Sport

January transfer window a cold house for top quality signings as Sky Sports fights a losing battle

Harry Redknapp is sorely missed from the open car window scene in the transfer window
Kevin Farrell

TRANSFER Deadline Day, as brought to you live and exclusively by Sky Sports, is on the brink of a permanent switch to Atletico Minus Craic Altogether, according to sources very close to Dodgy's bored senseless remote control.

Jim White's pristine yellow, mixed acrylic tie was still firmly in situ on Thursday for the latest January instalment, punching in a seriously underpaid shift for the umpteenth year on the spin.

It's understood any clothing item from Whitey's chest upward that can put up with its blaring master piping perpetual blah about deals which look like happening, but mightn't happen, before not actually happening, because they were never gonna happen, arguably deserves a smidgen of respect and a pay rise in line with inflation and hype.

Hayley McQueen is still wedged in there too at a time when other good co-anchors have long since headed for the hills – according to our men slowly dying of stage four hypothermia and chronic catatonia in deserted car parks very close to the hills. We will remember them all to a man when they're gone.

Yet when it comes to fighting the good fight with complementary yellowed accessories in the cosy cockpit and always keeping the Tao slightly more real at the home of football news/panic-buying voyeurism, the boul' Hayley is quite simply beyond compare.

Whether Whitey is losing his Glesgey ‘ess hayche one tee' over a 500 grand deal for a League Two onion who couldn't score furniture with two Stanley knives and a set of keys or a 20 mill swoop for a bloke who couldn't kick back doors in a big door store's January sale, McQueen always brings the yang.

Out comes the trusty 100ml bottle of Zen to restore a bit of well-timed chill to the whole shebang, just like her da Gordon used to do back in the day very, very occasionally.

That said, gone it seems are those halcyon days when this gig could have been anything it wanted to be, a bit like Bugsy Malone and his pie-firing acquaintances only slightly less family-friendly.

Deadline Day's beauty always hung on the sheer unpredictability that arose from letting unhinged rubber-neckers sit touch tight on reporters' shoulders.

Who can forget the infamous night when unflappable Alan Irwin had a behemothic midnight blue sex toy shoved into his humble left eardrum and rubbed around his smallish stoic head by an Everton fan at Finch Farm while trying to cover Tom Cleverly's move from Old Trafford to the Toffees?

That particular transfer, in fairness, was never going to end well after that bizarre pinnacle/nadir.

And what about that bobbing blow-up doll at Crystal Palace fronting the raucous chants of ‘We f***ing hate Sky Sports'?

Or the colony of Liverpool scallys risking life and limb by jointly holding a blazing polyester Torres shirt above their empty heads la?

Or West Brom's Peter Odemwingie ripping up the M40 like the Stig-cum-Meatloaf to sign autographs outside Loftus Road... before being denied entry through the QPR gates because he'd jumped the gun like a bat out of hell and believed the rumour mill?

Odemwingie clearly didn't receive the memo that day or any day, with respect.

Unless 'Arry Redknapp was in a walnut-trimmed Range Rover or similar at QPR's gates with one hand on the steering wheel, one elbow out the driver's window and avoiding eye contact with anything that moved in the hood, there was no mission of any deal going down. Ever.

Thursday's [transfer] window, in comparison with those good old days, was tamer than Tigger with ten nagging toothaches.

The clampdown on fan involvement by the Sky Sports fun police has just lifted everyone's ball, while it soon became clear that nobody who was anybody anymore was actually going to be upping sticks. Brexit's fault at the end of the day, if you ask Dodgy.

Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea to Crystal Palace on loan was so underwhelming that no-one could reach agreement all day on how to pronounce Michy's surname before he has even met Roy Hodgson.

Crouchy kicking a ball at a toy robot to announce his switch from Stoke to Burnley was soooo 2006 and/or a clunky insult to Question of Sport's Mystery Guest round.

Newcastle buying a man from Atlanta who they will surely sell next January at a fraction of the mothballed 21 mill Mike Ashley coughed up was the height of it.

The early entertainment came in the form of wondering who would be the first reporter ever to morph into a snowman with a microphone for a neb as the polar vortex went ballistic from London to Tyneside.

It was so treacherous at one point that a fancy one-man tent thingy for a TV cameraman outside Molineux almost blew away at breakneck speed on a Bosman/free – the type of signing 'Arry would have been all over like a rash in his pre-jungle heyday.

With Alan ‘Smudger' Smith proving to be as exciting as yellow snow, it was left to fellow guest analyst Sam Allardyce to try to save the day singlehandedly.

Whether it was fronting the race for the team pizzas at tea-time or blaming the transfer tumbleweed on profiteering foreign owners coming over here and buying up all our clubs, Big Sam was just Big Sam personified.

Charlie Nicholas getting his kiss curl and ear-rings into a knot over Arsenal's inability to sign a defender was another shaft of light on a tight enough day at the coal face. There was then plenty of talk of deal sheets, whatever they are, time running out and Spurs becoming the first club ever to not spend their communion money two Januarys in-a-row.

Thoughts and prayers soon went out to petrified reporter Jamie Weir who, on his birthday of all days, was left looking like something out of The Revenant having stood around for centuries at Craven Cottage.

They gave him a cake and a scarf, but as midnight came and went, he revealed that the transfer of Senegalese full-back Youssouf Sabaly to Fulham was NOW OFF because Bordeaux weren't lifting their phone, answering their emails or returning frantic faxes/pigeons.

Dodgy's willdest guess is that Youssouf was watching telly with a goblet or two of nice Bordeaux, saw the icy blast and the shivering nick of Jamie Weir before snipping every single last wire, lead and pigeon wing he could find in and around the south of France.

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