If there’s no football matches being played, then you have to fill the sports pages exclusively with transfer rumours.
In the two months between now and the start of the 2009/10 season, you’ll see plenty of formulaic guff written, and you’ll have to work out to separate the news from the speculation. But for a bit of fun, here are ten stories we predict you’ll see variants of in the papers this summer – who knows how close we’ll be…
1) Cristiano Ronaldo gets nasty about Manchester United
Look out for mysterious comments appearing in a Spanish/Portuguese/Brazilian outlet about how great United were but Alex Ferguson’s tactics/the idea that Nani was my back-up/the weather in Manchester/having to look at Wayne and Carlos every day was more than I could bear. Despite the quotes being lifted from abroad, every tabloid to claim it as a world exclusive.
2) A detailed analysis on Chelsea’s prospects for next season based on Ancelotti’s ability to answer questions in English during his first press conferences
“If Carlo can only describe the Champions League as ‘a beautiful experience’ to an assembled group of journalists whose job it is to be verbose and command language, then how can he possibly explain to Didier Drogba to be strong and get into the box?”
3) The Joey Barton ‘looking to the future interview’
In which he admits to the mistakes he’s made in the past, and his desire to get back to doing what he does best, which is playing football. He’s totally committed to Newcastle, but will play for anyone.
4) Arsene Wenger reaffirming Arsenal’s moral highground
“£80m for Ronaldo?” “Real Madrid going crazy?” “Mountains of debt?” “Wealthier than wealthy benefactors who can just go out and buy anyone?” “Well, it wouldn’t happen at Arsenal – we’ll just scout and sign all the best 16 year-olds.”
5) Harry Redknapp being linked to three squads’ worth of players
The total list of players to include:
(a) former players at Portsmouth (b) former Spurs players (c) unknown foreigners (d) known foreigners on the wrong side of 30 and (e) British starlets in the Championship
6) The fruits of South American scouting
Count on reading about several South American wonderkids who’ve had great seasons on Football Manager 2009 who “Fergie sees as the next Ronaldo”
7) Rafa Benitez to bemoan his limited resources before the start of the season.
It’s best to get the excuses in early, as well as in a very polite way point the blame for everything at the foot of Gilletts and Hick.
8) A barrage of “football’s gone mad” articles
Enough said. It hasn’t suddenly gone mad though, it’s just been going slowly and predictably crazy for the best part of two decades. The summer transfer dealings will only be the logical point on the curve.
9) On a similar theme, Sir Alex Ferguson complaining about the money in football which forced United’s hand in the Ronaldo transfer, before signing a replacement for £40m+
And Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan to bemoan the sale of Luis Antonio Valencia before giving Roberto Martinez a giant transfer kitty which ruins Swansea’s squad.
10) “PREVIEW PULL-OUT 2009/10: The most exciting Premier League season in years”
Because you wouldn’t buy our paper if we were predicting Manchester United’s cruise to a fourth Premiership title…
Mark is one of the founders of Sport without Spin. They’re trying to steer a bull-free course through the tabloids, exposing the less impressive exclusives, and they’ve stuck a bunch of housemates into the Big Transfer House until August…