The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
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Now that the January transfer window has closed, and the cold wind has stopped coming into the parlor (and has resumed, as if from far off, its low desolate moaning on the moors), it’s time for the writers and bloggers who follow English football to weigh in and assess each team’s results. That’s right: it’s the transfer-window roundup window, the brief orgy of grade-handing-out that opens and closes on February 1. And in the spirit of the times (shivering under my afghan, holding a trembling cup of tea, staring moodily into the remnants of the fire) I’ve decided to round up the transfer window roundups to determine which media outlets can round up…oh, here.
Pros: Sensible. Knows a lot about Wigan. It appears they’ve solved their problem at left back.
Cons: Calls Fulham, the club, “aged 36 and not match fit.” Gives Liverpool 5/10. Begins a sentence with the phrase “To be fair to Roy Hodgson.”
Pros: Really quite sensible, and funny, too. Shows the proper respect for James McFadden. Calls Derby “a lift that’s had the cables cut.”
Cons: Is there any reason to think Hossam Ghaly isn’t a lit match being thrown on a pile of oiled money?
Factors rather working in its favour: Quotes Harry Redknapp’s classically Harryish assertion that Lassana Diarra is “already one of the best midfield players in the Premier League.” Cute, in a pinky-curled-at-the-corner-of-its-mouth sort of way.
Factors that are pants: What is it, 50,000 words long? Don’t you know that we don’t have time to read your flowing paragraphs? A transfer-window roundup with fewer than 15 colons simply isn’t worthy of the name.
Good personality: Adopts a useful “what they wanted/what they got” format and runs down the list with no fuss and excellent insight. You get the feeling they know how to pronounce the name of new Bolton signing Grzegorz Rasiak.
Unattractive face: Depressingly nonjudgmental. No scores or marks of any kind. And yet everyone knows that you can’t have a transfer-window roundup without Darwinian meritocracy and the clinical instruments of justice.
Representative punctuation: …
Effective social programs: Lots of large pictures? There’s not really anything here.
Crippling new taxes: Inane slideshow format limits information to a player photograph and the reported transfer fee. About as much insight into football as, say, “The Ghost and the Darkness,” Michael Douglas’s 1996 film about supernatural lions.
Most strongly evoked Michael Douglas film about supernatural lions: “The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996)
Punk rock (1979): Inspired/crap signings lists are viciously judgmental. Helpful numbered format makes reading a breeze.
Punk rock (1997): Ollie Irish could not tear up the Eredivisie.
Winner or Loser: A-
Read More: Rounding Errors
by Brian Phillips · February 1, 2008[contact-form 5 'Email form']