View from the Sofa: Keep the yellow ties if you will, but please...no more sex toys

Transfer Deadline Day,  Sky Sports News HQ

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The Independent Football

It is hard to believe a week has passed since sports news changed forever. Or more accurately, a full seven days have whizzed by since we became unable to look at Sky Sports News in the same way ever again.

At breakfast time last Monday, the channel was just getting into its stride on the biggest day of its year: Transfer Deadline Day – its election night, Comic Relief and countdown to the apocalypse all rolled into one.

Many thought they had jumped the shark years ago with the rise of the cult of Jim White, the garish yellow and the incessant clock counting down the seconds.

And we had been bracing ourselves since the start of the season for a tabloid television thunderstrike, after seeing Sky Sports News’s new Starship Enterprise studio, redundant “HQ” suffix and new font that looks like it came straight from a niche 1970s cable TV station.

As the day progressed, there were more roving reporters, surrounded by more fans going rogue. And then, early in the evening outside Everton’s training ground, one went too far.

The incident has been viewed so many times on social media that it doesn’t need to be described in detail here. But put it this way: if Alan Irwin discovers a cure for cancer, invents a perpetual motion machine or even comes up with a smartphone app that keeps beer cold, he will still forever be known as The Man Who Had a Purple Sex Toy Shoved in his Ear While Live on Television.

You had to feel for Irwin; he was one of many talented reporters who worked a brutally long shift that day, trying to relay information while surrounded by people gurning and making obscene gestures.

Sky Sports News, however, should hold themselves culpable. They not only tolerate these idiots, they encourage them.

Think about it: a small band of idiots turns up to surround the reporter (who must make drying paint sound exciting) and set about swearing and lighting fireworks out of various orifices (it certainly sounded like that at Stoke at one point).

And what do Sky Sports News do about it? Shoo them away? Taser them? Nope. They buy them pizza. And it is a well-known fact that the one thing to keep a bonehead in one spot more than the slim prospect of mild fame is a high-fat, high-carb, cheese-based takeaway.

Although the commotion may have appealed to people of a certain age or intellectual capacity as part of the “bantz” of football, for the rest of us it was painful.

A week on we still feel soiled, as if a pillar of the community (OK, the guy in the ticket booth at the train station) had just been caught dogging.

So in a bid to return Transfer Deadline Day coverage from a freak show to a news service, here’s some advice for Sky Sports.

By all means, have your fun with it. Let Jim pretend he’s anchoring a world-shaking event. Hell, keep the clock and yellow ties if it makes you happy. But please, do all you can to keep the dildo-wielding dunderheads off our screens.

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