Deadline Day Window Watch

HERE we go again with a 24 hour rolling news style service to take you right through to panic o’clock. And by 24 hour rolling news I mean passing on unsubstantiated tittle-tattle on a loop and occasionally offering some real concrete developments to be relayed on the official yellow scrolling ticker-tape.
So get the beers in the fridge (we’ll practice downing them in one Ashley style when it gets boring) get the Parmoteria’s number handy for later on and let’s go… but don’t expect much action from Boro. I know we like to usually take it right up to midnight and beyond but this one looks set to be quiet. We have quizzed Gareth repeatedly and at length and he insists straight-faced he is not doing business and unfortunately the NUJ code of conduct forbids us from trussing him up and administering a dose of CIA truth drug sodium pentathol although water-boarding is considered acceptable if deemed in the public interest.
But here’s a good rumour to start you off……..

Mido to Newcastle? Surely not! And, wait for it, not just that but in a straight swap for lip-balmed serial badge-kisser and confirmed non-goalscorer Alan Smith. Come on, you’re taking the Micky now. But no, our contact, a respected “insider” from Tyneside’s soccer soap HQ is swearing down dead it is a goer and that Newcastle are interested in being this year’s Mido panic buyers.
That’s got to be ridiculous. If he wants guaranteed first team football why go to a team where if (and yes, it is a very BIG if) everyone is fit then he would be behind Owen, Martins, Viduka and who knows, maybe Shola Ameobi as well. Wigan makes some sense. But Newcastle? And given the Mapgpies creaking treatment tables can they really afford to add another striker with an injury record as bad as Head Over Heels.
Besides, Boro have spent two years engaged in a scorched Earth policy on the wage bill and successfully trimmed it in line with a prudent approach to the credit crunch so why would we go for a player who snubbed us a year ago and who is on a reputed £60k a week? It doesn’t make sense. Do Newcastle now think the outside world is adopting their own mindset? Anyway, Mido owes us at least one good season of slim-line striking action. Three in three is a good start but the big fella is a year behind on the payback and we couldn’t let him go now without having a ready made replacement lined up.
On the subject of Mido, a digression: the story seeped out today about the gaffer stepping in at the last minute to press the flesh in the Riverside Suite after the striker snubbing the sponsors and failed to do his stint on the post-match meet and greet. The lads in the hot and airless press room were left simmering gently for an hour after the Stoke game before the boss appeared.
“As well as fulfilling his duties as manager on Saturday, Gareth Southgate was also a substitute,” said the Times. “Not as a player – that era has passed – but as a late stand-in at a corporate function at the Riverside Stadium that Mido, his striker, refused to attend. Middlesbrough may have had their best start to a league season for nine years, but harmony remains a fragile concept.”
The Independent added: “I had to fill in for someone who didn’t do the hospitality,” Southgate said, explaining his lateness. Once it became clear who this was, he said: “He’s a very emotional lad and he wants to play. He obviously feels that, having scored three goals in three games, he deserves the right to start.
“He’ll get his opportunity to start very soon. He’s made his case and his attitude has been excellent. He tries very hard to disguise his feelings. But we love him to bits, he makes things happen on the field and you have to accept that all the characters in your team are very different.”
They certainly are. It was the second time that I left to stew after the game because a player wouldn’t do his bit on the PR side. Down in the tunnel Robert Huth had been pencilled in to talk to the Gazette and the club website but he was another no-show. He had already declined to talk to Radio Tees – who had made him man of the match – as he left the pitch. Ever helpful Emanuel Pogatetz, always a willing talker, stepped in and joked “I am here to impersonate Robert although I am not so sure I can do the accent.” As always he talked eloquently with pride and passion and from within an engaging bubble of friendly sincerity. He is a pleasure to deal with – but he can’t be expected to do it every week.
It raises the question as to whether the players should be compelled to talk to the media as a normal part of their working day. It’s not hard is it? Five minutes outside the changies answering easy questions with a safe bat. It is not some sleazy tabloid sting. It is all easy PR for the club. I always think of it not as talking to me but talking to you . The Gazette is the most direct route to 200,000 Teessiders and almost ALL the season ticket holders, the people that ultimately pay their wages and elevate them to heroes. If players can’t be bothered to talk to them via the local paper what signals does that send out? And how can you discipline millionaires over something they see as completely trivial? Anyway, whinge over….
Meanwhile from the twilight zone of text pranksters making merry at tax payers expense, the hugely entertaining BBC on-line interactive deadline day free for all comes a bizarre Boro-related non-starter as a mischevious reader claims: “I have just seen Hamilton Ricard arrive at the KC Stadium. Looks like we won’t be getting Frazier Campbell but at least Ricard has plenty of experience.” Yes, Premiership experience plus he will slot straight in as a younger pair of legs alongside former Boro strike partner Dean Windass.
Last week’s big buzz was over a secret late move for American midfielder Michael Bradley. A selection of taxi-driver deffos and Lambie’s best mate’s daughter’s hairdresser’s cousins’ confirmations suggested he was lurking on Teesside pending the red tape bing thrashed out and it was whispered on Tuesday that he was at the Riverside waiting to be unveiled Alves style to the camera wielding restaurant diners. Alas, that too seems a non-starter as he is now poised for a move to big name side Borussia Monchengladbach.
No news on a keeper. There had been hints last week that with Brad Jones having dislocated his finger that Boro may bring an experienced journeyman shot-stopper just in case but since then David Schwimmer’s Aussie doppleganger has returned to training so the sense of urgency has eased. Former Boro second string shot-stopper Carlo Nash has been “spotted” on Merseyside by the Beeb’s text-telltales and linked with Everton or he may well have done the job. Where’s Mark Crossley these days?
6pm… no ins but one temporary out: Jonathan Grounds has gone to Norwich on loan. Boro have used loans very effectively in recent years starting with the taste of first team action that Stewie Downing got at Sunderland and they are now the norm as Academy graduates are blooded in the big league ready for the Riverside. Two years ago David Wheater had a productive spell at Darlington, Josh Walker scored against Bayern in a successful spell at Aberdeen and Adam Johnson was elected mayor of Watford after his three month stint there last season.
One rumour that wouldn’t go away finally shuffles off sheepishly muttering as Albert Reira finally rushes through a medical and signs at Liverpool to fill a Stewie shaped hole on the left. Door slammed shut on that one then. How I look forward to the Stewie for City rumours in January.
Manchester City rush through the signing of yet another money-no-object billionaire boardroom sugar daddy as Thaksinatra bails out before the extradition papers arrive and the Abu Dhabi United Group complete a buyout before launching on a desperate transfer window trolley dash. Their name and the fact at they immediately make the long expected £30m plus North-west bid for Red Devil-in-waiting Dimitar Berbatov increases suspicions that they have bought the wrong Manchester club.
City have gone mental: as well as Berbatov they have gone on a buy, buy, buy charge down the Mexican foods aisle and are said to have have thrown Pancho Villa, Mario Gomes, Emile Zapata and Subcomandate Marcos in the trolley. Robinho has been mentioned too. It looks like they have no intention of being in the ‘ten items or fewer’ queue come midnight.
Hilariously – and in an object lesson of the crazy nature of the market and the dangers of having money burning a hole in your pocket – Sunderland appear to have shelled out almost £6m to buy back the very same average defender George McCartney that they sold to West Ham for £1m two years ago, presumably to reunite him with £8m Anton Ferdinand and help recreate the famous Hammers defence that was so notoriously, er, watertight last season.
7pm…. The Beeb interactive service turns off the idiot filter and a delusional text gets through: “Ooh, just heard a good rumour (twice) that Spurs want Middlesbrough defender David Wheater. Some dude just texted in to say Spurs have offered £7m plus Michael Dawson, which seems a bit steep to me.”
I think he has either slipped while texting and missed the ‘1’ that goes before the ‘7’ in the fee or misheard the name of the Spurs player being offered in part-ex and it should be Berbatov.
A bit dull Boro wise but if the conspiracists want something to get their teeth into they should consider that if Berbatov goes to Manchester United/City then Spurs need a striker and Emile Heskey is among the candidates which would leave a vacancy at Wigan. And one at Boro too. That said, Mido is en route to play Congo with Egypt so it will take some doing to get him back to the JJB for a medical.
8pm… a quick trip in the car brings babbling fools spouting wild-eyed nonsense only vaguely on nodding terms with reality on the radio. No, not the Three Legends… it is delirious Man City fans trumpeting their imminent cash-fuelled return to glory backed by the new front line of Berbatov and Robinho, impervious to the wave of new dawns that have washed over the club with tidal frequency over recent decades and showing admirable ability to forget the events of just 12 months ago when the last White Knight rode into town pledging to slay the red devil that has devoured their club.
Over on the notoriously mischievous but usually obsessively well informed Fly Me To The Moon board there’s a commendable attempt to whip up some Boro interest as we head into the late shift with a suggestion that Teesside Airport has cleared the decks ready for some late night private charter action. Oh, exciting isn’t it? The Fly Me/airport connection has paid off in the past with an exclusive that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was in town, probably the last big Boro transfer that genuinely sneaked under the media radar.
9pm… the Berbatov saga is crazy. How funny would it be if he passes the United medical and agrees terms but then Spurs don’t accept their bid but then it is too late to do the City deal? Could Spurs then sue United for the loss of business and a de facto illegal approach. It can’t really be more blatant than giving a medical to a player you have been denied permission to speak to can it? Unless they are sticking to the letter of the law and doing the whole deal through the medium of mime (hmmmm, imagines the Chuckle Brothers Fergie and Berba with the No 7 slap on and doing that stuck in an invisible cube routine….)
10pm… back on SSN after watching Dragons Den and nothing has happened. Poor David Craig, after all that gripping action the last few times he is sat kicking his heels and hoping for Newcastle to unload Joey Barton or Little Micky. Elsewhere, Berbatov is still on the ring road waiting for either Fergie or the Spurs money men to blink. “Jaunde, let me tell you where I am, I like the boy but I’m not sure where you get your valuation from and I’m not sure if I would get a return on my investment and for those reasons, I’m out.”
Has anyone touched down at Teesside airport yet? Does James Harper even have a private jet? The outside bets for Boro activity are falling fast: a Reading source has sent a text to Sky Sports News saying there will be no movement at all there either in or out so Harper is a non-starter while ‘have gloves, will travel’ merchant Carlo Nash has signed for Everton as cover for Tim Howard.
Joey Barton – linked with Portsmouth, Everton and Scottish giants Barlinnie – sends in a text to say he is staying at Newcastle because they have stood by him and owes them a debt of gratitude. Besides, with a 13 game ban coming his way any time now demand is low. Best stay put until January. And Michael Owen wasn’t sold putting him firmly in the driving seat: if he turns down a new deal he can talk to club sin January and leave on a ‘Viduka’ next summer.
Sky Sports are broadcasting footage of Berbatov inside Old Trafford talking to David Gill and Fergie. Have Spurs given him permission to talk to them yet? They’ll have to get a move on if United want to thrash out what would no doubt be a complex deal and get him through a medical in time won’t they? After being filmed shaking hands and chewing the fat razor sharp Gill turns on the telly and seeing himself on the box belatedly decides to shut the blinds while City, in a huff after losing out on the sulky Bulgarian embark on a bit of retail therapy and instead agree a £32m deal to sign Chelsea target Robinho.
11pm… come on Lambie, get your act together. What about the pledge to entertain this year? Text in and tell them that Kerlon and Wagner Love are just coming through passport control in a £22m double deal. Get Boro on the box. Where’s the ambition? What about pulling a Stephen Appiah out of your hat just to give our brand a presence on a big night for profile building and reckless spending?
Madrid have confirmed that Robinho has signed for false dawn specialists Man City in a £32m deal. “He has been crying every time I asked him about it,” said president Ramon Calderon… oh ho. You know that phrase about signing in haste and repenting at leisure? He hasn’t visited the ground, he hasn’t met the boss, he hasn’t had a medical, he hasn’t seen Richard Dunne try to trap a ball… this is Football Manager deal concluded in a rush “for human reasons” – human reasons being a broad brush stroke that covers a multitude of sins: pique, jealousy, anger, penis envy…. he will be misquoted by January, sulking through the run in and at Chelsea for next term.
The Beeb window watch site has Newcastle getting twitchy with reputed last gasp bids of £2m for Giles Barnes of Derby and £2.5 for Matt Kilgallon of Sheffield United in an audacious attempt to top George McCartney as the North-east’s biggest buy of the day.
12 midnight… SLAM. That’s your lot. It has been strange to not be involved but quite funny watching some of the other clubs waste silly money hand over fist. No bombshell departures, no late bids for Downing and despite the bluster no bids for Mido. I’m a bit concerned maybe that we didn’t get a keeper in but hey, free agents can sign at any time so that particular crack can always be papered over later if need be. Now, I’ve got my own deadline to be in bed so I’m out of here.

28 thoughts on “Deadline Day Window Watch

  1. Just spent about half an hour watching Sky Sports News and the main headlines were to do with the Man City takeover by Abu Dhabi Investments as a result of which they have just lodged a £32 million bid for Berbatov.
    They interviewed some bloke with an inside track on this lot and he is adamant they will blow Abramovich out of the water financially and will spend whatever it takes to win the league as money is no object.
    You can imagine the excitement on the presenters faces as this was all unravelling but I just felt quite sad that this great game and sport has been reduced to this.If 18 clubs have to run as businesses but two simply have a bottomless pit of money then really it turns a sporting competition into a distorted joke.
    **AV writes: I think that particular horse bolted long ago.

  2. So are you saying that Man u have not made an acceptable offer or that he was mean’t to be at city and was hijacked Vic?
    **AV writes: Spurs appear not to have either accepted a United bid or given them permission to speak to Berbatov. Very strange. Presumably United hope that if he says it is United or nowhere with midnight looming then Spurs will have no choice but to accept, possibly at a price far lower than the £30m City offer they have officially accepted. Is there a lawyer in the house?

  3. Typical mancs, but thy have gone too far. And they have the nerve to have a go at Real and Chelsea about their conduct.
    As much as I don’t like the cockneys, can you imagine if Man U or Liverpool for that matter had dragged Stewy or Wheater to the ground, agreed terms and put him through an exhaustive medical Gibbo would be fuming as I’m sure Levy will be.
    I hope they take the Mancs to the cleaners, but I guess its just symptomatic of the game today, and no doubt they’ll get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. Scandalous.

  4. Ok it’s not xmas but feels like it 😉 My wish list Al-habib and Bullard……gotta go sleep as i am a few hours ahead ….uffff

  5. It’s boring without our traditional five to midnight panic buy. Where’s Ricketts, Ricadinho and Euell when you need them?
    Southgate’s messed up a good boozy night in watching the telly by doing all his business early. Typical Boro!

  6. See, Boro can get ugly in the transfer window too. Forget the lack of entertainment, look at the results: no panic buys, no donkeys on big money that will be crocked before the week is out.

  7. So Anarchy is prevailing in the world of English football – players no longer regard a contract as anything meaningful, clubs no longer wait for permission to talk to a player and the billionaire owners throw money until nobody complains.
    Who’s responsible for ensuring the rules are obeyed? FIFA, UEFA, The FA or The Premier League? Or has the old adage ‘money talks’ become ‘money shuts everybody up’ – only point deductions can bring these clubs into check as ‘deep pockets’ know no limits.
    I can only imagine what will happen in the January transfer window as the billionaires look to settle scores and strengthen their positions as they squabble over the Champions League positions.
    What hope for any club outside the elite who are suffering under the credit crunch to hang onto any player coveted by these silly men with unfeasibly deep pockets full of silly money.
    Steve Gibson may as well take up pole dancing and practice looking coy as the smug and smirking billionaires stuff wads of cash down his Riverside chest until he relents and offers his youthful treasures to the highest bidder.
    Come on Boro let’s keep up our new freedom of expression start to the season and become the alternative to this success through any means – maybe we have only one shot at making the top 6 before the top eight places become bolted on.

  8. Boro are an island of sanity in a sea of madness.
    I’m glad we didn’t pay £5m for Harper or £6m for Bradley or silly money for someone like Pennant who would push Johnno one more down the pecking order even though they are not as good.
    Look at some of the moves – George McCartney back at Sunderland for £6m. Is he six times better now? Haha. Anton Ferdinand for £8m? haha. Neither would get in our team. It is all completely mad. Proper mental.
    I’m happy with what we’ve got, happy with the manager and the chairman and the way he sees tthings. I’m happy with letting the likes of Johnno, Emnes, Walker and Williams cover for injuries.
    I’m happy to pick up one or two quality players on the cheap in January once they get fed up that City, Spurs and Newcastle bring in even more over-priced foreigners for the hell of it (poor SWP has moved from the old Chelsea to the new Chelsea and will be back on the bench by the end of the season)
    I’d still like a keeper mind.

  9. Football has gone mad. Once a team out bids Roman Abramovich for a player and Man U can hijack a deal and make it a condition of handing over the cheque that Spurs don’t take action over tapping up then you know it is complete anarchy.
    When the music stops those clubs that have over spent will be in big trouble. The really big clubs will be OK because they make millions on the gate every week and get CL money but the likes of Villa, Newcastle, Spurs and West Ham have got to be vulnerable. All in the middle of a massive looming recession that will see people stop paying for tickets and cancelling the Sky Sports.
    It is at times like this you have got to pay respect to Gibbo. He saw it coming and has spent the last few years trimming wages, changing the structure, changing the startegy to bring in young hungry players with a resale value and insulating the club from the meltdown that is coming. Smart fella.
    We are building a model club here. I am very proud of the sanity of what we are doing.

  10. Looks like Keegan is about to walk out on the Mags again – I guess he realises unless Ashley suddenly strikes oil or that the billionaires from the middle east start downing pints until they are unfit and proper to run a football club – his chances of success at Newcastle are virtually nil.
    At least the Geordies may be able to fight their way out of trouble with Dennis Wise as manager and Joey Barton as his leader on the pitch – before being taken over by the Bin Laden family!

  11. Good shout BLT, Gibbo clearly made the right decisions when he could easily have been tempted to do a Peter Ridsdale and gamble the club.
    However with Man City clearly going to make it a “Big 5”, that means that at least one of those teams are going to miss out on Champions league every season. This may have 2 consequences –
    1/ the power base is broken and the guaranteed Champions league money disappears. This may bring about a more level playing field for everyone else and eventually there is competition every year for 2 or 3 of the top four spots; or
    2/ The power base is broken and the guaranteed champions league money disappears. The big boys don’t like that and suddenly, the champions league undergoes a radical change where a fifth placed team can pick up a qualifying spot at the expense of a team that were champions of their own league.
    A couple of years later, the CL changes again, as it hardly seems fair to deny the 6th placed team entry and whilst we are at it, may as well make it the top 10 from Spain, England and Italy and 34 other ‘invited’ teams from around europe. Everyone else can play in their own league, then attempt to win promotion to the european league.
    This is how it will happen, the 39th game thing is just a sideshow. As i said earlier, Gibbo is right not to splash the cash excessively now, because there is no need to. As long as we finish top ten each year, we will be invited into the new european league when it eventually kicks off.

  12. Surveying the madness and carnage of the last 48 hours has emphasised to me why i have the utmost respect for Gibbo and why i have always been very proud to support my home town team
    Gibbo – ONE OF US.

  13. Its sad that Keegan has left Newcastle IMO. He is a decent bloke who has been undermined by one of the new breed of clueless owners that are ruining our game.
    Nowt to laugh it my opinion because this whole affair shows how near football is to becoming ruined by these half witted glory hunting moguls.

  14. I have just heard Fat Freddie Shepherd on Sky Sports TV and he said something very interesting. Other than praising Keegan , their new signings etc he said that Keegan is a smashing bloke who sometimes lets his principles get in the way of his job.
    This sounds to me like Keegan has been given the boot because of him sticking up for Joey Barton which he already has done on the TV.
    I think Keegan has caused his own demise here by supporting Barton and maybe Ashley isn’t the baddie he is portrayed to be.
    Whaddya think???

  15. Oh how it must be wonderful to be a Man City fan, one minute thinking about signing Bellamy, next minute a huge takeover and signing Robinho, how exciting.
    I can’t believe some of the comments posted here. Glad that we did not get involved in the turmoil? That is what supporting a club is all about. Signing exciting players. Just think where we will be at the end of the season, not where we are now, thats for sure. Plus we can forget the Carling cup now.

  16. Sounds like the Man city revenge for berbatov has started…. owners say they are thinking of a £135 million bid for Ronaldo in January. That should put the shakes through the Man u supporters. They may even do a sunderland and buy the whole team…lol.
    I know the Glaziers were gonna turn down £80 million but £135? I can see Ronaldo tomorrow on sky sports saying he wants to go to the new biggest team… plus he can stay in the same house…..funny

  17. I have to admit a certain sympathy for mags fans, they have had more false dawns than Man City!
    but now that sympathy has worn off I will allow myself a snigger

  18. Well lets hope the “Big Clubs” don’t face the future looking backwards, just ask any Notts Forest or Leeds fans. Most Man City fans are astute enough to have learnt how they started last season with Thaksin Sinatra and Svengali and “loads of money” only to see it “burn out” at the Riverside 8-1.
    Abu Dhabi style fixes don’t last forever (just ask any Barcode fan tonight). When the Russians, Arabs and Yanks get bored and find another toy to play with what’s going to happen to their clubs (remember when Liverpool used to be invincible and the model of integrity of a football club). Arsenal have woken up and smelt the roses just in time, lets sit back and watch the others implode.
    Well done SG (and GS) for having foresight and vision and ensuring that Middlesbrough will have a Premiership club now and in the future.

  19. So there is a new bully in the Premier League school playground in the shape of Manchester City.This new kid is already picking on some of the other kids threatening to take their favorite sweets away from them at half term!
    What chance have any of us infants standing up to the new bully boy on the block?Well we cant fight them toe to toe but maybe theres another way thats already being put into practice.
    Seriously though the money being put into Man City and some of the other teams is making it ever harder for clubs like Boro to compete but we do seem to be applying a good new strategy in concentrating on bringing in young up an coming players with a good chance of selling on at a profit,add to that the stream of quality academy players we seem to have, maybe trying to keep up with the Jones,s wont be such a priority anymore
    You do wonder what might happen to some of these clubs if their sugar daddies suddenly fancy a new toy to play with.
    I wonder what Abramovich is thinking now? If Chelsea and Man City fancy the same player City now have the power to out bid even Chelski,will he be the first to pull the rug from under the their feet.
    I think it could all end in tears and bullies very often do get their come uppence!

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