Matt Butler: That wacky Mr Jim White, always wanting a pizza the transfer action on Transfer Deadline Day

View From The Sofa: Transfer Deadline Day Sky Sports News

Unless you are Hunter S Thompson, Gonzo journalism – the branch of the craft where the writer or presenter becomes the story – should be avoided like the plague.

Jim White, the Sky Sports News presenter, sailed extremely close to the Gonzo wind in the week leading up to Friday’s transfer deadline day. You could hardly open a paper without reading how the excitable Scotsman loves it when Harry Redknapp gives him a call while last-minute deals are finalised, while his partner in crime Natalie Sawyer keeps things running smoothly on screen.

But for most of the day itself, he was nowhere to be seen. For a start, the brolly-holding reporters-at-large had their thunder stolen by Andy Flower stepping down from the England cricket coach’s job. So instead of Aidan Magee at Fulham, Ian Bolton at Chelsea and Peter Stevenson at West Bromwich Albion, we had Tim Abraham, the cricket reporter, in the studio.

As day turned into night, we were back on deadline-day message, but White was nowhere to be seen. Tony Cottee, the former West Ham player, was there, telling Sawyer how clubs like his alma mater were “desperate”. Magee was there too, in the rain, delighted to have dragged in a few of leafy Surrey’s teenagers to form a backdrop.

Then with three hours, 14 minutes and 34 seconds left of the window, there White was, in a backstage area of Sky Sports News studios making funny faces and adjusting his tie. Was he about to make an appearance? Sadly no. It was just a teaser. A teaser – for a news-presenting shift. In the background you could hear the sound of television eating its own carrion.

He did make an entrance 10 minutes later in what was possibly the most cringeworthy newsroom scene since that TV blooper favourite with the American newscaster asking her (male) weather presenter about the absence of forecast snow with the question: “So Bob, where were those eight inches you promised me last night?”

White and a few other Sky stalwarts invaded the studio, ordering Cottee out of his chair, to much sycophantic guffawing. He may have shouted “It’s my turn now”, or we may just have imagined it. But it summed up what is wrong with the transfer window: the whole thing is so darned contrived, especially if it is a quiet one like last Friday’s was. “What a start,” White shouted, 45 minutes into his shift, after precisely nothing had happened.

Yes, there is an excitement about the expectation – often unfulfilled – of that big name clinching a deal and the reporters up and down the country do a good job of keeping the pace up. But the cult of personality that White has attempted to conjure just doesn’t work; he has fallen hard into self-parody.

There was worse to come. Gary Cotterill, reporting from West Ham’s training ground, had a total lack of news (“It’s a frugal window for the Hammers”, he said through gritted teeth) so he instead reported that a woman named Lucy had delivered some pizza to him.

As we watched Cotterill chew a slice for a full five seconds, we could see that in the absence of anything happening, the reporters had become the story. Gonzo? One of the muppets, anyway.

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week