Remember when Transfer Deadline Day used to be exciting? Remember keeping browser tabs and mobile notifications on to see if your club did anything big? Remember the pranks? Remember fun? Remember laughter?
Today’s the end of the winter transfer window for the season. January isn’t usually a blockbuster period as far as player moves are concerned. While there are some notable exceptions— Luis Suárez signing for Liverpool jumps immediately to mind— business done in the month are usually to plug holes, offload problem players, or make Hail Mary attempts to save a season. For the most part, buyers in January tend to be relegation bait desperate to find someone, anyone, who could save them from the drop. This leads to inflated transfer fees for players who either aren’t that good or have a lot of baggage. (Or if you’re Emmanuel Adebayor, both!)
Yet even January’s deadline day used to be fun. There were enough noteworthy deals and juicy rumors to keep fans checking in on their news outlet of choice, the jokes and pranks from teams were often delightful, and Soccer Twitter was full of lively repartee. Plus, you know, there’s this. And this.
But this year? It’s pretty meh.
Earlier today, nonleague side Barton Rovers took to Twitter to announce their new big Deadline Day acquisition: a rake.
So that's pretty cute, right? Not exactly a classic of the genre, but as club PR jokes that poke fun at the absurdity of Deadline Day goes, it does the job.
What's sad is that this is probably the best we can do this year. It's probably the best Deadline Day joke anyone's going to manage and, counting deals and rumors, probably the best entertainment value we're going to get out of this day. It doesn't help— or maybe it does— that today kicks off a midweek round of Premier League games that are cutting into the Deadline Day news cycle. Liverpool vs Chelsea is probably a much bigger deal today than, say, Sunderland poaching a pair of Everton players because David Moyes is indeed a parody of himself.
It all points to a conclusion that we explored as recently as last August— Transfer Deadline Day kinda sucks.
How did we get to this point? Was it media saturation? Did we all just come to recognize that Deadline Day is one big joke and it's not really that funny anymore? Are we all just distracted by real life troubles It's hard to say. But once upon a time, Deadline Day (both summer and January) was a highlight of the season, and it's really not anymore. It's something we have to slog through, scrolling past all the fake rumors and lame “banter” online and hoping our club doesn't offload anyone we like.
Anticipation has always been a major part of Deadline Day's appeal. The thrill of not knowing what might happen by the end of the day. The thrill has diminished somewhat, but that's not even the worst part. No, the worst part is the thought that the anticipation, muted though it may be, is all we have left.