Don’t Adjust Your Sets

This is just a test to see if the thing works that automatically sends out a tweet and updates the Facebook whenever there’s a new piece on the site.

But while we’re here we might as well indulge in some red hot sporting chat.

First of all, it’s been reported everywhere that Everton have agreed a fee with Tottenham Hotspur for the return of Steven Pienaar to Goodison Park. That’s good news, clearly, however agreeing the price for new players doesn’t tend to be the real stumbling block for the Blues in the transfer market.

The whole ‘How much do you want for him? Yeah, that’s seems reasonable given the circumstances’ to-and-fro more often than not goes pretty smoothly – everyone has general idea of what a player’s value is anyway – it’s the ‘Well where are we going to find the cash to pay that then?’ stage of proceedings that generally contains all the obstacles.

That said, Pienaar hasn’t travelled with the rest of the Spurs squad for a tour of America, which has led to suggestions that he will finalise a move by this Tuesday. To Everton, presumably, and not QPR, who seem to have adopted the Sunderland approach of hoovering up the best-paid fringe players from the squads of the major clubs.

The very nature of the transfer window makes every deal a tortuous affair, with the balance of negotiating power shifting back and forth as both clubs put on their best poker faces and try to work out who is most prepared to risk walking away from the table. It’s often suggested that it would be better to to scrap the window like in the good old days, but perhaps the opposite approach could also work: allow deals to take place on one day only, four weeks before the season starts.

It could be staged like the NFL draft in America, in a big conference centre, sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks and the Daily Star, and shown live on Sky Sports. Can you imagine the excitement it would generate? You only have to look at the wholesale battiness that goes on during the final day of the present window to realise what an event it would be.

Just imagine, Alan Smith commentating: ‘And that looks like Mike Phelan there heading across the room. Where’s he going? Where is he going? He’s stopped at the Everton table! Is he asking about Leighton Baines? That’s been the big rumour. Bill Kenwright has certainly greeted him warmly enough. That could mean anything though. David Moyes is now whistling and frantically trying to catch the eye of someone over at Spurs. Fascinating stuff here…’

Apart from the fact that you wouldn’t be able to include players from lower league sides in this – or foreign ones either – due to space restrictions if nothing else, it is a flawless idea and it’s a disgrace that it’s not been implemented already.

If it did happen, the Internet would probably blow a gasket – it would possibly even dwarf – are you getting on this seamless segue here? – the Twitternami that was unleashed during Friday’s opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

As has already been said by everyone but braying Tory oafs, the whole thing was amazing. It was a triumph of imagination and positivity in the age of the sneering and snidely cynical. Danny Boyle and the rest of his team showed how it is possible to take limits and restrictions – primarily budgetary in comparison to Beijing – and turn them to your creative advantage. It was punk rock.

The whole thing was full of surprises, especially in some of the video montages. Repeated viewings on the iPlayer showed the following little nuggets:

The fried breakfast scene from McVicar

Donal McIntyre celebrating a Chelsea goal in Copenhagen

Court drawings of Barry Bulsara

The vandalised Blue Peter garden

Tommy Cooper refusing to get up off the floor

The ‘watersports’ bit in the video for Relax

Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown doing the ‘back scuttle’

John Prescott gobbing that farmer

A pack of scooter-riding paperazzi

Incredible stuff, made even more memorable by the fact that serial gobshite Aidan Burley, MP for Notmuchlonger, let the mask slip and revealed what the privileged really think of the NHS when he objected to its celebration in the ceremony, along with the rest of the ‘multi-cultural crap’.

This is a fella who thinks he can get away with attending a ‘Nazi-themed stag party’ – he’s more hard-faced than one of those mings who ‘smokes’ an electric ciggy in the alehouse and constantly looks around, just defying anyone to fucking say something, anything.

Note that Burley’s problem here wasn’t with ‘waste and inefficiency’ in the health service, which is the usual Tory line, but rather the actual NHS itself. That’s because, just below the surface, the idea of ‘free’ healthcare is an absolute affront to the sensibilities of his sort. They believe that the serfs could be paying for services – and more specifically buying them from companies owned by the ruling classes. They all think it – you only have to look at their policies – but this barmpot just happens to be the drunken uncle of the party, the one who blurts out that one of the kids is adopted.

Burley’s mainstream political career looks under threat now though – it has to be when a celebrity is threatening to go up against you in the next election. And not even squeaky-clean war reporter Martin Bell, but mentally fragile woman-beater and maniacal retweeter Stan Collymore.

Rumour has it that his first bit of business will involve dealing with the street lighting and CCTV around public spaces and car parks around Cannock. He wants it all removed.

And on that cheap shot, we bow out for now.

Stay hungry.

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