Radamel+Falcao+Garcia+Radamel+Falcao+Garcia+ztkny_aUgGXl

Transfer Porn

A weird thing happened this weekend, something that a lot of Arsenal fans missed because we spend so much time in our own Arsenal bubble. It happened during Southampton’s 3-1 win over Manchester City and no, I don’t mean Joe Hart’s error that led to Southampton’s goal or Gareth Barry’s own goal which sealed the win for the Saints. I talking about a substitution which didn’t happen.

See, Man City went to Southampton with the most expensive team ever assembled on English soil. Sheikh Mansour has already spent well over a billion dollars assembling that team. He pays a lot for the players and then pays them well, the best paid team in the Premier League costs him $310,000,000 a year in salary. And yet, with 7 players on the bench, Manchester City couldn’t name a single striker.

Man City’s bench consisted of Costel Pantilimon, Maicon, Kolarov, Kolo Toure, James Milner Scott Sinclair, and Jack Rodwell. That’s a keeper, two defenders, a defensive midfielder, and three mostly-attack-minded midfielders.

Man City’s manager, Roberto Mancini looked up at the scoreboard, then down the line at his bench and with his team down 3 goals to 1, made three changes: James Milner, Maicon, and Kolarov. That’s an attack minded midfielder and two defenders.

The reason City got into this situation is because they have had problems with the attitude of certain players. Carlos Tevez was one of Man City’s first “big name” signings. They spent lavishly on him and touted him as the symbol of the shift in power from the red side to the blue side of Manchester.

tevez

But trouble has always followed Tevez and even with an enormous pay packet Carlos Tevez couldn’t buy what he needs to keep him happy. West Ham are still paying for their encounter with Tevez. Tevez saved them from relegation but because his ownership was muddied, making him ineligible to play in the Premier League, Sheffield United felt like they were relegated unfairly in 2007 and sued the Hammers. Sheffield United won the suit and the Hammers will make their last payment of £6m to Sheffield United in June.

Tevez wasn’t in the City team to face the Saints for “personal reasons”. A tune all too familiar to Man City fans who suffered through a year where Carlos played golf instead of football.

But City started the season with a plethora of talented strikers. They had Dzeko, the 12th man of the season last year, Kun Aguero (their leading goal scorer), Carlos Tevez, and Mario Balotelli — an insanely talented forward. But Balotelli was sold to AC Milan in January, Tevez sat out for personal reasons, and suddenly even the mighty Manchester City, with coffers full of gold, could only muster a substitution of two defenders and James Milner.

If anything this shows me how difficult it is to get this balancing game of players and playing time right. You can’t simply look at the world’s best strikers and say that Arsenal should sign them. You can, of course, but I suspect that you’d admit that you’re living in a fantasy world.

Whenever I write a transfer story I’m cognizant that what I’m really doing is providing you with a fantasy. Something that you can get excited about but which probably will never come true. This January there was the supposed £30m “activation fee” for Mario Goetze, or me comparing Edinson Cavani’s stats with some other player’s stats but really when it gets right down to it, it’s all fantasy.

Transfer stories are porn for sports fans. They are a carefully constructed fantasy world, full of perfect physical specimens, divorced from human emotion, and abstracted from the gritty reality of having to deal with real human interaction. “Can I fix your pipes?” becomes “Can I score some goals for you?” and “Can I head the ball away time and again, keeping clean sheet after clean sheet?”

Like the simplicity of sex in porn, we imagine our team just buying these players and then imagine these players performing physical acts for our team that will bring us to the climax of lifting a trophy.

Sadly, the reality is that even the richest owners in the world can’t just buy whomever they want and when they do they can’t keep the players they have happy, despite paying them a king’s ransom. That’s the reality of transfers and that’s the reality of porn; real people are messy. They have problems that even money can’t overcome.

I’m not saying that I don’t like a good transfer story or that I don’t think Arsenal should buy some players this summer. I’m just saying that I know the difference between reality and porn. And reality is that even Manchester City have difficulty keeping their bench stocked with top talent this season.

And we expect Arsenal to have 3 Cavanis? Fantasy.

Qq

22 thoughts on “Transfer Porn

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Nick

    There are only 11 spots on the field at a time, most top players expect to play most of the time.
    We would all love a Cavani or someone else to come this summer, but we already have 5 players that really should be starting in the front 4 positions. Giroud, Walcott, Wilshere, Podolski and Cazorla. Someone is already getting left out,

  2. +24 Vote -1 Vote +1stynyr

    I really thought (and wanted) that last paragraph to end like this:

    I’m not saying that I don’t like a good transfer story or that I don’t think Arsenal should buy some players this summer. I’m just saying that I like porn.

  3. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    C’mon. Cavani was always a fantasy. It’s never going to happen, so there’s no use wanting him.

    No. I want Falcao.

  4. +13 Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

    I get this post. I really, really do. I even applaud it. But I resent the fact that you have forever linked the ideas of porn and Carlos Tevez in my head. They were doing very nicely in their own separate compartments, thanks very much.

  5. -15 Vote -1 Vote +1StevieBlue

    “See, Man City went to Southampton with the most expensive team ever assembled on English soil.”
    Wrong!! When Trafford United played City at the Etihad last season (where they tried parking the bus) their team cost more than ours.

    It’s not our fault you Arse fans are being fleeced with no chance of your manager spending any of that lovely money. But carry on wishing he may just find you a little diamond in one of the African leagues.

    1. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe

      There’s none so blind as those that won’t see. Come on you want us to believe that man city did not spend a billion dollars on your team at some stage it’s going to be the most expensive team to play in the PL.

      1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1DoubleDoubleDouble

        If Man City fail to retain the league title this season, it has to go down as the biggest failure in English football history, when you consider how much they have spent.

    2. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      you’re an Arab’s plaything, and you play in a city-leased stadium. You ever see “Lawrence of Arabia”? they own England now, and they started up north, with you. you suddenly feel the need to criticize Israel at every turn?!

    3. +13 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Couple of things here:

      1. One game in which United’s squad cost was more than yours by a few pence does not mean that your team is not the most expensive set of players every assembled. You are still paying for Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge because they are still on your books. Just because they didn’t play that day doesn’t mean you didn’t pay to have them.

      2. Sheikh Mansour owns you. More than just your club, your crest, your stadium, they own you and your history and they can do whatever they want to with it. How does that feel? I’m guessing you kind of feel like a whore. Because unless you’re truly retarded, when you made that argument you made above, you felt like a whore. You had to feel like a whore, Man City always represented “real Manchester” and there’s nothing “real Manchester” about that squad. Do you even have any players from Manchester? The answer is no. I personally don’t give a shit but your fans have completely sold out their values for a few trinkets. Arsenal might have expensive tickets but we’ve never sold out our values. Because we aren’t whores.

      3. The cost of Arsenal tickets are a combination of a lot of things but they are at least partly driven by competition from clubs like yours. You took Nasri, Toure, Clichy, and paid them double what we could pay. That made us pay Walcott more to hold on to him, Wilshere more, etc etc. But the true cost of your ticket is being subsidized by debt. If your club was spending within its means your ticket prices would be significantly higher. Probably triple what you’re currently paying.

  6. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1caribkid

    Well said, the whole aim of football and porn is the climax. With porn, it’s the ejaculation and in football it’s the trophy celebration. Without those, what would we have left.

    1. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1DoubleDoubleDouble

      The fun in between, hence why people support teams that have very little chance of ever winning silverware.

  7. -10 Vote -1 Vote +1g clarke

    Where do these stories come from certainly not from any official source prb from some bored person sitting at a newspaper desk or a blogger like you for hits or causing trouble

    1. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

      Yeah I think punctuation is dumb too it’s totally overrated I hate pretentious snobs who use it am I right

  8. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1Saint Rudi

    Great post Sir. Really amusing analogy of transfer speculation with a refreshing blast of perspective.

    However I’m none too impressed with all of this ‘slate the Man City fan’ in the comments. Why is he a ‘whore’? Yeah sure, his club sold out… but what the hell can he do about it? Nothing! Just support the team that he always has done as passionately as he always has done.

    The truth is that ALL of our clubs are up for sale all of the time, and the fans have zero say in it. We simply have to play the cards we’re dealt with.

    Take my position: a die hard Southampton fan. Our current chairman, absolutely hell-bent on success, promised champions league football within 5 years. That was 2 years ago, when we were in League 1! How did he propose to carry out such an outrageous plan from the depths of English football? With continuous financial outlays of course. In other words, stupid amounts of money. Now I’m not suggesting that he’ll manage to deliver on his promise. Indeed, the chances are that if we continue at axe players and managers in the manner in which King Nigel Adkins left the club, we’ll end up like QPR and Man City – represented by overpaid mercenaries. So my question is: would you then call me a ‘whore’, like there is anything I could do to influence the situation?

    To say that “[City] fans (with the emphasis on ‘fans’) have completely sold out their values for a few trinkets” is completely unfair. They are simply at the whims of their club’s owner. Just like I am, and just like you are.

    You’ve also gone and had a little pop about Nasri, Toure and Clichy, which is understandable. They did nonchalantly take them from you by throwing cash around and promising silver. But would I then not be be right to mention Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. A group that would have included Shaw were it not for our recent success. Swings and roundabouts mate.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      It’s about the soul of the club, what the club represents and whether the owner respects those values. Do you feel like Markus Liebherr’s trust respects and honors the values and traditions of Southampton FC? That’s up to you to decide, really.

      And I may be full of bluster, calling the City supporter a whore, but it’s really for him to decide if City’s owners are adhering to his perception of the values of City. Just like it’s up to me to decide about Arsenal’s owners.

      What can you do about it? You stop going to games. End of story. That doesn’t mean you switch teams or that you stop loving your club. But you have to have some values which you will stand up for. If Arsenal suddenly became a racist club and refused to hire black players like Zenit, I wouldn’t just say “what can I do?” I would protest, stop going to games, make a stink.

      And that’s where my whore analogy hurts him, because I suspect that he knows that the soul of Man City is changed. And if it has and he still supports the club out of some callow excuse like “what am I supposed do about it?” Then he’s just a whore, bought and paid for by Sheikh Mansour.

      Anyway, up the Saints! May they beat all the teams they have to face the remainder of the season.

      1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Saint Rudi

        It is about the soul of the club, you’re right. But you’re wrong about what us as fans can do about it. Stop going to games? Not a possibility. We’re all in it too deep to just turn off and not follow our teams anymore.

        Southampton got lucky. Very lucky. Markus Liebherr is, even in death, the perfect owner. But what if some Arabian guy would’ve come in instead and done a Chelsea or Man City? We would have just done what we love to do and support our beloved football club regardless.

        Boycotting football games just doesn’t work. There are always others that will stump up the cash, even if they are mere tourists.

        Look, you clearly know your stuff about football, and I don’t want to patronise you. But you do need to be careful about taking the moral high ground when the destiny of your club’s soul is in the hands of a bunch of businessmen.

        I pray that my club don’t end up like Manchester City, as you obviously do about Arsenal. However the bottom line, for me at least, is that it is 100% out of our hands.

      2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Saint Rudi

        And just on a purely football note, cheers for the support. May I add that Arsenal remain the only team to have completely outclassed us this season (in the 6-1 spanking at the Emirates). I pray that we’ll have a chance to do ourselves justice there next year.

      3. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1utxin

        on the whoring note. It is represented in the banners of the fans i.e. When Rvp was playing well for us last year, Citeh fans decided to put up banners saying that they will buy him too. One example of how Citeh fans nonchalantly expects and revels in the fact that they can simply just buy off anyone and are proud of it. That is how they have sold their souls.

      4. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        I don’t know, man. I’ve seen lots of die hard Arsenal supporters stop going to games, especially recently. So, while I completely understand the sentiment you’re expressing, practically speaking people do stop going to games. You’ve seen the Emirates lately, anyone can get tickets to almost any game. Heck, I’m going to Bayern away and Swansea away — a Yank going to away games was almost unheard of 5 years ago. Those folks who stop going don’t love the club any less, they may even love it more, but they just refuse to pay to see a team stripped of its soul. It happens all the time with all kinds of teams. Blackburn doesn’t sell out any more. Not even close. So, I have to say I disagree.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    There is a solid 25% drop in City’s league goals this season, compared to same time last season…
    after 2/3rds of the season David Silva is only half way to where he was last season..while the promise he showed was that he would take the league by storm.This might also be due to the fact that, he has earned his cheque..in terms of another 5 year deal just two seasons into earning a 4 year deal…
    From a team which was constantly into the attacking powress, Mancity has turned into a defense first approach..typical of title defenders.. They are still the meanest defence in the league, but coming at the cost of over employing Barry, Garcia at the expense of Na$ri and Milner..supposedly more attacking players..
    Balotelli was an absolute waste of money for what they paid him over this season…1 goal in 14 appearences is something that would put chamakh’s striking profligacy to shame.

    Add to it, the inability to get Aguero into the act..coupled with poor management of Tevez..has resulted in a blunt attacking force..

Comments are closed.