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10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day

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Joe Ellison
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All in all, it wasn’t the most explosive of finales to football’s latest transfer window which shut earlier this week.

With fax machines gathering dust and shock transfers in short supply, even Danny Drinkwater would have struggled to see the glass as half full.

But as ever on Deadline Day, there was only one place to watch it all unfold: the apocalyptic ticking doomsday clock that is Sky Sports News

We went behind the scenes of the greatest sports show on earth - and here's what we discovered:

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day

    The biggest deals aren’t just football related

    "What happened to the Deal with Domino’s?" asks Jim White, pointing to some disappointing sushi scattered around fellow presenter David Craig's desk and looking in the direction of the rest of the team. Pizza, it would appear, is a staple diet of the office on busy nights such as these, and rest assured, pizza does finally arrive (it isn’t Domino's).

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 1

    The roaming reporters are nothing short of heroic

    Leonardo DiCaprio being dry humped by a bear in the icy wilderness may have been difficult in the Revenant, but we’d like to see the Oscar-nominated actor try standing outside a damp, lightless Old Trafford for 14 hours plus with not so much as a sniff of a loan deal. For the outside broadcasters - ‘OBs’ for short - this is the longest day they will do all year, the grimaces of each one permanently visible on some of the 385 live feeds coming through to HQ.

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 2

    Not that the inside broadcasters have it easy

    It's 7.45pm. Presenter David Craig (pictured here behind) runs over to Sky’s crack team of investigative reporters and web writers clustered on one side of the studio. It’s bad news. Loic Remy's agent has been on the phone claiming his man is now staying with Chelsea. No ad break is spared in pursuit of chasing scoops, most notably with White, whose smartphone is as much an accessory to him as his yellow tie on Deadline Day. Some of the major stories he breaks during the evening include Colin Kazim Richards joining Celtic and Jordan Rhodes finally joining Middlesbrough after talks between the striker and the club had broke down days before.

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 3

    Jim White is officially the world's nicest man

    Many have said it, but by God, he really is the best of us all. Striding over to meet us an hour before he goes on air, the day peaks in this man's company. More upbeat than a grindcore drummer, his patter is warm, enthusiasm infectious, and tales of deadline days gone by unmatched. Like most of us though, he counts the time Peter Odonwingii was left floundering and looking confused in a club car park as his favourite moment. “One of my colleagues interviewed Odemwingie recently, and he ended by saying ‘tell Jim White I said hello’.”

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 4

    The dramatic music played before ads? They don't hear it

    On the other hand, they do constantly have to listen to chatter of producers in their earpieces. Filtering is a hard skill for presenters but it sure as hell beats hearing that post-break music over and over.

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 5

    It's a laid back affair

    Despite very important things happening on stage, all staff in the studio are allowed to talk at a noise level and converse as they would in any other office - just ensuring to occasionally move out of the way when a presenter goes for a walkabout (Xs are painted on the floor are to show them where to stand for each set-up).

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 6

    A giant poster featuring G-Nev still hangs in the atrium

    Given Valencia’s recent string of results, Sky might want to keep it up a while longer yet...

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 7

    Not one metre of space in the SSN studio is wasted

    Guests on the show are brought to a corner sofa perched opposite the stage. Just out of view from the cameras, it’s almost like the greenroom from the Graham Norton Show, minus the Chardonnay, with pairs of pundits waiting for their shift. It must be like old times for Thierry Henry and Ray Parlour, as the former Arsenal legends are subbed off the panel for another few ex-pros waiting in the wings, who themselves will be turfed out of those plush seats in under three hours.

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 8

    Dealing with Twitter complaints is a job in itself

    Top-knotted with Steve Jobs specs to match, regular viewers may well have already spotted Sky’s social media honcho, Jordan. Wandering over to his two-person work station (one for the geeks, they use Tweetdeck and SocialFlow to monitor the epic bantz), he tells ShortList that the most likely time for Twitter users to be angry with Sky Sports is during early La Liga kick off times on Saturdays, when due to legal reasons, British broadcasters aren’t able to air games between 2.45pm and 5.15pm.

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 9

    Most of the cameras are controlled by one person

    This one in fact, who made filming a live TV show from different camera angles appear about as easy as scoring goals against Aston Villa when we had a nosy. Occasionally the need arises for someone to lug one of the cameras around manually of course, and we see our first example of this when White runs over to make his grand entrance with a bit of shadow boxing, aiming jabs down the lens like a prizefighter on a ring walk. Clearly relishing his role as he runs off to go full on Rocky, White takes one last look at us before saying, "Bye boys, I’m off the movies."

  • 10 things we learnt going behind the scenes of Sky Sports News on Deadline Day 10

    Meanwhile, over on Soccer Saturday, Jeff Stelling has his own chair

    Well, not anymore he doesn't.

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Joe Ellison

Joe is a writer and editor. Specialising in film, food, sport, current affairs, travel writing and adept at pilfering David Brent quotes, Joe describes himself as ‘basically a chilled out entertainer’. Follow Joe on Twitter: @Chevychased 

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