The Eleventh Hour.

Yesterday saw the the transfer window slam shut and with it a cluster of clichés get trotted out. Players all over the country failed to do their ties up properly and practised their best “I didn’t want to leave XYZ but as soon as I heard ABC were in for me, it was an easy decision” rubbish. The loan system was put to good use, with a number of teams sending out their 17-year-olds for valuable first team experience to prepare them for the next twenty years of really needing first team football at this stage of their careers.

Sky Sports News get terribly excited on days such as this, with actual things happening that they can report on rather than endlessly looping mildly controversial incidents from four days ago. However, it was still not quite enough to prevent them from stating on their news ticker:


Well, fancy that - a manager trying to sign a player he thinks will do well. Although, this being Harry Redknapp, [this part of the sentence has been censored to ensure that Mr. Redknapp will still talk to us rather than have Tony Adams taking four hours to finish an interview].

Portsmouth signing Jermaine Defoe produced one of the finest examples of how ingrained the cliché has become in the discourse of modern football, giving rise to the first of an occasional series entitled Nonsensical Cliché of the Week.

It’s a great opportunity to play football…

Good start to the sentence there, a slight variation on the “at this stage of my career” theme.

“…I just want to play for Portsmouth and score as many goals as I can this season…

Second point well made, you would think. Fans of Portsmouth must be pleased that their new £7 million striker plans to score as many goals as he can, because that, after all, is what he is there for.

However, as we are about to see, something goes off in Defoe’s mind - a flicker of recognition of a lesson he had in “Media Training” at Charlton Athletic's academy, possibly called “Lies to Tell Towards The End of Interviews

"…but what’s important is the three points.

This obvious lie, developed at the Shearer Institute for Inane Comments, was designed to perpetuate the myth that strikers aren’t selfish and don’t really care about scoring.

So deeply ingrained is this in the minds of footballer that they trot it out even when, as in Defoe's case, there aren’t even any specific three points at stake – unless of course their new signing expects Portsmouth to gain a mere 3 more points between now and May.

Now that would be interesting.


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