The day the transfer window closes is one of my favorite of the season.
The Premier League is always built on narrative, fantasy, and hope. Never more than this season. But for the last 36 hours of the window, that sporting Telenovela goes into overdrive. Every football fan believes in leprechauns, dodos, unicorns and a top four finish, as the emotions of surprise, boredom, fear, love and hate collide on a cliche-ridden day in which the terms:
“Come and get me plea”
“Waiting for the fax to come through”
“Dream come true to return to my boyhood club”
This is a day propelled by middle-aged English football journalists shamelessly working themselves into a frenzy before a live worldwide audience. Frantically working their phones to fill the dead air, even if nothing is happening.
A day of rumors and gossip on which the EPL Becomes TMZ. And Twitter comes alight with rumors Messi has been seen at Norwich airport or that someone’s brothers hairdresser's dad works security at Bournemouth and has just escorted Mario Balotelli into the Vitality stadium.
A day on which the driver's side car window reigns.
A mysterious camera angle allowing the interviewee to cloak their intentions rather than shed light on them.
When clusters of acne-ridden English youths linger outside of stadia late at night, surrounding reporters as they break news. Like villagers ready to storm a castle. Proof there are some corners of England in which the medieval ages never ended.
Random Brazilian superstars jet into Manchester, never quite sure if they just signed for United or City.
When an Instagram photograph of incoming players wearing their new club colors can send grown men and women into raptures.
Some teams will acquire the missing piece they need to put them over the top. Others will sabotage themselves and poison the locker room culture with desperate last minute panic buys. Still others will have their heart ripped out of them by teams higher up the food chain.
Disaster hangs over every fan like a guillotine blade.
At the same time, the delusion the cavalry is about to arrive never leaves you. Especially if you are an Arsenal fan.
And that is what makes it such a special day. Twenty four hours lived suspended between doom and hope, agony and delirium, the distilled essence of football fandom.
This article originally appeared in the January 29th, 2016 edition of our newsletter, The Raven. Read it HERE.