Deadline Day Live: Unplugged
DON'T expect any dry ice, floating pigs or Arena spectacular interactive day-glo wristbands in football's big gig today. Boro are going for a low-key mellow acoustic set to a smaller audience in a more intimate venue. Transfer deadline day; unplugged.
As I suggested yesterday, I'm not expecting Mogga to go any cash crazed beat the bongs late night trolley dash. But you never know, Gibbo may find a wad of notes down the back of his sofa and sanction a splurge.
But we can still have fun. Don't let Teesside down. I'm looking for you lot to help out with any spottings of Pique in Pallister Park, Becchio in Berwick Hills or Jon Parkin buying a parmo. If you spot Ryan Giggs or Peter Crouch going into Rockliffe let me know (we've got the Tontine covered by webcam). If anyone knows anyone who used to work with the women who lives next door to Gibbo's best mate and who has the inside track on a loan move for Stewie Downing or Tom Huddlestone, shout up because today is the day when no rumour, no matter how preposterous goes unpublished.
I'll be updating here regularly so hit that refresh button and rack up the page clicks as often as you can. Feel free to comment, muse on days past, laugh at Sunderland fans unfolding double think over Mackem-hating Danny Graham, and suggest songs. There is also a Trinity Mirror regional live blog running if you want to check on the activity from around the country or make sarcastic comments about Newcastle and Sunderland activity.
Plus follow me on twitter @untypicalboro. It's anarchy on there.
Blimey, good start as Sky Sports sources lob a hand-grenade onto the breakfast table .....
@SkySportsNews: Sky sources: Swansea have agreed a deal with Middlesbrough for striker Danny Graham #SkyDeadlineDay
Mistake based on poor geography? Complete curveball from Steve GIbson? It has certainly stirred up the collective Boro breakfast banter.
It sounds completely unbelievable - Swansea were asking £4-5m and he will be on £25k+ a week so he inhabits a different universe right now - but it is a funny old game and Gibbo has funded shock D-Day moves before now. Sky are saying Swansea have agreed a fee with Boro. Which would be totally counter to last three years of austerity. And would he step down a division anyway.
We are checking: texting Mogga, Bausor and Gibbo - and anyone else who knows me - now to try and clarify. Instinct says this can't be true but it has certainly lit a fuse.
As @Triquertum said on twitter: "I don't care if its true or not. It has livened up what was going to be an otherwise mundane deadline day for me. Come on !!!"
****9 AM UPDATE
Everyone is now speculating which Boro players would be sold to fund it. Amusingly, everyone who yesterday was calling Emnes a busted flush and a waste of space now seem to think Swansea would value him highly as part of a cash & swap deal.
The only other possibilities of cashing in assets to fund it would be George Friend (but West Ham have now signed Poggi), Rhy Williams (nowhere near his best since coming back), Scott McDonald (no sign of any interest whatsoever) or Jason Steele (and they are adamant he is not for sale.)
The bits are falling into place to suggest there has been some contact with Swansea but club sources are being vague and insisting there has been no fee agreed ("do you think we have even got £5m") and are speaking in very non-committal terms. Hmmm.
Well, they were ready to pick up a big chunk of Downing wages in a loan? Is there some wriggle room there? Could it be a loan with a view to a sale if we go up? We'll see.
Whatever, if Graham does end up here we should all give a big round of thanks to the Sunderland fans for booing him so roundly on Tuesday, thus persuading him that, should he want to return to his native North-east he would not be welcome there.
Both clubs seems a bit surprised it has leaked out. Has his agent leaked it in order to force the hand of Sunderland or other Premier League clubs? Wouldn't be surprised.
Right. Having called slightly guarded manager, chief exec, assorted 'insiders' and 'sources' in Wales this is what we can figure: There has been no £5m cash bid by Boro, We have been told that - but they have made an inquiry of sorts, possibly for a loan now till the end of the season with an option to buy in the summer.
Graham has asked for a move and Swansea's preference is to sell - and the agent's preference is definitely a permanent move because otherwise he doesn't get his cut. That is why he - not the player - has now ruled out a move. It doesn't suit him. I also think he is the source of the story on Sky, trying to smoke out either a bigger bid from Sunderland or a move from another Premier League club.
We think Boro's position is that they have approached Swansea and said if they can't strike a deal to sell then they would be keen to take him - ie, take the position they were going to with Downing (who is now back out of Brendan's envelope at Liverpool). Possibly tied to a future fee and real deal if Boro go up. We'll see.
Sorry it isn't more concrete than that but Boro aren't in a position to force it through.
That was a busy hour... cup of tea.
Paper gone.. here's the summary in another medium
People are saying Graham has ruled out Boro move. That is not true. His AGENT has ruled it out. Agent wants Sunderland move to go through get his 10%
We think Boro move is a proposal to Swansea that if they don't strike a real deal, they will take him on loan now with view to summer deal.
Hence there is NOT now suddenly a £5m transfer kitty. If Graham doesn't work out, don't expect sudden move for Austin, Becchio etc.
That means unless Sunderland - or AFC Another - are now nudged into pushing a sale through that we could be here right through to the bongs.
We just have to sit back and wait now. Anyone know any jokes?
Right. Been told some stuff that illuminates the story but slightly ties our hands because some bit need to be kept under wraps so as not to comprise other prospective irons in the fire. That's an occupational hazard of being told things "off the record."
Our understanding is that Boro HAVE made a 'complex' offer worth £5m (ish) to Swansea and the package has been accepted in principle and that it is now down to the player to decide. He is in the area and was expected to talk to Mogga today.
Boro believe while Sunderland can offer Premier Leaguee football, they themselves tick a lot of boxes - his wife is local and wants to move home to Teesside, he knows and respects a lot of people on the coaching staff, he would be a shoo-in to start, he would fit Mogga's age and skill set profile - and think they can put together a package to meet his wage demands.
It may mean biting the bullet for a few months until they can shuffle a few of the big earners off the wage bill but we are assured by people high up in the club that they can make it work. Now it is down to the player.
It could be that his agent is trying to play off both clubs against each other in order to max the cash. We'll see. Let's hope the Mackem boo-fest on Tuesday counts against the attractions of the Premier League now rather than the potential for the future.
It also appears both player and agent have turned their phones off and are having a quick chin wag in a layby equidistant between Hurworth and Sunderland.
Meanwhile, here's the latest Twitter rumours:
@Andrew_Teen Luciano Becchio spotted testing drum sticks in middlesbrough music centre #watchthisspace #TransferDeadlineDay
@Rob_Fassbender Kieron Dyer spotted putting towel on Kevin Thomsons bed in Boro treatment room. #mysticmeg
@pjeuk #Boro in deadline day transfer swoop. Mowbray seen coming out of WH Smith with a bulk purchase of Letraset
@stechap2010 wish fans would remember that business is done at rockliffe when making up rumours, did see a car with GRA 4AM plate though.
Sunderland now in driving seat. Graham believed to be at Academy of Light for talks about taking up role as new boo-boy. Not looking good for Boro. Money has a way of muffling even the most hurtful of comments.
Meanwhile it has been suggested to me by someone who may know these things that Boro were offered DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd by QPR yesterday as part of their January Redknapping. Boro chiefs don't believe they offer either value for money or anything better than what the squad already has.
Danny Graham is having a medical at Sunderland now. Looks like terms have been agreed. It is so far advanced that they have even taken the obligatory shirt pics. There's a bootleg shot snatched on a mobile phone floating around. You can see it here.
And here's that picture of the warm reception he got from the welcoming committee of friendly and forgiving fans
Tony Mowbray confirms at his weekly pre-match press conference that Boro had made a bid for Swansea's Danny Graham but it was not £5m cash - "we haven't got that kind of money and everyone knows that" - and he was not hopeful of it going through. He said that Sunderland were probably the favourites all along as they are in the Premier League. And it is hard to argue with that other than on a sentimental basis.
He said the complex deal was based around a player plus cash package... it is probably fair to speculate now that, given the backstory, the player in question was probably Swans fans' favourite Marvin Emnes, and it is probably fair too to speculate too that Boro would probably value him at round about £3m.
Mogga also said the Dyer deal was all but done and that he will be in the squad for the trip to his home club Ipswich on Saturday.
Graham signs for Sunderland in £5m three and a half year deal. As you were. Resumes, mellow acoustic approach to day after all that rock and roll excitement.
Dyer is done on a pay-as-you play until the end of the season. "the onus is on th eplayer to earn a place in the team and earn his money."
Some questions now: will Boro press ahead with the "plus player" element of the deal - let's say Emnes - before the deadline. If they sell and cash in, and there will be people urging that course, can they find a cost effective replacement in time? That possibility will keep us all on tenterhooks and hyper-excited right through to the bongs.
And that's before Sky Sports charge up and unleash the Jim White T-3000 Scoopbot at 8pm. I'm taking a break, Back soon. Talk amongst yourselves.
I've been in touch with the powers that be at Boro and been told that they have shut up shop for the night and will not be doing any business. In or out. So, for all the natural speculation of Swansea still taking Marvin, nothing is going to happen tonight.
Meanwhile... Chris Samba to QPR, £12.5m plus £100k a week for four years... a £33m committment from a team in the relegation zone who get 19,000 a week (and will get 16,000 in the Championship next year).... there's a club with a death wish. Still, Harry is no stranger to seeing clubs in admin in his rear view mirror.
Am told on very good authority (*points upwards*) that Boro have shut up shop for the night and will not be doing any business before the bongs. In or out.
"Jim White IS IN the building".... Untypicalboro sources understand a ludicrous self-parody has been seen jumping the shark. His colleagues are openly laughing at what has become a soulless pantomime.Look in his eyes when he comes on: he is definitely dead inside. There has been some Faustian pact sealed in blood somewhere.
Right, I'm going to play football (trundling full-back). The onus is one you lot to man the Tontinecam, check for helicopters over Hurworth and kids the kids safely away from the telly when Jim White is unleashed.
Right, back from playing football (we won, I didn't score, I don't tend to go up that end of the pitch, I'm more of a spoiler. I'm Baileyesque.) What have I missed? Are QPR in liquidation yet? Have Newcastle signed Jacques Cousteau? Have the easily manipulated gurning masses started to gather behind cameras for the the car park doyle fest?
On the way home I've been to the offy to buy a couple of bottles of fine football ale: Striker's Snub, Fenland Old Crock, Android's Bellow and Old Droopy's Tap Up.
While I've been out the mischevous message board rumour mill and twitter have been suggesting that Saha, Hulse,Mackie, DJ Campbell and Kevin Davies are all at Rockliffe. They may well be but Neil Bausor packed up and went home hours ago. He's probably sat laughing at the Scoopbot building up into an hysterical electronic frenzy like everyone else. I've been assured Boro will make no signings tonight whatsoever.
WOW! Out of nowhere comes news that Kevin Thomson has left by mutual consent and suddenly the deflation and chuntering after missing out on Danny Graham is replaced with a buzz among the punters.
Thomson - who captained Boro to Ramsden's Cup glory remember - arrived as a Strachanovite leader with a glowing reputation as a ball playing midfielder with good engines and an eye for a well weighted pass. Unfortunately he has spent most of his time up on blocks frustrated and and saying "wait till I'm fit and I can show you what I can do." Wait till he gets 10 games in a row under his belt. *taps fingers on desk* Ok. Five games in a row? Three?
You can't blame people for being injured - especially when one of them is a broken leg that went unspotted for a dozen games - but the entire move has been an expensive cul-de-sac. An agreement that he leaves is a good bit of business.
The deal will no doubt mean Boro paying up part of his contract but they will save overall, it creates space in the wage bill to possibly bring in a new face when the loan window opens next week and it allows him to leave as a free agent so he can sign outside the window. Probably for his beloved Rangers.
***NEXT MORNING UPDATE
Sifting through the debris, what have we got? Not a lot, that's what. It was an exciting morning that raised the prospect of added firepower and a 'statement of intent' but it quickly fizzled out to the usual low key empty-handed mooching about before finishing with a slightly sad moment as a once vaunted signing was shuffled uncermoniously out of the back door at closing time with a blanket over his head.
We'll talk more about Kevin Thomson later no doubt but the end when it came was a bit undignified. He was a nice guy who, believe me, really wanted to do well and was constantly frustrated by never quite getting up to speed. It wasn't his fault he was injured (especially not when he was playing witha broken leg). He cerainly wasn't, as has been suggested, the "worst signing ever" (there are a lot of contenders for that particular title, which is on permananet loan at the Riverside from the Mido collection.)
Remember, all the other Strachanovites were poor when they arrived. It was a big culture shock stepping from clubs where they only played one high intensity game in four or five and in between got to bully tiny sides. Going from that to the Championship was a massive physical, mental and tactical challege and they all struggled: Boyd was terrible, Scott McDonald couldn't hit a barn door with a blunderbuss in his first season, Big Mick was regularly monstered, Chris Killen and Lee Miller? Jesus wept. Even BArry Robson was a patchy, furious ball of misdirected energy in his first six months.
The key is that six months. Robson and McDonald and to a lesser extent McManus got the chance to play their way into the team, to acclimatise to the new mental landscape, to come to terms with the pace and physicality. Thomson never got that. He never had six or 10 games to get up to speed. He never got a solid six months under his belt.
He is not a bad player. It just didn't work out here. It was part of the expensive Strachan cul-de-sac. He'll be alright back at Rangers.
One other observation from the deadline day activity... the boo-boys should take note: you may think that Marvin Emnes is rubbish and not good enough to play for Boro but someone - Michael Laudrup - clearly thinks he is good enough for the Premier League and good enough to play in a side that is lauded for its pace and passing.
Think about that.