BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker
« Previous | Main | Next »

Fun and games on Transfer Deadline Day

Post categories:

Dan Walker | 19:55 UK time, Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Last week's blog turned out to be something of a hit. It seems that reminiscing about three-and-in and wall-ball or W.E.M.B.L.E.Y is a favourite pastime for many of us.

I hope you enjoyed Saturday's show. We had two quality jackets on the show: Kenny and the one being worn by David Ginola. I don't know many people who would turn up on the sofa wearing a leather beauty but he seemed to get away with it.

It was interesting to hear him say that Kevin Keegan stopped him going to Barcelona when he was at Newcastle. The Spanish side put in a £12m bid but, with Andy Cole having left the previous season, Keegan told Ginola he had to stay at St James' Park.

Quite a relevant story, given how things turned out on what we will soon be referring to as TDD. Transfer Deadline Day captivated radio, television and online audiences - only England vs. Slovenia has attracted more users on the BBC website! Twitter was awash with rumour and insight as the big money moves unfolded.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

There was a great comment from former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan during the afternoon saying how the whole thing reminded him of an auction after a wine-fuelled dinner. Those who spend big wake up the next morning rubbing their heads saying 'how much did I pay for that'?

I spent most of the day sorting out the Walker family shed. In the two years since building the beast it has become home to all manner of items, all of which are impossible to find when you actually need them.

When the Andy Carroll situation started to develop I was trying to piece together various parts of a screwdriver set that has been unused since Christmas 2009. I had a cheeky source who was very close to the Carroll camp.

Early in the morning I checked in with him and was told there was no sign of Carroll to Anfield coming off. As the day developed, and Torres to Chelsea looked increasingly nailed on, Carroll's people swung into action and I kept ringing my information into the BBC's transfer hub from the bottom of the garden.

It's always interesting to see how various parties try to absolve themselves from blame in these situations. The club don't want the fans to target them and the player is desperately attempting to avoid looking greedy.

It's my understanding that Andy Carroll didn't want to leave Newcastle until information was leaked that he the club would accept a bid of £35m. There are always two sides to these stories but it's worth bearing those things in mind before painting your 'Judas' banners.

It also seems that Spurs had a late look at the striker to see if he would consider White Hart Lane over Anfield... the answer was 'no'.

My favourite part of the day was Choppergate. Fernando Torres was apparently on his way to Chelsea in a helicopter when in actual fact he was still having a cup of tea in Liverpool!

Meanwhile, Carroll was flying from the north-east to the north-west and Charlie Adam had a Blackpool donkey standing by at Bloomfield Road. I had visions of Blue Thunder meets Airwolf in the skies over England but sadly it was nowhere near as dramatic as it could have been.

I celebrated shed completion with a creme egg and pork pie combo and listened to Ian Dennis on BBC Radio 5 Live with his 17 mobile phones ringing regularly with hot transfer news. It was also good to listen to Harry Redknapp in the early evening saying that Spurs had only made one bid on deadline day... for Phil Neville.

I'm sure Sir Alex and Lord Wenger were sitting back and watching the madness unfold from their mansions.

This week on Focus we've got an interview lined up with the man who signed Torres at Anfield... Rafa Benitez. I'm interested to see what he has to say about the star striker, Liverpool, Inter Milan, the Premier League season and managing in England again himself. Walter Smith and Matt Jarvis will also feature so it should be another packed one.

If you've got any questions for Mr Benitez let me know.

Also, after a debate in the office inspired by last week's blog, I'd be interested to know what you call the game 'It'. By 'It' I mean the one where you run after your mates to try and catch them.

Apparently 'It' is a very southern thing and 'Tag', 'Tiggy' and 'Tick' are big favourites elsewhere in the country. Your insight and comments would be much appreciated.

If you want to follow the build up to the this week's Focus the best way to do it is via twitter on


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Dan, great blog as ever, can you ask Matt what he thought of the Jarvis for England calls when he hit a good period of form.

    Was he disappointed to not make the squad?

  • Comment number 2.

    Great Blog, a nice read. I thought it was quite dramatic, SKY News only reported that Carroll and Torres went to Liverpool and Chelsea respectively only a few minutes before the deadline. Would have been nerve-racking should Spurs have signed Adam.

    A question for Mr Benitez - what's his next stop? Country manager, or a club?

  • Comment number 3.

    As a Rangers fan I was praying for a big money Adam move to bolster our finances a bit! Seems we have signed the pantomime villain in Diouf; sure he will run riot in the SPL though.

  • Comment number 4.

    I was transfixed by the TDD news, as a Liverpool fan it couldn't have been more dramatic. In the end we did ok I think, time will tell if the gambles paid off, and its a shame Blackpool played hardball over Adam. I was impressed by our owners also.

    It was 'Tig' to me and my mates!!

  • Comment number 5.

    oh yes, a question for Rafa. How much does he wish he had NESV in charge of the club when he was boss?!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Goodness Dan, no food-related paragraphs in at least the last two blogs. Disappointing.

    Seriously though, good blog as ever, interested to hear what Rafa has to say. And it's always been "Tag" when I've played it.

    Bjorn Borg

  • Comment number 7.

    Missed last weeks blogg (much heralded blogg) as my fam and I were stranded in Phillie airport over night. Arrived back in Blighty 24 hours late and just 3 hours b4 my dad's 70th birthday party.
    Enjoyed watching Saturday BBC1 for first time in 4 years. Your little interview on News 24 was interesting too. Then was distracted by emergency trip to Hospital followed by brain scans for my 6 month old.
    The garden shed thing, we have a few acres of woodland and wet-land behind our house and I have started building a large garden shed come tree house out there. Sadly 3 feet of snow have halted the project until March. My garage is already the dumping ground for all my odds and ends.
    Americans are some what confused about the transfer deadline and the sums involved. For those human beings who can understand it it makes interesting, if at times frustrating spectacle. I would like to totalize all the money spent by European top league teams for 2010 - 2011 and next season require the clubs to contribute that same amount of money to 10 charities of my choice. That would give lower league teams a chance to catch up, it would require youth development, and IMHO transform the international teams for a short period of time. It would also inject a billion + pounds into far more needy institutions that the EPL.

    The 'it' game is called Tag.

  • Comment number 8.

    It was tuggy where I was...

    The question I have is did you warm up the sausage roll? - Nothing beats a warmed up sausage roll, but some weirdos can't get that..

    Great to see King Kenny on Focus last week - and also great not to hear Steve Morison's name come up yesterday.

    All the best,

    Phillipe Albert

  • Comment number 9.

    I've done a blog on the big three deadline day deals

    for once SAF kept to his word of not buying anyone in the market, he usually syas it then buys someone out of the blue.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another fine blog Dan.
    Question for Benitez - What's wrong with English National Team/why do you think other countries are so successful ?

  • Comment number 11.

    Much as it would have been good to have seen Arsenal purchase a defender to help them out, it's also reassuring that they didn't fall victim to the disease exhibited by those paying exorbitant fee's yesterday. It's interesting that the two most expensive signings are a) out of form (Torres) and b) injured (Carroll).

    Not that I want United to win the league again, but it would be good to see Arsenal and them rewarded for their restraint on this occasion by locking out the top two positions in the league, and prospering in the Cup's.

    One version of tag/it when I was little was kiss chase with the boys chasing the girls... although I remember the slightly scary vision of Duncan Norvelle and his "chase me, chase me" catchphrase back in the Eighties but that probably didn't have much to do with Tag.

    These days I wouldn't mind betting the main tagging that goes on is on Facebook when you're identifying your friends on various photo's.

    Gordon Gekko

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh I forgot to ask what was eaten first.. Creme egg and pork pie ?

  • Comment number 13.

    #9 no offence intended particularly, but why not comment on this blog instead of trying to promote your own?

    Derek Jameson

  • Comment number 14.

    Congratulations on Crawley making it through to the next round of the FA Cup!

    Should some occasion at Old Trafford, and for Leyton Orient entertaining Arsenal. Nice bit of cash for both lower league teams.

    The transfer market madness is ridiculous, and is going to come back to bite them when UEFA/FIFA bring in those financial proberty regulations.

    Keyser Soze

  • Comment number 15.

    Great blog Dan, would be interested to hear more details on the logistics of the creme egg - pork pie combo. I assume it was pie before egg, but even that sounds a little bit odd.

    Here in Nottingham the game to which you refer was known as 'Dobby' or 'Dobby-on' depending on the variation. 'Dobby-on scarecrow' was my own particular favourite.

  • Comment number 16.

    'Tig' for me or 'Off-ground Tig' which meant you couldn't be touched if you got yourself off the ground somehow. If you were touched you then became 'it'.

    Could you thank Señor Benitez for the chaos he left at Liverpool. It's been quite entertaining since he left.

    Gary Bailey

  • Comment number 17.

    Question to Mr Benitez:

    What constitutes a fact? Is it a statistic, or a baseless assertion? And who is a superior manager, yourself or Mr Mourinho?

    'It': Yeah I had a cousin that wanted to play that when i was a lad... now I know what it means! He just hit me and went 'you're it' and I stood there looking lost!

  • Comment number 18.

    Questions for Rafa:

    What does he think of Luis Suarez, Liverpool's new number 7?


    Would he ever decide to manage one of Liverpool's rivals if the opportunity arose (Man United, Chelsea or Everton) even though he has connections with Liverpool?

  • Comment number 19.

    It was called 'Tig' for me too, I thought that, as well as 'slam,' were country-wide but thanks to this blog i know they are only West Midlands-wide. Did anyone play 'Tracker?' It was a bit like tig but you could make yourself safe by getting to a designated point.. Kind of a cross between hide and seek, tig and stuck in the mud really. That was where the good times were at for me!

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks for the invite Dan. It's the first time I've checked out your blog, nice one!

    Re: "It"

    I seem to remember calling the game "he". A game of "he" around the estate... mmm many years ago.

    To Rafa: PS Thank you for your integrity, loyalty, honesty, and service, you are fondly remembered in our hearts, and The Spirit of Istanbul will live forever in our history. YNWA

    My question: Fernando Torres left Liverpool for a "big club" to challenge for trophies. As you know both Liverpool FC and Fernando well, does his move say more about the player or the club?

  • Comment number 21.

    It was tick in my school days, my son now says tag.

    Could you ask Rafa if in hindsight he was wrong to try and swap Alonso for Barry, which ultimately led to his leaving the following summer. Alonso was the heartbeat of that team, utterly baffling, like attempting to swap your Aston Martin with a Mondeo. Alonso's exit was the main reason for last year's terrible season and deservedly led to Rafa's sacking.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm sure it was 'tag' when I was growing long ago though.

    Good blog as usual. You are right about the contrasting stories coming out of St James' Park. The thing is, its not Carroll looking greedy or Ashley selling the star player we should be worried about. How about the fact that fans who have paid good money into the club deserve to be treated with a bit of respect and be given some honest communication. Its their club too.

    I've written a blog about this aspect of it at

    Not as good as yours but hopefully worth a read...

  • Comment number 23.

    I've got a question for Rafa. Why couldn't you have signed Torres for Inter that would have solved everyone's problems.

    Seriously though, could you ask him if he'd ever consider joining a newly formed Liverpool boot room with a view to eventually returning with a greater understanding of the ideals of the club?

    P.S. We used to call that game 'HE' and shout "He" when we HEed someone!

  • Comment number 24.

    Great blog Dan. Care to ask your source to shed any light on why Caroll was so against joining Spurs vs Liverpool seeing as they could offer him Champions League football?

    The 'it' game was always called bulldog at my school with 2 safe zones at either end of the playground.

    In light of all the commings & goings yesterday, could you ask Rafa what he has thought of as his biggest success & biggest failure in the transfer market while at Liverpool?

  • Comment number 25.

    Is Andy Carroll's £35m transfer a good deal for Newcastle?

  • Comment number 26.

    Firstly, please refrain from promoting your own blogs on other peoples' blogs. They're usually rubbish anyway.

    Secondly, a question for Rafa The Gaffer: does he ever envision a return to the PL? Or has he burnt his bridges?

    Thirdly, Torres at Chelski? Bargain or not?

    Fourthly, it's 'tig' where I come from (somewhere oop North).

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    "it" is called least we called it that when i wasn't too old to play it, lol

  • Comment number 29.

    Interesting Blog Dan. I thought selling Torres was a great bit of business for Liverpool. It's been obvious for the last few months that he hasn't been happy and that has reflected in his performances.

    My favourite version of tig, as we called it, was "kick the can" This was where a tin can (or something similar) was stood upright in a specific place. One person was 'it' and had to tig everyone else while defending the can. The players who weren't 'it' could run up to the can and kick it as far away as they could, so the person who was 'it' had to get the can and set it back in it's original place before they could tig anyone else. It was particularly fun trying to kick the can into a garden or on to a busy road.

    David Prowse

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi Dan,

    Great blog as always.

    I'd like to know from Rafa if he thought Torres should have been more loyal to Liverpool?
    As a Liverpool fan I understand that we're not in a place to win things right now, and that Torres has that desire. Fair enough. But the way he conducted himself and the things he's said since his move have left a very bitter taste. Personally, i would have loved him to give it until the end of the season and see how he got on with Suarez. That could have been a great partnership. But it'd be nice to hear Rafa's views on it.

    Regards the game, it was called "It" where i was from. Thankfully not "It" from the Stephen King film! :-)
    We also played a huge game of hide and seek, but i can't remember for the life of me what it was called. Someone usually buried their face in a lamp post and counted slowly to 50, while everyone else legged it and hid. The object of the game was for the "hiders" to get back to the lamp post and touch it before the "counter" could spot them. I think they used to say something like "50/50 I see Craig!", but they couldn't say it unless they were touching the lamp post.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Dan

    Firstly, tag.

    Secondly, please ask Mr Benitez whether he now recognises that his obsession with politicising his role within each of his last 2 clubs has been futile and ultimately been entirely negative for the club, players and supporters in each case?? You might want to toss him a couple of looseners first mind!!


  • Comment number 32.


    It's Tig or Tiggy Off Ground. Rafa wouldn't be able to play it as his bulk would be a disadvantage. Speed and agility were key.

    TDD was barking mad. I think all true fans will be glad Blackpool managed to hang onto Adam. A lesson for Newcastle there. Why on earth did Redknapp want him when he already has Modric? Like I say barking. Torres and Carroll are both panic buys.

    Can you ask Rafa why he failed to bring any youth talent through at a club with a rich history of achieving this? And can he still be considered to be a top manager having won so little since leaving Spain?

    Why does he place so much emphasis on tactics to nullify the opposition rather than pure free flowing attractive football? And finally does he realise how counter- productive and silly his "Facts" outbursts were?

    'Nando, West London

  • Comment number 33.

    TDD?? Sounds like a horrible affliction to be honest. This transfer window should be scrapped really and transfers should be allowed at any time. I really don't understand the need for one in the modern game as contracts between clubs and players are fairly meaningless anyway.

  • Comment number 34.

    It was caled Tig where I am from and the other game someone referred to before where you hid and then had to get back to a safe point was called 1, 2, 3. As in, "1, 2, 3 and in" when you got back.

    I think you should ask Rafa whether he actually regrets his outburst at a fellow professional manager with a bit of hindsight. I'd also ask him whether he likes a pork pie on the quiet!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Questions for Rafa
    - What is your opinion of 'expert' pundits who banged on about your zonal marking and rotation at the same time as completely ignoring 1. all goals conceded by man marking 2. other sides rotating all of the time?

    - Which was your biggest achievement? 2 Spanish titles, a UEFA Cup, a European Cup, an FA Cup or finishing 2nd in the Premier league with 86 points with a '2 man team'?

    - Is it a fact that a manager has to be one of Fergie's mates to get a good press in this country?

    - Which side spent the least net whilst you were in charge? Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Villa or Spurs?

  • Comment number 36.

    It was always 'It' for me... Apologies for the pun!

  • Comment number 37.

    Transfer highlight was the capture of Jimmy Bullard.Scored last night as well.Still,3 more games to go before he breaks down for 9 months.Plus we managed to hold on to Connor Wickham as well.

    Tig/tag etc we played at school using a tennis ball.You used to stand in a circle with your legs open (mods,please bear with me)kicking a tennis ball round like a pinball.If it went through your legs you were "on".To catch people you had to hit them with the ball.The other way to get someone "on" was if you caught a throw from them "on the full" or without it bouncing.

    The downside to this game was the fact you always managed to hit some innocent bystander with an errant throw.I suppose that would be called "collateral damage" now....

    John Le Mesurier

  • Comment number 38.

    good blog dan, we used to call it 'KIT', or 'kiss, cuddle and torture' with the girls in school.

    ahh the memories!

  • Comment number 39.

    Regarding the game, it was Tick where I came from and once caught you became the chaser who was known as It.

    Questions for Rafa.

    What does he think of Torres's footballing psyche? is he too mercurial in his pursuit of glory to be a great team player? and how does Rafa think he will adjust and fit in with life down south?

    What's his assessment of Andy Carroll for Liverpool particularly in respect of the reported fee?

    And lastly, if he were asked which areas of the Liverpool first team would he be spending money to strengthen in the summer? with prospective names to back up the positions please.

    Looking forward to the programme.

  • Comment number 40.

    dan ask rafa how he feels for single handedly crippling liverpool?

    tell him id like to buy him a pint sometime ;0)

  • Comment number 41.

    Great blog as usual Mr Walker.

    We used to call 'It', 'Catchy' being Scotiish that is an abbreviation of 'Catch-You'.

    Might just be a scottish thing.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Dan,

    Ive been an avid reader of your blog for ages and finally felt compelled to start leaving some comments!

    Can you ask Walter Smith some questions??

    Also it would be superb if you could do a piece on the highland league and how the scottish league system robs areas of a local team with no pyramid system in place unlike england where fans know that promotion is a distinct possibility.

    In the Highlands we played a game called "Hares and Hounds" where 2 people would begin as hounds the rest were hares who had to hide within a pre-agreed radius, once caught you became a hound! fantastic game to play in a small village at night!

    Fillip Sebo

  • Comment number 43.

    Good work & good blog, Mr Walker.
    Congratulations to you on the FA Crawley Town result and next draw.

    Should be an interesting show with Matt Jarvis.

    Thought the shed was something to do with Chelsea!

    “Tick”, “it” and these days “tikkertje´, which translates to tag!

  • Comment number 44.

    On the Wirral, it's 'tick' (or 'kiss chase' if you're more daring).

    I'd like to know Rafa's thoughts on the youngsters coming through at Anfield. Him and his drones always talked of the great youth generation coming through the ranks, but which seem to have disappeared from the footballing system somewhere. As a Tranmere I've seen a few of the Liverpool academy players and don't think there as much to talk about as many Reds make out.

    I'd particularly like to know how far he thinks Martin Kelly will go (next Carragher, or next Warnock) and his thoughts on the development of Dale Jennings, the Tranmere wonder-kid he let go not too long ago. He must have some interesting thoughts on the younger generation of Liverpool players, as well as some insights into the quality of English yougnsters generally given how many overseas players he like to sign for the academy.

  • Comment number 45.

    Afternoon all. Thanks for all your comments. I was slightly thrown by the blog going up on a tuesday - I'm normally a late Wednesday or early Thursday man myself.

    Some great questions for Mr Benitez. I'm really looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow - the last time was his last week at Anfield. Hopefully he'll have some interesting things to say for himself.

    Delighted to see some long time readers first time commenters come along. A spectacularly warm welcome to The Gazelles #42.

    I'm sorry i can't respond as much as possible. On a train to Liverpool a the moment and doing this on an iPhone. Every time i scroll up to look at comments my writing disappears at the bottom.

    Keep those questions coming. I'm chatting to him sometime tomorrow.

    Bruno Cheyrou

  • Comment number 46.

    Maybe ask for his thoughts on the mighty Bruno Cheyrou?

    Looking forward to the Rafa interview. £5 says he still bangs on about "koala-tea".

    Torben Piechnik

  • Comment number 47.

    You chatted with 'him' yet? By the way your blog has been dead for 23 hours.

  • Comment number 48.

    Nice work as ever Dan, you're currently wrestling with Fletch for best BBC Blogger.
    It was Tig around these parts (Bolton). We played Hares and Hounds - essentially team-based tig and games lasted for hours/days. Talking of which, I loved the footy matches that lasted for days in the playground... 89-87, play on.
    The Fall Guy

  • Comment number 49.

    Dan tell Rafa that Ive figured out his riddle!! It was a pig in drag! Impossible indeed!

    Anyway, so, why was it?

    Oh yeah I had a joke to tell you, A turtle and a donkey are at the top of a hill and the turtle turns to the donkey and says...

    oh hang on there some one at the door, hand fire


    oh for pete sake

    sorry pete

    no im not interested, it wasnt me who invented yoghurt it was trevor at no.49, I merely said I like the way it sounded

    no i dont think that is in anyway slanderous. if I told you what him and his yoghurt got up to that would be nothing more than fact.

    I dont care what shape are claiming, I like the way they all sound.

    Except munch bunch. Dont like the sound of that at all.

    anyway, like i said, wrong guy, again, so please update your records and be on your way.


    Right I'm back sorry where was I, oh yeah,

    So they went home and the donkey never ate radishes again.

    Peter Simon

  • Comment number 50.

    Just wanted to add my congrats to Arsenal for being above the EPL's money-tossing wannabes in desperate search for success at any price (literally). In fact, far from joining the gambling frenzy, Wenger's contribution to the January window was to buy no one while loaning out nine (count 'em) nine Arsenal players to other clubs!

  • Comment number 51.

    Thanks for the welcome Dan, i too am a food fanatic and will endeavor to comment on your various cake/biscuit/sandwich fuelled adventures! If your feeling like you need a toe tapper to type to check out the gazelles music page on the book of faces! no more plugs i promise!

    Another fantastic childhood game was "kerby" where you had to throw a football off the opposite kerb for a point or catch it for 2!

    Terry Hurlock

  • Comment number 52.

    In Northern Ireland we call "it" Chasies becuase you cahse each other, or if you playing in groups of boys and girls it was called catchy kissy because if you caught a girl you kissed her!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Transder Deadline day was amazing. As a Liverpool fan it was sad to see Torres leave but it's good to see a more attacking minded change at Anfield. I read on a poker forum Reina may want to move to Man UTD in the summer. roulette Would take 30mil..


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.