Like most football fans I'm glued to the TV when it's transfer deadline day, in the vain hope that my team will buy the talisman that we need to get promoted and chase trophies. When I say "talisman", I mean a tough tackling midfielder, the granite jawed captain figure, Mr Dependable. Not something that you wear around your neck in Skyrim.
With most of the focus on deadline day being around the move of a 37 year old fashion model to a rich club in a terrible league, you may have missed out what happened to your club in the Premier League. I was half watching TV and playing Football Manager, but I got the gist of it. Here's an easy summary of what went on, club by club.
It was all about loaning back for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He bought highly rated Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and loaned him back to the Eagles for the rest of the season, then bought off several referees - loaning them back to the Premier League for their use until he needs a penalty or seven minutes adding on at the end of the game. His search to find an even older looking twentysomething than synthetic-haired potato-head Wayne Rooney and greying horseface Robin Van Persie proved fruitless.
Mario Balotelli moved back to Italy, taking with him a horde of tabloid journalists whose job was to goad him into making headlines by giving him fireworks, posing as tramps and selling him giant hats. Balotelli waved goodbye to fans at the airport, then shot Roberto Mancini's dog, before hugging Mancini, telling him he was like a father through floods of tears, and stabbing him in the neck with an Ikea pencil.
Rafa Benitez wanted to buy himself some dignity, but this was sadly not to be found anywhere. The Spaniard was last seen sitting outside Fulham Broadway station wearing a sign around his neck saying "I REALLY AM A GOOD MANAGER" on one side and "YOU TRY WORKING FOR A BOND VILLAIN" on the other. Fernando Torres has been replaced with a lookalike dummy that was previously employed in a fashionable Kings Road boutique, as it costs the club less in carrots, oats and other donkey-based foodstuffs. The whereabouts of the real Torres is thought to be in a giant fishtank in Roman Abramovich's holed-out volcano lair, with sharks circling him as we speak.
Spurs fans really wanted a new striker, midfielder, winger, centre back, full back, goalkeeper, coach, kit man and manager to go with their mistaken belief that they're a massive club that deserve to win trophies by simply existing. Gareth Bale decided to stay at the club after listening to 606 three weeks in a row and not being criticised by a single Spurs fan that called in - a new record for any player at the club. Manager Antonio Villas Boas has announced that he is publishing a written account of this season called "I'm Sorry That I'm Not Harry".
Marouane Feilleini remained at the club, meaning that novelty clown wig retailers all over Merseyside can pay their bills for another six months. Everton were desperate to sign a player that someone had heard of during the window, so that casual fans all over the country could refer to a player by name from within their squad rather than just "that dirty Belgian lad with the hair", "Ashley Cole's deputy for England", "the goalie with tourettes" or "that lad from Rangers that looks like a stretched Andrei Kanchelskis".
Rumour has it that Arsene Wenger woke up in the middle of the night, startled and drenched in sweat, terrified after realising that he'd been employing Andre Santos as a professional footballer. Santos is a player so bad that former Southampton con artist Ali Dai looks at him and starts sending the CV out to clubs once again. They have since signed a replacement called Nacho, delighting headline writers across the country who have never been able to top the 1990s Arsenal headline "Wenga Wonga Makes Bergy Linga Longa".
The Reds are now the team of greed after signing Daniel "I can't pass" Sturridge to play with Luis "I can't look you in the eyes" Suarez and Steven "Never mind, I'll just do it myself" Gerrard. With three months to go before the Anfield faithful forget last season and start asking for King Kenny to return again to lead them to the promised land (I think that might be in Egypt somewhere), manager Brendan Rogers snapped up a couple of young targets and a very experienced solicitor for his son.
Surprise star Michu signed a new contract at Swansea, distracting us all from the fact that he really looks like the lead singer of 1990s Britpop band Reef. The area around the old Vetch is now known as "Little Madrid", with Spanish footballers as far as the eye can see. Chip Shops only sell Patatas Bravas and all meals across the city must be consumed in tapas form. Manager Michael Laudrup signed 47 new Spanish players during the window, set up a youth academy in Valencia and discovered hidden links between the Basque and Welsh languages. One ball boy has departed the club, stating that he wishes to move on to bigger things. He is to be ceremonially kicked by David Beckham at the Parc Des Princes next week.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Peter Odemwingie signed an extended contract with the doghouse after driving around every single club in the Premier League looking for someone to take him on. When this didn't happen, he tried smaller and smaller clubs until he eventually had a trial game with a dozen 9 year old kids in a playground outside Dudley. He impressed during the game, even playing rush goalie at one point - but was seen as a disruptive influence on the other players after he refused to share his 2 litre bottle of Tesco-own-brand cola with the other players. He was last seen trying to convince manager Steve Clarke that he has an evil twin.
Rory Delap made Arsene Wenger's day by leaving the Premier League for Barnsley. Stoke then signed young goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham for £4 million, proving that a goalkeeper doesn't even need to be good to command a large fee, as long as he's young and Roy Hodgson picks him for England. Remember, YOU'RE third choice keeper for the England side at the moment, according to recent OPTA stats.
Breaking with tradition somewhat, Martin O'Neill signed a player that hadn't either played for Manchester United or in Turkey, with the ridiculously inflated fee invested in Danny Graham. The new striker is expected to score one goal between now and the end of the season, and this will be an own goal in favour of Newcastle during the derby game.
Martin Jol became everyone's favourite funny voiced Dutch uncle to a smattering of young players from Europe who joined his side on loan. His main aim for the rest of the season is to climb the table as quickly as Dimitar Berbatov's hairline is receding. This is of course, impossible, as more of his forehead is revealed before your very eyes if you watch him for long enough. You think it's timelapse photography, but it isn't. He's like a Play Doh moptop hairshop in reverse.
WEST HAM UNITED
Big Sam isn't actually very big at all, did you know that? Five foot six inches and a 26 inch waist. It's just the camera that makes you think that, the nickname is deeply ironic. The big story for the Hammers was that still nobody has come in for Carlton Cole, meaning that they've been paying the big lummox for a decade with no discernible benefit. Andy Carroll ate a massive kebab and punched three taxi drivers on deadline day.
Manager Chris Hughton signed up several dozen babies for club captain Grant Holt to eat. Hughton revealed that the blood of the young gives Holt his strength, and their flesh aids his massive girth. Holt will score another ten goals this season, all of which will cannon in off his enormous behind. Lucciano Becchio has also been signed, with his diving thought to be used as a distraction when Holt sees children in the crowd and has to eat them. 562 children have gone missing in the Norwich area this year, and Holt has many sculptures made out of tiny bones in his garden.
Everyone that the magpies signed in the window was French, meaning that 70 per cent of their squad is now Gallic, or can at least speak the French language. Those who do not speak English need not worry about integrating, as it seems that understanding French is easier than understanding any of the Geordie lads speaking English. Essentially every sentence is "something something Alan Shearer" anyway. Shearer is expected to become manager once again, as soon as he has worked his way through the Rosetta Stone French for Beginners CD he got for Christmas.
Nigel Adkins was fired and replaced by someone that nobody had heard of. We all tried to care but let's be honest, it's Southampton. Ooh, do you remember the Dell? That was funny, with its slanting stand. Oh, those were the days. Matt Le Tissier, Francis Benali, Jason Dodd. Isn't that much more fun to think about? I'm doing that now for a bit. You carry on.
Oil-rich Reading had cash to splash in the window, but are thought to be spending it on new batteries for striker Adam Le Fondre. At present the front man can only play for 5 minutes at a time, but has an amazing goalscoring record of a goal a minute whenever he comes on as a sub. However, attempts to have him play a full game have proved futile, as after a few minutes he slows down and then slumps into the corner, his speech getting deeper and slurred, before a pink rabbit sprints past him.*
*This point sponsored by Duracell
Hang on a minute, they're IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE? Wigan? Since when? Full of South Americans, you say? Blimey. You mean the football team right? Not the rugby league team? Wowzers. Are you sure you're not confused with Blackburn? What? They're in the Championship? On their third manager of the year? Owned by crooked chicken farmers? I should read the papers.
What we all want is for Aston Villa to sign a new board member to go alongside the brilliantly named Randy Lerner. Chesty McBoob? Beaver Slammer? Doctor Sexual Education? The football team are performing poorly because the average age of the team is just nine years old, with all the transfer money spent on Darren Bent a while back. Whilst the kids of Villa toil away, Bent sits on his own seat on the bench made out of diamonds and platinum, and will only lunge for a ball in the box if a member of the youth team throws their coat in front of him, lest he get wet.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Harry Redknapp drove his car around every stadium on deadline day (ironically missing out on meeting Peter Odemwingie) as he tried to sign everyone that he'd been linked with in the papers "just to see if it could be done". As always, he ended up signing ex Spurs players and then mysteriously depositing millions of pounds in his Dog's bank account whilst insisting that nothing was suspicious and if it was, remember that he can't read or write because he's been out grafting in the mines since he was 3.
Follow Jim Smallman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimsmallman