Who cares what players do on the pitch once you’ve signed them?

Barry Glendenning
·6-min read


When Paul Rideout won the 1995 FA Cup final for his side with a first-half header, delirious Everton fans could not conceivably have imagined that it would be over a quarter of a century before their team would win another trophy. And while there is no actual silverware presented for winning a transfer window, the mouth-foaming of an increasing number of fans on various social media disgraces suggests it is the competition they most value – after all, who cares what players do on the pitch once you’ve signed them, as long as you manage to get them in the door in the first place?

Related: Transfer window verdict: how every Premier League club fared

In signing James Rodríguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré, who have been busy repaying significant chunks of their new employer’s outlay while other clubs were engaged in unseemly scrambles to get new players in the door, Everton already had an unassailable lead in the Pandemic Window, while the arrival of Ben Godfrey on a deadline day that coincided with Theo Walcott and Moise Kean heading off for pastures new merely cemented their position as victors. This despite a late surge by Arsenal, who continued their high profile exercise in fat-trimming by shipping out Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and a man who dresses up as a dinosaur on the same day they hosed £45m in the direction of Atlético Madrid for a new midfielder … while continuing to pay Mesut Özil £350,000 a week to run laps of the training ground.

Meanwhile at Old Trafford, like a frustrated parent jangling his keys in the face of a crying child in an effort to cause a distraction, Ed Woodward marked deadline day by unveiling Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles in the hope that no one would notice they weren’t Jadon Sancho. While on Sky Sports News, a dozing dog belonging to one working-from-home reporter woke up and started licking himself live on television in what was arguably the most appropriate and perfectly layered visual metaphor for the occasion and how the station covers it of all time.

With the transfer window now shut and their business done, Premier League clubs are now free to focus their attention exclusively on the far less important and dreary business of actually playing football, an activity that is becoming more and more surreal with each passing week since March. Quite how long they’ll be able to continue doing so in the current climate is anyone’s guess … but if the worst comes to the worst we can always console ourselves with the fact that January isn’t too far away.


“It’s in my heart. I will probably cry, I bet, when I first play, and it means so much” – Theo Walcott, who jumped at the chance to join Arsenal after playing only 23 times for Southampton, on the red and white stripes that run through his veins.


It’s David Squires on … anarchy in the Premier League and extinct dinosaurs.


“We thought the key to glory at Arsenal was to bid adieu to Mr Wenger. Now it’s banishing Gunnersaurus to the cave marked ‘Do One?’” – JJ Zucal.

“I know that this will be covered elsewhere but on the back on yesterday’s shocking news I think it only right that we all take a moment to remember this” – David Maddock.

“Graeme Souness likely has some ‘previous’ when it comes to blaming the hardworking groundsmen who curate our football pitches [Yesterday’s Fiver] … and rightly so … I mean, witness the struggle he had to get his flag planted in Turkey back in 1996” – Allastair McGillivray.

“Come on. You know you want to. Let’s get all of those out of the way: Fight for Our Right to Partey! Partey Hard! Let’s have ourselves a Partey! Love Will Tear You APartey! [Partey like it’s] 1999! Don’t stop the Partey! Till Death do us Partey! Get this Partey Started! Partey of Two! Ain’t no Partey like a Thomas Partey because a Thomas Partey don’t stop! Aaaah, nice. Are we good now? Good” – Ursolin Waxoh.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’the day prize is … Allastair McGillivray, who wins a copy of Football’s Black Pioneers: the Stories of the First Black Players to Represent the 92 League Clubs [postage available to UK only, sorry – Fiver Postal Ed].


Xherdan Shaqiri, who is on international duty with Switzerland, has become the third Liverpool player to test positive for Covid-19.

Inverness boss John Robertson was left in a red-hot funk after his players were not allowed to shower at Elgin City. “You are asking elite athletes not to have a shower after the game, soaking wet,” he fumed. “You can go to the local gym, do a workout and you can have a socially distant shower, yet football players seem to be getting treated like cattle, and that is no disrespect to the cattle.”

Related: Men's transfer window summer 2020 – all deals from Europe's top five leagues

Hal Robson-Kanu has won The Fiver’s just-now-invented Bert Trautmann of the Day gong after revealing he soldiered on till full-time against Southampton despite having broken his arm. “Playing on for 20 minutes was pretty painful, but no way was I leaving the team to play with 10 men,” he alpha-maled.

Manchester United manager Casey Stoney has questioned the scheduling of matches ahead of the Continental Cup clash with Liverpool, expressing concern for player welfare. “I’m a little bit frustrated we are playing three-game weeks,” she said. “I look at others with less resources and players and think ‘how are they going to cope this week?’”

Danny Welbeck has mutually consented himself through the Watford door marked Do One.

Gerhard Struber has seen himself out of the Barnsley door marked Do One to become the manager of New York Fizzy Pop in the USA! USA!! USA!!

And Jack Wilshere has made a come-and-get-me plea to Fiver Towers FC after doing the same at West Ham. “I remain convinced I can still contribute at the very top of the game,” he cooed.


It’s the latest Football Weekly, coming to this hyperlink soon.


From Martin Ødegaard to Hachim Mastour: what happened to our Next Generation 2015? Marcus Christenson reveals all.

Transfer window verdict: how every Premier League club fared (Burnley fans might want to look away).

Thomas Partey: made at Atlético and now ready to break free at Arsenal. Nick Ames profiles the Gunners’ new midfielder so you don’t have to.

“Harry Maguire hasn’t always defended like a man made of jam in a world made of wasps.” Jonathan Liew’s piece on the Premier League losing the run of itself is well worth a read.

And get the lowdown an all the transfer ins and outs around Europe with our snazzy interactive.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!