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Boot Sale

Inside the Strange and Secret World of Football's Transfer Window
Narrated by: Rich Keeble
Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

For football fans who hungrily feed on gossip and rumour, Christmas comes twice a year - once in August and again in January. These are the months when the transfer window dominates thoughts, when the prospect of a new signing or two reinvigorates the hopes and dreams of the hopelessly devoted.  

Nige Tassell goes behind the scenes to observe the workings of the transfer window and to examine why it continues to hold such fascination for a nation of football lovers. He speaks to players, managers, chairmen, agents, scouts, analysts, fans, journalists, broadcasters and even bookmakers to hear how they survive - and possibly prosper from - these red-letter months in the football calendar. Completely up to date to include key action from the 2018/19 transfer window. 

Nobody writes about football like Nige Tassell: poignant, funny, nostalgic and reminds us why we love the game.

©2019 Nige Tassell (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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A compilation of bland and frustrating interviews

If you're expecting to listen to a compelling story by an insider speaking to agents behind big player trades then you're in for a major dissappointment. This is a flat compilation of portraits about several current & ex- footballers, media reporters and low level agents - all people readily available to anyone working in media. You're not going to hear from or about the super agents like Jorge Mendes or Mino Raiola, instead we're presented with Matt Le Tissier and the chapter about his agency reads like an advertising, it's free from any insight and instead laden with phrases that try to paint a picture that unlike many other agents in the game, Le Tisser only has the player's best interests at heart: "We want to make sure players get the most out of their careers and not just with the biggest bank balance they possibly could." That's exactly what every agent says trying to sign a player. If that wouldn't be off putting for relevance, the real frustration starts after as it emerges the author is locked into a 'looking back' view of the world: The chapter portraying Ian Dennis, the BBC reporter for the transfer (described as having a 'forensical approach to transfer stories' - name any sports reporter who wouldn't say the same about her/himself?) provides no value as in order to assert his authority, Dennis reflects back on the Andy Carroll move to Liverpool being his 'career highlight' in regards to hearing first about an incoming transfer stories. This is an event that happened about 10 years ago - given the really big money transfers started to kick in only since then, more than anything this goes to show how Dennis is outdated today. This is followed with the chapter about Jim White, who is introduced in an outright brazen way: "One man above anyone else has become synonymous with transfer deadline day. One man whose voice rings louder and more excitedly than all others. He barks his lines with gusto and certainty even when the news is unconfirmed. Sketchy rumours receive the same delivery. He is the physical manifestation of the closing window, his excitement level going up as the clock ticks down. He is a vulcano just about to erupt. He is Jim White of Sky Sports News." Despite the complete lack of professional distance between author and intervieww, Jim White is completely irrelevant to any transfer - the whole chapter is proof that the book's subtitle 'Inside the strange and secret world of Football's transfer window' becomes ever more misleading. However, the worst awaits in Chapter 9, just read this: "7.00am - Phil Jones alarm clock goes off at the usual hour. After the first couple seconds of groggy confusion, he doesn't remember its the last day of January but its Transfer Deadline Day! When the clouds do part and the significance of the day kicks in he starts smiling. (...) This isn't Phil Jones, the footballer - waking up in a mansion in Alderley Edge and anticipating welcome one or two new team mates in the Old Trafford dressing room - this is Phil Jones, the IT engineer waking up in a modest semi in anticipation of a day sat in front of the gogglebox. Phil is a 'deadline day addict' and has been for years! Going right back to his University days when he and his housemates would bunk off lectures to take part in the high drama or otherwise of the transfer day closure. These days it's a solo pursuit. (...) By 7am he's taken up his position for the next 16 hours - all day and some of the night. He's on the sofa in the front room - the TV is on and tuned to Sky Sports News. The laptop is on and tuned to Twitter! There's a large cafetiere of steaming coffee in front of him - he's in for the duration. (...) Despite to what could become an anti climatic day, Phil has devised a strategy to help him through to 11pm to keep his interest sharp - when he used to be in the company of his college pals, drinking games were had usually in the sort of deadline day bingo. As a solo pursuit, he's a little more sober - each time a done deal is announced today, Phil will allow himself a visit to the kitchen to raid the biscuit tin!" If this isn't completely made up garbage then I don't know what is. The only good parts are the chapters about Benik Afobe, Harry Bunn and Glenn Murray, in which the players have the opportunity to reflect on their careers, pleasently untinged by the author's words. Possibly the worst book about football I've wasted my time on.