These new methods of player announcements somehow sweeping the nation are nothing more than a pathetic attempt at sensationalism. One by one, clubs from either end of the English league system are conjuring up new and inventive ways to terraform the age-old convention of signifying the arrival of a new player on a media platform.
Apparently we’ve unknowingly stumbled into an era in which a photo of your team’s annual marquee signing holding an emblazoned scarf with the club’s respective academy as a backdrop is a profoundly inadequate way of telling the world that your club just added another footballer to their ranks.
Clubs instead want to make social media the focal point of a new player’s introduction. It’s been done by providing an ironic retort to the waves of 15 year old Twitter gremlins swarming their clubs replies with “announce xxx”, by panning away from a screenshot of this to the player announcing himself in the same blunt fashion. Then there’s the acting out of a laughably unrealistic, mechanically choreographed WhatsApp group in which the club’s owner banters with the players over their new recruit. See Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively.
Clubs guilty of such announcements should also be advised of something I once believed to be common knowledge: footballers aren’t actors for a reason.
This was surely epitomized in that advert for Casillero del Diablo which starred Wayne Rooney - in all his glorious, ponderous monotony, remember that?
Players captioning their entrance with a would-be dramatic one-liner just isn’t as awe inspiring in practice as it was most likely imagined in theory. Especially when the context for their entrance is just as bad as the acting - for this, see Yeovil Town.
I blame Southampton for all of this. The South Coast outfit pioneered this new method of announcement by making a two-minute animation to advertise their kit launch. The outcome was impressive and comical in equal measures, as the Southampton players were depicted as superheroes with the antagonist being a man who, whilst unnamed, was unmistakably Ronald Koeman.
All attempts to emulate this following the advent of this year’s transfer window paled in comparison. But still clubs persist and subsequently embarrass themselves one after another.
Which brings me to a fear sat in the back of my mind - but which will now reside in words on your screen - what if Sunderland decide to do this too?
It’s entirely plausible. It really is. After all, we’re no strangers to a poor show from our club on social media.
I can tolerate the media team’s placement of the adjective ‘super’ before ‘Billy Jones’ every time the bloke makes a forward pass. I turned a blind eye to the club wishing a happy birthday to Shay Given - a man with three-hundred-and-thirty-seven more appearances for our rivals than us. We don’t need a ham-fisted attempt at sensationalising a signing if it’s anything like the other efforts we’ve seen so far.
Unless we dip into the transfer war chest to fund a production team to parody Southampton’s superhero sketch by having an animated Paddy McNair and his sidekick Don Love fight crime, I don’t want to see it.
I mean, alright, this isn’t exactly the most pressing issue the club is facing at the moment, but it’d be nice to have a bit of damage control given how testing times have been for Sunderland. It’s a virtually non-existent problem compared to the need for squad depth.
That being said, when the next Grayson-era signing does eventually make his way to Wearside, stick with the current script: give the bloke a red-and-white scarf, stick him in front of a camera, and be done with it, aye?