The vast majority of chatter about Newcastle United transfers every summer can be categorised one of three ways:
Rumours – Newcastle are (not) chasing player X
Complaints – Why haven’t Newcastle signed anyone?
Placation – Stop being impatient, signings will come
The rumours are part and parcel of football and have been since Andy McCombie mentioned he liked pan haggerty more than panaculty (one for the great granddads there).
Most of us just dismiss the names that are thrown in the pot and no one takes any of it seriously. At least not until someone respectable confirms there’s something more to it, or (more reasonably) until there’s a picture of the player holding up a shirt.
Sky Sports and their partner Sky Bet have taken to an art form the generation of rumours that drive a gambling market to extract cash from the wallets of their viewers. It’s a racket so simple and transparent you’d almost admire the audacity of it, if the lack of regulation wasn’t so dismaying. This factor has skewed the rumour mill beyond all reason and only full time content creators will bother to keep up with it all and even then, most don’t bother.
As for people complaining, maybe I read and talk to a different sort of person in my bubble but I rarely see much of it. I’m told there are lots of complainers and something must trigger the placators.
For me though, most seem to have a sensible view of how the transfer window will play out, with more business logically happening as it draws on. The artifice clubs create, posturing with demands for a quick deal and insistence that the current offer is final fall away to desperation and conciliation, money starts to circulate between clubs and generates an increase in deals being done as the end of the window approaches.
What I see more of is the placation, lots of people taking the role of sage and perceptive soothsayer.
‘Rafa’s got this.’
‘What you worried about? It’s only June.’
While I find all three angles quite boring, I do most identify with the view that we should just wait and see. Conversely though, I find myself increasingly irritated by the placators that condescend to complainers, especially when they themselves initiated the high expectations.
For example, in May, The Chronicle told readers that Newcastle wanted to get an early start on transfers:
— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) May 26, 2017
They told us this was the “inside track.” That Rafa Benitez wanted “the majority of his Newcastle United recruits signed up by the start of pre-season (July 3rd).” He was “in a rush to get things sorted as soon as possible” and this news was widely shared news across social media.
With expectations for early business set high, the weeks passed by and Newcastle still hadn’t added any new faces (to Christian Atsu – who’s loan turned into a permanent deal) two weeks before the start of pre-season. However, when questions start being asked as to what happened to the early business promised, there was a gear change to recalibrate expectations.
It’s not unusual to be kept waiting . . . https://t.co/icQ0j1nALY
— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) June 19, 2017
Rather than being a different sort of pre-season where faces arrive sooner than they have previously, as touted, we are told that this is a transfer window and pre-season just like any other under Mike Ashley. That “They’ve only signed players in June three times in the Ashley era.” I mean, come on, what did you expect?
I don’t mind the club putting themselves in the best bargaining position early on by expressing a willingness to walk from deals that take too long, or even papers reporting that stance as it’s given to them. But it winds me up more than a needlessly conceded free kick by Jack Colback to see complainers (where they exist) patronised, if they naively bought into notions sold to them by the club and media.
Where they exist, I don’t believe the majority of complainers are naïve. There’s a haughty disdain for anyone that rightly wonders what happened to the previous proclamations of pro-activity in pre-season. But they’re only pointing out that we all know the emperor is wearing no clothes. That the whole transfer window news cycle is one big charade to be ignored.
…until you get that picture of a trophy signing holding up a shirt.
You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt
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