TWENTY cold reporters standing around outside training grounds and football stadia, waiting in vain for a story to literally turn up.
Wall-to-wall TV coverage of the same four stories, interspersed with pundits grasping for insight and social media pictures of dogs in yellow coats and League Two sides looking for their own 15 minutes of fame.
Welcome to Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News.
To say this transfer deadline day was anticlimactic would be an understatement. Birmingham City did very little business, but then again neither did anyone else.
It was as if the merry-go-round was turned off for the day with very little rumour let alone solid stories. Either football turned off its phones and fax machines or the hype finally ate itself.
Transfer deadline day has always been a part of the football calendar, but since the implementation of the transfer windows (or as FIFA calls them ‘registration periods’) in 2002 they have taken an added significance.
No longer do clubs have three-quarters of a season to bring in players to beef up their squad. These days they are limited to 12 weeks in the close season and four during the season (with the exception of the emergency loan window for teams below the Premier League) to make additions to their team.
With the advent of 24-hour rolling news coverage, transfer gossip and hype, we have now become staples of our news consumption.
Deadline day has become the pinnacle of that hype – fuelled by the last-minute nature of transfer dealings, those last few hours before the deadline passes have been in the past breathless occasions of rumour, counter-rumour and the odd inflatable toy being waved behind a reporter stood outside a training ground.
Yet most of the rumours failed to come off. While there have been some massive transfers concluded late on, in the main most of the stories fall like dominoes as players hang back from possible deals and club chairman balk at opening their chequebook too far.
While Sky are reporting news constantly, clubs have to deal with their fans demanding an explanation as to their silence.
Dave Bowler, who writes for the West Bromwich Albion programme, wrote a very eloquent piece on their official site talking about just how hard it was for the media department to sit on their hands during this process – but why it was absolutely essential that they do.
As Blues’ head of communications Colin Tattum announced around 9.20pm that there would not be any further deals being done by Blues in the window, I turned off Sky and read a book instead.
I missed the whole Jim White spectacle as the window ‘slammed shut’ – yet in truth I didn’t effectively miss any deals at all.
That is why in the summer I’m going to spend the next deadline day with the TV off, my mobile put away and the internet left at home.
Maybe if we all did that there would be a whole lot less hype around the day – and maybe we’d be happier for it?