BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Randy Lerner wonders if the Jake Delhomme signing would go over as poorly in the EPL trade window as it did in the NFL. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
So obviously, the exciting part of this past week was the transfer deadline. And I say "exciting" but only truly mean it if you're a fan of the Scum. Looks like they had a heck of a day, didn't they? But for we poor VIllans, the day came and passed without a peep from the front office. For old hats at this, it was probably the ultimate bit of boredom. I know when trade deadline day in baseball happens without a blockbuster move, I hate it. Not because I think moves _should_ be made, but rather because anything like that is fun to talk about.
But for me, as a new fan, the whole transfer window experience proved to be an interesting one. It's so totally different from the trade deadline for any of the other sports I follow. So I've come up with a list of observations about the transfer window that were particularly entertaining, or at least intriguing about the day. To the bullets!
- The incredible microscope that is turned on the players during the window is astonishing. Yes, baseball/football/basketball have their share of Milner/Ireland sagas, but the fact that every little minute detail is reported to such an extent seems different. But what was truly amazing here, is how the British press is willing to make stories out of quotes from people _not associated with the story!_
I know it wasn't really a transfer, but what comes to mind first here is the movement that Maradonna to Villa got in the press. I was walking to go do some teaching that day, checked the news on my phone, saw the headline, and freaked out. Why would we do that?! Then I got to read the story. It was nothing more than him saying "Yeah, I'd like the job." This of course unleashed a stream of predictable "I'd like the job" jokes on twitter, but I can't blame a single person who wrote one. It was absurd! Just because someone says they'd like something, doesn't mean they're going to get it. Every three year old in the candy aisle can tell you this.
- The farcical coverage of player movement. Not in the sense of "Player A went to team B" but in the sense of "PLAYER A IS IN A HELICOPTER NOW!" I don't know why, but this was the funniest bit of sports reporting I've seen in ages. And it wasn't alone. I can't remember who tweeted it, but someone was spot-on when they said the last day of the transfer window was the best advertising England's small airports could ever ask for.
- New EPL rules put an extra confusing wrinkle in this year's deadline. At least they did for people who knew what was happening before. Personally, I'm glad to have come into it this year, as these new rules seem second-nature to me. The real interesting thing was watching Citeh play around with them. It may just be me, but roster management is fascinating in any sport.
- I know there weren't any blockbusters this year, but with the way teams in the EPL work, I can't imagine there ever really being blockbusters. With so few teams, and no league (a la AL and NL, or AFC and NFC), trading a player to another EPL team will be guaranteed to have an impact on your team. It seems to me as if it will make every team a bit more conservative in their trades. And, for at least this first transfer window, that was proven.
- The idea of transfers is odd to me, because, as far as I can tell, every player essentially has a no-trade clause. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this, but that's what I was able to suss out in the Ireland deal. It brings an entirely new angle to player movement.
So yeah, it may have been boring for many, but certainly not for this new fan. It's an entirely different system than I've ever seen before, and it's one that is magnified and made 1000x more ridiculous by the English press. In other words: I love it.