• Berlin
  • Jacob Sweetman: The 2012 Elpis comeback special


Jacob Sweetman: The 2012 Elpis comeback special

The transfer window leaves football fans desperately grasping for Elpis, the ancient Greek Goddess of hope. She, however, probably can't be bothered. The Sportsdesk has some words of conciliation.

Image for Jacob Sweetman: The 2012 Elpis comeback special
Photo by Giuseppe Peronato (Wikimedia Commons)

The phrase “transfer window” grates somewhat. After all, what is the point of a window that can’t be booted in? The transfer window is surely more of a hatch – the opening to a dumb waiter, into which are piled all of our deepest wishes and sent down to Moros, who is miserably doing the washing up in the basement. Or up to his opposite number, Elpis, who will repay our lack of panic and short-sightedness with the footballer of all our dreams.

Moros is a miserable bastard. Elpis – just the opposite. It was she who hung around in Pandora’s Box, and it is she to whom our dreams depend on. The Greek goddess of hope: she’ll look after us and, to butcher a beautiful song, “If I could just touch the hem of her garment, maybe we’ll end up with that  utility player on the cheap that we´ve been missing all bloody season.“.

The end of the transfer window in Germany is the crowning of the winter break. Especially in terms of the clubs below the Bundesliga who are still yet to break open their new pairs of shin pads in earnest (disregarding their, often fruitless, winter jaunts to sunnier climes). In England it is the silly season. SKY Sports goes more insane than usual, convinced that the general public are on tenterhooks as to whom serial badge kisser Robbie Keane really used to support as a child this year.

Actually, that’s unfair. Keane has already signed for Aston Villa during his winter layoff from the LA Galaxy, but I had a beautiful image of him pop up in my head this afternoon as I saw FC Köln’s new signing, Chong Tese, give a press conference, saying that as a kid in high school in South Korea he had always played in the shirt of the Geißbocken. Of course he did, and Riyo Miyaichi spent his childhood dreaming of Bolton.

For Hertha fans, the desperate staring at the repeatedly flashing screens will have been particularly depressing. They signed the full-back Felix  Bastians last week- just in time to replace the suspended (and now injured) Christian Lell, but they need a centre back and a creative midfielder to claw back the feeling that was there seemingly only a couple of months ago that they would be fine in the middle regions of the Bundesliga this year. But it is also worth them remembering that this is a notoriously bad time to be doing good business. Prices go up exponentially as clubs get desperate.

Not that misery is confined to those who have failed to sign anyone in the mad scramble for hope, and a control over one’s own destiny. The news that 1.FC Union have signed Tijani Belaid, a guy who made his debut for Inter Milan in Series A at the age of 17, and a positive looking, attacking midfielder, still has those pits of drudgery, the Facebook comments pages, filled with harbingers of doom. The same people that always crop up. Ether a signing will be bad, or there will be no signing at all. Sometimes one wonders what on earth it is that people want at all.

For instance, Union are lucky. Their mortal enemies BFC Dynamo, whose chess pieces have been practically brushed aside by the footballing Gods that control these things, were (according to some) on the verge of re-signing former (and also former FC Union) striker Nico Patchinski – an old fashioned footballer, shall we say, who enjoyed the ambrosia a bit too much and could have done with a little bit more of the rod from the men upstairs. The BFC forum chapter on his possible recruitment ran into tens of pages until it was sniffed out by someone who actually knew what was going on.” Nico Patchinski will not be signing for BFC Dynamo,” he said with a crack of lightning and a roar of thunder.  “Now go and do something useful with your lives”.

One side who has signed three players in the winter is RW. Viktoria Mitte, squeezed into this blog because they are not only marauding through the Kreisliga C like a vampire through an orphanage for plump, juicy kids, but because their signings didn’t actually help them quite reach the magic figure of 100 goals scored this season. On Sunday they contrived to only win 1-0 so stay stranded on 99, allowing lazy writers the world over to dub them the Sachin Tendulkars of Berlin football, and allowing everyone else in the world to move on, to ignore these facetious ramblings and to go back to North Korea were you belong.

Yes, and thank you Konrad for your kind words of support, we are still waiting here at Exberliner Towers for the revolution to come. Stalin wouldn’t have put up with something as random as the transfer window and for that we thank him – and remain like the North Korean player who was so terrified by the nailed-up-Jesus in his catholic boarding house during the 1966 World Cup in England that he could not sleep due to the terror it inspired in him – just waiting for the real games to start again in earnest.