Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Like many people, I prefer sunshine to rain, warm to cold. I suspect, if I were to go get a diagnosis of anything I’d be a full on candidate for SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

When that big glowing thing in the sky is out, I am happy. When it’s not, well, it’s not to say I’m unhappy, but I find myself more and more thinking about what it would be like to live somewhere where rain is occasional rather than constant.

Yes, I hear you say, you lived in Barcelona, a city in a country where the rain falls mainly on the plain, and this is very true. The key point here is ‘lived’, that is past tense. I no longer live there. I live in Ireland. If they were to make a movie about this country (that didn’t star Tom Cruise doing the worst ta-tee-ta-taaah Oirish accent of all toime), it would be called:

Ireland – The Wettening


Ireland – The Soaking has just begun


Ireland – Yer drenched but sure it’s grand, have a pint

I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I’ve put the cover over the barbecue after a brief sunny interlude (answer: I didn’t, and Irish rain comes with extra rust built-in as standard); or which jacket to wear when the time of year suggests I really should be able to just go out in a t-shirt. But hey, that’s part and parcel of living in a land so inclement that even James Joyce himself referenced it in the opening line of Ulysses:

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, his galoshes dewy as he prepared to take his canoe down Duke Street.

Yet this time of year there’s another disorder to worry about. SSAD (Silly Season Affective Disorder). It has nothing to do with rain or saturation of any kind; it is not brought about by sunshine, or lack of it; nor by darkened evenings or sombre skies. It is something which affects only football fans (although there may be knock-on effects for the families of those afflicted), for in the absence of the game itself something must fill the void.

There are some who can find other pursuits, spending time being creative or simply enjoying life and what it brings away from the weekend to weekend grind of association football. They may find fulfillment in travel, different sports, reading, writing, building, mending, music, arts, culture, people, language or, indeed, intercourse (of varying kinds but being football fans most likely the spoken one) with others.

Yet many of them … of us I should say – because although I understand fully the perils of this time of year, having lived it time and time and time again, I too fall prey – get sucked in, like tiny little Millennium Falcons into the belly of the Death Star. We know most of it is nonsense, we know that agents cosy up to journalists to make stories to benefit them (and subsequently their client, the footballer, the one with the modicum of talent beyond wheeler-dealery), we know that clubs get involved too, and that it’s all like a gigantic marketplace where everybody is out to rip off everybody as much as possible, but it’s kinda fun too.

I use that word carefully but with context. Is it as much fun as sitting on the shoreline eating a sausage sandwich swigging from a bottle of cava with not a care in the world? No. Nor is it is as much fun as [insert about a billion things here – ed], but when you don’t have a shoreline that won’t freeze your balls off when you sit it in, nor the ability to laze around in that warm, enveloping sea, and out your window is a cold, grey concrete view of an office block or a business park, or next door’s constantly barking dog, then it has its place.

The key, of course, is knowing how much bollocks it all is, mostly. This is illustrated perfectly, and has been for many a long year now, by the silly season blog, which details all the players we are linked with. When put alongside those who we actually sign, well … you know yourself. It is a season which demands not just pinches of salt, but gigantic shovel-fulls on a daily basis.

From the sensational swoop to the war-chest; from battling countless clubs for a player who nobody ends up signing, to contract rebels; and from mulling, considering, targetting and planning ‘talks’ to the Sky driven ‘drama’ of deadline day, it’s all ahead of us.

There are those who will take it all so seriously (the same kind of people who took seriously the broadcast of War of the Worlds, running about like Chicken Licken), but if you think of it as a movie, a bit of entertainment, and suspend your belief until things actually happen, it gives you something to do in these summer months. Unless you can find something better to do.

Which, if you’re reading this, you probably can’t. Still, we’re in it together. Dewy galoshes and all. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to wax my canoe.

Stop that.

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