It’s Only a Game - Keep your Shakespeare, I want the drama of transfer deadline day...

Only A Game.
Only A Game.
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William Shakespeare would have done well to write a play quite as exciting and as farcical as what ensued in the hours before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.

The drama would have rivalled the wonderful King Lear and the hilarity was surely on par with As You Like It or The Comedy of Errors.

At one stage Sky Sports News reported on Twitter that Jermaine Beckford had joined Leicester City from Leeds United. Now, whilst Leeds United would be more than happy to accept £4million for a player that left the club two years ago, I think that Everton boss David Moyes would certainly have something to say about it. The error was quickly corrected and Everton were accredited as the selling club. I was in stitches.

As the poor sports reporters tried to keep all and sundry up to date with last minute transfers it appeared that it was to the detriment of the facts.

I remember thinking, what would be reported next? Paul Ince back to Liverpool? Brian Deane to Sheffield United? Liam Coyle to Newcastle? Surely not.

One BBC journalist equated the drama experienced by sports writers on transfer deadline day to that of the buzz felt by news hacks covering a general election. It’s a tenuous analogy to say the least and although I don’t doubt the work and effort that’s put in, transfer deadline day simply a few hours of rumour, conjecture and utter disappointment.

If you read this column, then you’ll know that as a point of principle I don’t have a Sky subscription. But I have to admit that a part of me felt that I was missing on what sounded like the minute by minute nervous breakdown of Sky Sports News presenter Jim White.

White’s enthusiasm and excitement evoked images of what it would be like if you were to feed Jeremy Paxman caffeine tablets by the bucket load during the BBC’s general election coverage.

If like me you followed the transfer saga online then you’ll know that unaccredited reports of certain players joining certain clubs came thick and fast and were almost impossible to keep up with.

Some football fans became citizen journalists and tried to keep the rest of us abreast with what was happening whilst others decided to wreak havoc by suggesting that Mario Balotelli had joined Shrewsbury Town, Messi was on his way to Manchester City for £100million or Rohan Ricketts had signed for Shamrock Rovers - er, sorry, that last one actually did happen.

Although delighted that they had signed the 28 year-old former Spurs player Shamrock Rovers were lift a bit red faced when they were forced to acknowledge on Twitter that Ricketts had more ‘followers’ on the social networking site than his new club - at least they were still seeing the funny side.

Trying to predict what will happen on transfer deadline day is a bit like trying to foretell where each drop of rain will fall during a downpour. Despite transfer deadline day’s seductive nature, you soon realise that the rumours are more exciting than what actually happens.

Two hours before the 11p.m. deadline a rumour surfaced linking Real Madrid’s Kaka with a move to Spurs. No sooner had it captured the imagination of every football fan in Ireland and England than it had been denied by Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

Transfer deadline day promises so much and with the exception of a handful of last minute moves, it usually delivers so little. You know it’s a sad state of affairs when everyone is hanging their hat on Mikel Arteta’s move from Everton to Arsenal.

Arteta’s move to Arsenal is the equivalent of booking a last minute holiday to a place that, up until now, you never had any desire to visit. Trips to Spain [Fabregas] and France [Nasri] have fallen through and the only option your left with is a last minute trip to Glasgow [Arteta]. Best to make the most of it.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wouldn’t have looked near a player like Arteta two years ago and I think that his move away from Everton says so much about how far the Gunners have regressed.

While I don’t mean to or indeed like to single Arsenal out for criticism but as much as I enjoy the drama, or lack thereof, of transfer deadline day I think the Mikel Arteta shows how much of an anticlimax the whole day was.

The window was slammed shut late on Wednesday evening and won’t reopen until January - just imagine the smell!