Shut that window!
In these snowbound times, when children are not allowed to go to school and posties are keeping their feet warm by the fire 'cos the Post Office don't want their delivery boys suing them for making them go outside without off-site ice-skate training, there's one cry that I can wholly agree with: Shut That Window!
I mean the transfer window, of course. That potty little portal that turns the middle of the football season into some bizarre jumble sale.
I forget why it's here, now. You'd think tired old hacks came up with the idea after they got too knackered chasing football agents up and down the country all season long and thought condensing the whole farrago into one short month would give 'em plenty of time for a nice, whisky-soused lie-down. It's the only argument in favour if you ask me.
Maybe Fifa looked at the way houses are bought and sold in this country - two-faced, hair-gelled Bentleyesque intermediaries with a First Class Honours in Ducking and Diving, shuttling from one set of ignoramuses to another while their fat percentages bulge - was the perfect idea for how to trade employees in this day and age.
Whatever the reason, it doesn't make sense. I'm with Steve Coppell. The whole charade makes me think of hormonally-challenged housewives clamouring for tuppenny T-shirts outside Primark 10 minutes before the sale starts. It's ugly.
Or penny-pinching old biddies at the local bring 'n' buy. (Mind you, even they wouldn't sell summat for 12p that they bought six months ago for 20p and never ever wore. That's daylight Robbie-ry.)
And when did Charlie Insomnia suddenly become worth the rumoured six million quid Wigan paid for him? Incidentally I think Joe Kinnear was unfairly slated by Zog's agent for getting his name wrong. It's a tradition for Newcastle managers to be pismanunciators - just ask Kevin Dyer! In fact, you only have to listen to Joe describe his team-sheet for Saturday to know that he didn't mean to insult the French stropper:
"Right lads, here's who's playing... cough, splutter... Stevey Sharpener, Stevey Sailor, Bassoon, Colappuccino, Josie Enrique Iglesias, Gutsy Heiress, Butt (thank God you've signed a new contract or we'd've lost all that creativity in the middle of the park, eh Nicky?), Colleen Nolan, Dame Eileen Duffy, Oh Carroll, and... Shoreline, ermm, Shoulder, errmm... cough, splutter... Sheila Andababy. As for you Clovendance - ermm, Lavachance - ermm - Loadapantz - ermmm..... as for you Peter, you're on the bench, son."
The transfer window creates a wholly artificial system and doesn't stop the mighty and the wealthy flexing their muscles - it just gives the likes of Daniel Levy a chance to indulge in pointless brinksmanship.
Even then the deadline seems to be as flexible as the Blue Bell's last orders. If you're the right person (i.e. me) you can always sneak a pint or three after 11. The Defoe/Benjani kerfuffle last year and Arshavin's 13th-hour signing this year suggests that the Premier League can be very understanding when it needs to be. I say the Premier League should be in charge of wheel-clampers too.
Time and again teams that really need an addition to the squad can't get one without begging. Everton have had to play without strikers for a fair while (mind you, so have Boro as far as I can tell) and Spurs have been desperate for a keeper while the lad Gomes was flapping around like a bat in a wardrobe every time the ball got crossed into the box.
I'm all for there being a line in the season past which you can't nick your rival's best striker. And I'm all for players being cup-tied if they've played for someone else. And loans are fine. But you should be able to make a bid for someone when you want to, if you feel it's necessary.
"Lot 24 is this tall elegant egotist, made from South African timber and English willow. What am I bid? 85? 90? 95? Oh don't worry anything over 95 and he just gives it away." I was a bit surprised to hear Goughie and Corky were being touted, mind. That's not so much antiques Roadshow, more Cash in the Attic.
So let's hope there's a rethink. 'Cos at the moment it's run with all the precision of an ITV live footie broadcast. That was shocking wasn't it on Wednesday night? The football, I mean. Never mind them playing ads and missing the vital goal - I was praying for commercial breaks throughout the whole bleeding game.
Every time Carragher or Lescott comfortably interrupted another feeble attempt on the opposition goal I was shouting "Come on ITV! Let's see some back-to-back-price comparison website ads! Let's watch Lenny Henry having a disturbing relationship with a rubber duck! Anything but Dirk Blinking Kuyt."
Rafa won't be that bothered about getting knocked out of the Cup - what he will be worried about is Gerrard's hamstring and Torres spending the game looking like he'd had to walk in to work from Cheshire 'cos of the snow.
Rafa's players do seem to get tired before anyone else's don't they? I'll pray for their recoveries, 'cos if they're done for, the Premier League's over for this season. Full stop. If only there was no transfer window, Rafa could be chasing down David Villa as we speak.