we were transported to various reporters introducing themselves with a Eurovision-esque feel about it except they looked to be very cold outside training grounds of various Premiership clubs rather than sat above the beautifully lit up skylines of Helsinki, Brussels or Minsk.

White then enthusiastically took over and wanted to ‘get straight on with the transfer news and James Cooper outside Manchester City’s training ground.’ Cooper told of a ‘day of mixed fortunes’ as City were denied a work permit in very odd circumstances for fantastically named Kenyan McDonald Maninga but expected to complete the signing of run-of-the-mill named Middlesbrough winger Adam Johnson. Cooper then kept us ‘up to speed’ with any movement from the other North West clubs and I realised that each reporter across the country would do this as well as the one whose training ground they were outside.

White, equally as enthusiastically then introduced David Craig from Sunderland’s training ground. Craig told us that Sunderland had signed Alan Hutton on loan and let Nyron Nosworty go to Sheffield United, also on loan. I have to confess at this point I was already quite bored by SSN’s coverage of deadline day and not even the news that Newcastle had signed Coventry’s Leon Best for an undisclosed fee could re-ignite my interest. The hype and excitement was becoming too much and I just wanted ‘facts.’ What’s happened, what hasn’t happened (a very big chunk of deadline day ‘news’) and what is likely to happen. You know facts! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of hype and you don’t need me to tell you Sky Sports’ brand of hype is the best in the business but I found the World Cup Finalesque build up to seeing a middle-aged man with a microphone stood in the cold outside a training ground a bit tiresome.

Much of the same was repeated for the remainder of Afternoon Report with different reporters looking largely bored outside different training grounds and not a great deal of breaking news to report. We got to see an interview with agent and ex City player Barry Silkman outside Upton Park. He tells us that while ‘today is very exciting for fans and press its very frustrating for players and agents who have to work within these deadlines.’ I was going to comment on the buckets of sympathy I hold for players, him and his colleagues suffering this plight of deadlines but instead decided that I should tell you I think Russell Brand would do a great impression of his high cockney tones if he hasn’t already given it a shot.

One of my favourite aspects of Sky Sports News is the 3 different sections of information on the screen that you can choose to pay attention to if the main news ‘story’ at that time isn’t capturing your imagination. I bring this up as around this time, the ticker (yellow bar, dead bottom of the screen) caught my attention with news that Hull’s Peter Halmosi had moved to Szombathelyi Haladas on loan until the end of the season. Now not much excites me more than a foreign football team whom I’ve never heard of before and after 1 extensive minute of googling I can confirm ‘Hali’ play in green and white in the Hungarian first division and last season was their best ever, finishing 3rd. I’m sure you’re as intrigued as I am as to whether this shrewd acquisition will be the final piece in the jigsaw to capture that first illusive Hungarian League Title.

Next we were told the English transfer window closes at 5:00 pm. We knew that, that was why I was watching with a view to blogging it. But..ahh, a graphic pops up that shows us the different times the transfer window closes in selected countries finishing with midnight in Scotland. ‘Its always good at midnight in Scotland’ White tells us’….its always good anytime’ he finishes. ‘Hahahaha’ adds Thomas. Adverts.

After the break we go to Pete Calley outside Birmingham’s training ground who gives us a round-up of in and out-going transfer news for the west midlands club that I cant be bothered repeating here. We go back to the studio and Taylor now tells us about some players ‘who definitely wont be coming to the premiership.’ Fortunately he stopped after Klaas Jan Huntellar and Mattieu Flamini as I expected this could’ve turned into quite a long feature.

Amazingly with such a host of nothing to report SSN diverted its attention away from deadline day action to give us some other sports stories from the day. Being news this caught my attention and I found out Peterborough had sacked their second manager in a few months and that Nigel Clough (allegedly) kicked Billy Davies in the ‘fracas that marred’ the end of the weekends East-Midlands derby.

The highlight of the remainder of the hour was Gary Cotterill’s bitchy ‘If Mido can show the kind of form and keep to the kind of waistline he was showing today’ while stood outside Upton Park and then we got to see Big Ben at 5:00 pm to signal the end of the transfer window. The introduction of the transfer windows and creation of SSN must’ve done wonders for Big Bens profile as they’ve allowed him to treble his live TV appearances each year. We were now past 5:00 pm and technically the blog should end here as this is firmly ‘Evening Report’ territory. However I think I should tell you much the same happened in this hour expect for the confirmation of Adam Johnson’s transfer to City and news broke of Robbie Keane’s impending loan move to ‘boyhood heroes’ Celtic, much to the bafflement of great mate and father Big Dave.

At 5:17 we had the breaking and non-transfer ‘news’ that England Manager Fabio Capello would take the decision over whether John Terry would remain as England Captain ‘in light of allegations regarding his private life.’ This obviously required a 5 minute interview with Sky’s chief football reporter Nick Collins who ‘wasn’t surprised’ as Capello is ‘his own man.’ I’ve got a few pages of notes to account for the next 45 minutes of Evening Report but I’d just be repeating the same anecdotes you’ve just read.

As I conclude this latest review I don’t like the picture I’ve painted of my relationship with Sky Sports News, we’re largely very happy together and I hope the feelings of love are mutual but as in all relations we have our ups and downs. This wasn’t our best day together but it is my duty to you to review TV Sports as I find them.

Happy Viewing fellow enthusiasts. Dave


Afternoon Report
Sky Sports News
Weekday Afternoons at 3pm.

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