Monday, 31 January 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, football is floating in space


That was fucking nuts, right?

Multi-billionaires trading multi-millionaires in deals that can genuinely be described as shocking. By the end of the evening Sky Sports' Jim White, the David Dimbleby of the transfer window, had nowhere to go. He'd reached the limit of his hyperbolic register. I thought he'd give up and have a Hindenburg moment; just breakdown sobbing 'The humanity, oh the humanity...'

Football has cut all remaining ties with the real world. It has drifted off into its own ludicrous orbit. It's had to, because in the real world none of this makes sense and much of it is kind of unpalatable. Planet Football had to be created to house the madness.

At the heart of the darkness, of course, are Chelsea.

They started it, and they've made the final push over the line between between 'Gosh, that's a lot of money' and 'Oh do fuck the fuck off'.

They've had help, of course, especially from Man City. The noisy neighbour's spending spree did two things for Chelsea. It meant that someone else could share the blame and take the heat. And it gave them a target to point at and go 'You thought we were bad!'

And then they spent £75m in about 10 minutes. Their record signing now comes in at three times our biggest buy.

All this after a lot of guff about 'doing it properly'.

They'll argue that they did, for a bit. The last few years have seen pretty negligible net outlay and last year they did the double. Admirable.

Bollocks. What actually happened is that a few years ago they spent hundreds of millions on a set of players who in 09/10 managed a last hoorah. There's no kudos to be had from not buying £20m and £30m players when you have a load of them playing perfectly well and winning you things.

Now they're fading fast. Now they need replacing. Now's the time to 'do it properly'. But instead they've smashed the British transfer record. Again. They've reverted to type.

And they've skewed everything. A week ago, £20m seemed like a lot of money, but after the Torres deal, as a direct result of the deal, Liverpool paid £36m for him. Because they felt they had to and because they could.

One of the low points of yesterday's media circle jerk was hearing a Sun journalist reveal that Chelsea players had been texting him, 'Chelsea are back! Chelsea are back!'. Or probably 'R', I guess. And probably 'Chellsee', the fucking morons.

And where does all this leave little old us? Well we didn't miss the boat, we missed the space ship. We're still earth bound. And I'm not mad at us, with Levy or with Redknapp (although that last minute dart for Charlie Adam was embarrassing. We missed out by three minutes?! What were we doing, boiling an egg?). We've assembled a good squad, paid decent money for some of them and all of them are well rewarded. It's fine.

And our squad has a correlation to who we are, to what we earn as a club and to our standing in the game. A correlation to the real world, in fact, to what the real world considers to be just about the right (still fucking loads, but just about right) amount of money to pay for and to that set of footballers. It's not outer space money.

And just to address the usual comeback: yes, it probably would be quite exciting if it happened to us. I probably would have quite a nice night after we clinched the Premier League, thanks very much. But I'd still think the same about it - I'd just be thinking it with a drunken grin on my face rather than a bitter scowl.

Also, no one's saying Chelsea, Man City or whoever can't do this. Or that if we signed Lionel Messi for £200m it wouldn't be the most exciting day in our Spurs supporting lives.

But today this all feels wrong. And properly mad. And, yes, far, far away from the real world.

As Steve Claridge said on Five Live earlier:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity, Chappers.

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