Compiled below are selected excerpts from the transcript The Transfer Window: The Film, an upcoming documentary to be broadcast on Channel 6 in early February. As will become clear, the film's (hitherto unnamed) director believes that a series of disparate vignettes will jointly reveal some truth about the nature of The Transfer Window, and, by extension, about humanity - or at least late capitalism - itself. As will also become clear, that belief is wholly mistaken.
"Kids on the streets of Rio, kicking round a ball made of socks? That's not football. Downtrodden miners desperately clinging onto the one thing in their lives that affords them a bit of pleasure? Nah. Lionel Messi scoring 18.5 goals in a lunar cycle? Pfff. THIS is football..."
...and with that, Jim White, with the panache of a children's entertainer, whips away a gold-speckled tablecloth to reveal what can only be described as a battalion of mobile telephones. A quick count reveals there to be no fewer than 19. They are colour-coded to correspond to 19 Premier League teams. (The one 'missing' colour scheme, incidentally, is that of Arsenal. I later ask White about this. A hint of a smirk drifts across his lips before the party line snaps back into action: "No reason," he deadpans.)
Jim White is the self-appointed King of The Transfer Window (which in turn is the self-appointed heart of football). According to White, anything involving an actual ball and actual physical activity is, at best, contingent. The real action occurs elsewhere: in boardrooms, out of car windows, in helicopters and in the warped minds of men influenced by the bitter evil of fans actually wanting to watch players run about on Saturdays. "The sooner we get rid of that last problem, the better," chuckles White in between sips of Bollinger.
The Africa Cup of Nations (/Africa Nations Cup/African Nations Cup/CAN/NAC/WTF) claws at the door. "Red rum, red rum," it murmurs, before adding, somewhat incongruously, "my preeeecious." As the camera cuts, the tournament is revealed in its rabid glory, scratching away at a regal doorway adorned with the words "Premier League Stability". From windows above, two or three middle-aged Scots - is that... David Moyes? - are throwing stones and hissing. The ACN/ANC/ANC/CAN must not be ignored during The Transfer Window; many managers have done just that and paid the consequences... with their lives.
When pressed, White eventually assents to my request to see where he lives. After a torrid six-hour drive in the dead of night (during which I swear I saw the same 'Welcome to St. Albans' sign at least twice), we pitch up next to a bridge. After scrambling down to the riverside, White leads us under the bridge itself, through a door with an electrical warning notice on it.
What I see stuns me. There are no telephones. There is no light (we can see only by the dull glow of my assistant's camera). In this dank room, there is nothing but a sleeping bag and an alarm clock (set for 'January', White informs me with relish). But the walls are the real draw. I can make out fragments of names in faded chalk: an 'Andy Car...' here, or a '...briel Obert...' there. Connecting the names are arrows - thousands upon thousands of them. Only one word is clearly legible to the untrained eye - and also appears to be the node from which all the other links stem. The word, written in capital letters and in multiple colours, is 'ME'.
Finally, I had come to the end of my journey. The whistleblower was right: White's preening was just a facade. He is not the King of The Transfer Window. How can you be the King of a living, breathing (at least I think it's breathing) thing?
Twisting and squelching in its giant vat, The Transfer Window appeared to size me up. The tubes leading to the supercomputer gurgled. Do you remember Krang from Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles? Well it was like that. But bigger. Much bigger.
This story goes deep. Should I fail to live to tell the tale, I only ask that... *MUFFLED SCREAMING*