One of our news editors, Vicky, is a charming woman who, as well as being extremely good at her job, is a talented gardener and a devotee of The Archers. She also happened to be the only person at afternoon conference who wasn’t deeply interested in the details of who was going where, and for how much, on the closing day of the football transfer window.
At one point, when our deputy editor was explaining why the purchase of Andy Carroll for £35m made perfect sense (he’s a Liverpool supporter), and while others discussed whether Drogba and Torres could play together, I caught Vicky with her head in her hands. I am assuming that it wasn’t because of her view that Chelsea would be more effective with a single target man, but that she felt she’d stumbled into the Sky Sports canteen (without Messrs Gray and Keys, obviously.)
So when we were deciding what to put on the front page of today’s paper, we felt Vicky would make a case against the football. Quite the opposite. While she had no precise interest in this merry-go-round of millionaires, she said that we should all be interested in the issues raised by these obscene amounts of money being splashed around, by the gargantuan salaries commanded by young men who, understandably, have lost their sense of values, or by the vast commissions sliced off by agents and hangers-on. She then went on to explain the offside rule, but that’s another story.
There are people who now take time off work to watch transfer deadline day unfold on Sky Sports. You can understand why, given that it has some of the narcotic properties of a soap opera. And unlike The Archers, nobody dies!