Deadline Day: 'Live' But Truncated
SORRY but this Deadline Day 'Live' blog is going to be a bit rubbish. And not just because I think it will be all quiet on the Boro front. If David Craig turns up in the car-park at Hurworth he will need to get there early for any footage. The only players he will sight at the ground today are those getting on the coach ready for the red eye trip to Millwall.
No it is also going to be a bit rubbish because I'll be taken out of the equation for a big chunk of it. I'm gutted. The grand televised shouty Sky Sports Speculatathon is one of the highlights of my year, like an Hyberbole Eurovision meets It's A Knockout . But the outside world and family commitments mean I am going to be out of the game all evening. And there's a three line whip on this one. Who plans these things?
There seems little point in starting the ball rolling and then not being around and hard-wired in to events, recycling the gossip, jokes and internet meme and pressing the 'publish' button on your own wit and wisdom just when things are hotting up. But we'll do what we can. You'll all have to dig deep and help out.
I'm not expecting any hot Boro signing action (although that has never stopped us free-styling all night before) but if anything big does happen or the Jim White Scoopbot melts down and runs amok in the studio, overturning Asimov's First Law of Robotics and violently attacking tame agent Sky Andrew and which ever one of the army of android autocuties that gets the gig - and I'll be Sky Plussing it, just the three hours with Jim on, just in case. Not the support acts, I'm not THAT sad. I'll try and share the highlights and emotions of the moment later on. Although I may be a bit drunk. Anything could happen! Oh dear. That doesn't sound very professional does it?
That means it's mainly down to you lot later on. Feel free to keep me updated on any breaking news/views/gossip/airport spottings of Slovakian left-backs or cars outside the Tontine with the registration plate M355I or R00N3Y. You write them up on here and I'll fiddle with my phone under the table to publish your posts. Let's suck it and see.
So what do we know so far?
The chances of Emnes leaving for Swansea are dropping by the second. They wouldn't meet Boro's valuation (about £5m) and we wouldn't drop to their meagre £3m offer during last week's brinkmanship. Since then they have sold Scott Sinclair to Manchester City but spent the bulk of the money on Valencia winger/striker Pablo Hernandez. So that one looks dead. Unless someone else comes in for him but there is little indication of that.
We've got some nice quotes from Mogga on Emnes and the saga in today's Gazette in which he insists he expects Marvin to be playing against Millwall tomorrow.
Meanwhile, we've also got quotes today on the prospect of replacing Rhys with Andre Amougou, The Artist Formerly Known As Bikey. TAFKAB has been training with Boro again this week - he had a trial last month - and Mogga will talk with him next week,. There's an international break now and he is a free agent so the window isn't an issue.
Mogga more or less said he was switching his phone off today and is ready to wait. By the time the international break is over the loan window will be open.
There's plenty of rumours flying around of course. Tuncay has been touted around as he tries to undo the career damage (and chronic neck strain) of his spells as a spectator of robust route onery at Bolton and Stoke and naturally all Boro fans have deep in their DNA a desire to bring back much loved former favourite step-over merchants. But then again, Marinelli is available. And Adam Hammill.
There was also an amusing ripple in cyberspace earlier this week as it was suggested a former England and Liverpool striker with high profile equine connections now looking for a club was poised to arrive on Teesside. Naturally the rumour mongers meant racing buff Michael Owen. In fact, celebrated cart-horse Emile Heskey was closer to the mark.
With have also been "linked" by "sources" with "an interest" in "weighing up" a "mooted move" for "in-demand" Burnley striker Charlie Austin. Well he has scored against Boro so he ticks all the boxes.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has stepped up his bid to put together a really good Premier League reserve side as he confirmed a £500,000 deal for highly rated young Chesterfield striker Jordan Bowery.
12 noon update
Teesside rock 'n'roll football writer and food fad sceptic John Nicholson has devised a way to get through the the gruelling slog of deadline day, a drink-along-a-cliche game that will have you ratted by the time Jim's circuits have powered up. He too has noticed that increasingly the main focus of the evening is the car park doyle fest as rival supporters gather around SSN cameras to gurn and cheer on cue in a banal race to the bottom.
Meanwhile Crystal Palace speed merchant Wilfried Zaha, the best player Boro faced last term - twice - and pretty good last week at the Riverside too, is in talks with Southampton. And possibly Reading as well. He should be worth £6-8m I reckon. And former flavour of the month Leeds goal-getter Jermaine Beckford, in the cold at Leicester, is in talks with Huddersfield who have £8m of Jordan Rhodes cash to burn.
If you are feeling sad, lonely, over-looked and forgotten on this lively and exciting day of big money buys and high profile movement at the highest echelons of football, take a look at the sad twitter feed from Michael Owen, a ghost ship drifting, waiting, waiting...
Elsewhere the BBC website have a little coffee-break featurette on the five best and worst deadline deals in Premier League history and they include Afonso Alves £12.7m arrival into a Samba carnival at the Riverside in January 2008. That's outrageous. What woeful research. We've signed FAR WORSE than that. At least he scored goals and we got some money back. I mean, Michael Rickets! Mido!
Judging by twitter, Boro transfer activity seems to be hotting up with a host of familiar faces now looking to complete some long running sagas and finally sign. Here's just a taster of the top star-spotting retro-rumours flying around on my twitter.
Middlesbro Sup South - Robert Lee just commented on what lovely weather we have in #Boro. Can't wait to join...
TheRealFenby - Roudolph Douala spotted at Durham Tees Valley Airport, the clubs 10th bid for him in 5 seasons
Peterd22 - Diego Forlan on the plane as we speak, taking a direct flight to DTV this time though
MatthewBrown - Vagner Love is stood outside Albert Park signing autographs #apparently
Dendog_UK - Igor Cvitanovics work permit has just been issued by the home office. #untypicalborodeadlineday
PaulGarbs - Gibbo & messi spotted viewing bedsit above 'Cod Almighty'!!
Peterd22 - Phil Whelan stuck in traffic on way to Rockcliffe, doesn't think he'll make the deadline
smoggy999 - Branco spotted having a crafty fag with a limping Branca outside Boro fish bar....
dtooth89 - Muzzy Izzett set to finally sign after finally agreeing to end this 10-year-long transfer saga? Anything in it??
Right, I'm out to make a beat the deadline lunchtime swoop...
BORO LATEST: Team coach has pulled up outside the hotel, somewhere swanky on the leafy western outskirts of London. No extra passengers picked up at Wetherby or Watford Gap. Biggest buzz among the players is over Mario Kart.
Meanwhile snaggle-toothed deep fried Mars bar merchant Charlie Adam has joined Stoke, Clint Dempsey has spat his dummy and refused to join Villa after Fulham agreed a fee. He is stamping his feet and insisting on Liverpool while poor snubbed Paul Lambert is trying to look cool about it. He never really wanted him anyway.
Oh no! shark-jumping Sky Sports have just lurched into a post-ironic netherworld: they have broken into rolling news to show live footage of Jim White entering the building and immediately started to crank up the levels of hysteria.
Now they are repeating it and reporting it as news. It is beyond parody. His colleagues are openly laughing about there own loss of perspective. He is the headline act. You can imagine a host of ego-merchants and prima donnas deliberately delaying their moves until well after 7pm in order to ensure they get the full dramatic up-to-eleven Jim White hyperbole-afterburner treatment. Who wants to be reported by an indentikit underling. I would insist it was written into my contract before I signed.
Meanwhile, are there strange, sinister and inexplicable stirrings beneath the surface dynamics of football finances? Has the transfer market become sentient? Has it taken on a life of its own? A good read about the mysteries of money movements here on FCF.
How rumours start: I've just seen Phil Stamp entering a building closely connected to football where fortunes beyond our mortal dreams are made every week. No, not Rockcliffe... the bookies next to the Coronation at Acklam shops. Seriously.
Some other twitter chatter
geepjay99 - Marco Branca, Branco, and Fabio arriving by hot air balloon from Jamie Pollacks house in Osasuna, #blastfromthepast
StuartDick1 - Paul Proudlock seen at hurworth. Mowbray keeping the 86 thing going on! #halcyondays
KevinStockill80 - mate who works at Rockcliffe Hotel just spotted Alan Boksic walking through hotel lobby with a pair of slippers.
imBishme - Jaimie Moreno seen in kebabish on Scunthorpe rd. Major leagues finest!
atomicloonybin - Just seen Tarmo Kink in a taxi. He was driving it.
Meanwhile, word filters out from the Aston Villa pre-match presser that Joe Bennett - who has never quite been fit for Boro in recent weeks - looks set for his debut tomorrow against Newcastle after Enda Stevens picked up a knock. *raises one eyebrow*
So what did I miss? Not much. Chelsea dismantled by a player they will now try to buy in the next four windows. Smoke coming out of Jim White's circuits. A gathering of village idiots outside various training grounds. Spurs honouring the memory of 'Arry Redknapp with a crazed last day splurge. Fulham shafting both clause-busting poachers Liverpool (who are now an injury to Suarez away from playing Stewie up front) and stroppy refusenik Clint Dempsey (who is now at a club he doesn't want to be at in a nose/spite situation) in a delicious act of vengeful brinkmanship. Owen will be there on a pay-per-play within a week.
At our level there were some interesting moves: Billy Sharp has gone to Kuwaite-backed Forest on loan and alongside Simon Cox that gives them some serious firepower at this level. But he will be on big bucks and it is wishful thinking we could bring him in (at least, not while Scott McDonald is still on the books). Elsewhere long time flirtee Steven Dobbie has gone to Brighton on loan and Captain Dragback, Adam Hammill, to Huddersfield.
On Planet Boro, as Mogga had predicted, nothing happened. But that's no bad thing. We can do without last minute reshuffling. Emnes stayed put and the Bennett exit has clearly been factored in for at least the last few weeks. Everything is under control.
It would be easy to chunter a bit that Boro have done no business on deadline day and we are showing no ambition and we are still weak in some areas. But as whole the window has been productive. Mogga has brought in 10 players, men that he wanted and who have added to the skills set and widened the tactical options, and - breaking the mould - he got them all in early. He has his own squad now and th efirst few glimpses of them this season have been promising. So far so good.
And with a two week break after Millwall there is plenty of time to bring in free agents and then the loan window opens... for ins and outs... and Mogga has a few already in mind to fill the gaps. There's no rush. And there is now some leeway in the budget to jiggle it about in January if any glaring weaknesses emerge. We've done alright.
Now... Millwall... what do you reckon?