#Announced - How Signings Changed Forever
(Posted on 31/01/18)
Transfer deadline day, the final day before squads are decided, panic buys are made and at times seasons are defined.
We’ve come a long way in football since what many consider it’s glory days with big money invading the game, Sky showing you every piece of action from every angle and the 24/7 football news cycle.
No longer do you open the paper to find out the latest gossip, the who’s going where’s and for how much, normally a ridiculous fee but what nowadays would be an absolute steal. We’ve not got Twitter, the home of the football rumour mill churning out more garbage than your by-weekly bin collection and that never ending yellow banner at the bottom of the Sky Sports News (or HQ, whatever they’re calling it now) screen - updating constantly and playing on a loop like a broken record.
Gone are the days where signings were just a part of the game, where a manager could manage the budget accordingly when liaising with his chairman. They had small squad and if they picked up an injury they could sign someone for the next game 365 days a year.
But since the transfer windows introduction it’s added excitement, constant speculation and approximately a 90% ‘fake news’ aspect to the game. TV executives rub their hands with glee as the approach to January 31st looms, and with the rise in ‘in-house’ media for football clubs, so do they.
Panic buying, overspending and often subsequent crippling debt (just look at the likes of Blackpool, Leeds United, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers) aside, it’s given us some iconic moments over the years and changed the game forever.
No longer do we see the old-school photo of the new signing accompanied by a raised shirt or scarf above their head, now a full Hollywood blockbuster budget is spent on the latest ‘brand’ in which that particular footballer has become.
We’ve seen it all from top to bottom, just this month Alexi Sanchez made the inevitable move from Arsenal to Manchester United – you’ll know all about this, nobody shut up about it for ages. In the most unsurprising announcement of the century, Sanchez was filmed playing ‘Glory Glory Man United’ on the piano, putting his shirt on and walking out arms raised to the patch of grass United call home. Oh, and don’t forget, whatever drivel hashtag the boffins in the media department came up with.
I sound heavily critical, and you’d be right. However, even I, a hardnosed non-league loving ‘it was better in the good old days’ bastard who would sooner watch a Combined Counties league match than head over to the Premier League, have to admit I’ve enjoyed some of them.
Wilfried Bony made an emotional return to Swansea City after years in limbo at Manchester City and a sub par spell with Stoke. Upon his signing for the Swans he was shot singing his old chant from his first stint at the Liberty, and even I felt a lump in my throat.
Most of these productions are big budget in England’s top tier, but for every good announcement there’s five bad one’s. The midlands had trouble getting to grips with it, John Terry’s Whatsapp messenger video was nothing short of horrific whilst Stoke announcing Josh Tymon, which saw him type a tweet to the club account asking them to announce someone, before panning out to him seemingly with a gun to his head unenthusiastically giving the thumbs up hardly took social media by storm.
Even non-league sides were at it, Oxford City signed a player in McDonalds using a pen stolen from Barclays Bank, and my own personal favourite from Macclesfield Town which parodied the famous cue card scene from ‘Love Actually’ where new striker Gime Toure’s message to fans (sadly not declaring his love for Keira Knightly) went down a treat.
We don’t see the scarf whipped out now for a new player in the building, maybe in five years they’ll announce a top player like it like they use to back in the day, it’ll be niche. But with the demand for their social channels to sky rocket, expect to see hundreds of repetitive, sometimes original and even less frequent funny videos in the future.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the transfer merry-go-round.
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