Thursday, June 20, 2024


Yesterday, the sun was shining here, I was swimming in the Atlantic. Today, as the picture shows, we have more typical Irish summer weather. This is the same view as yesterday’s picture. No sign of the islands.

Ah well, you can’t get too invested in the weather. Like professional footballers, it’ll always let you down.

There’s still little going on other than the bluff and waffle from the ever-increasing legion of ITKs who seem to know everything about a footballer. Not just the situation at his current club, his desire to join a new one, and the possibilities that might bring from a football point of view. Now, everyone seems to know everything about their privates lives.

Where they live. Who they live with. How they feel about living there. How much their electricity bill is. Where they shop. How a row with their next door neighbour means they’re willing to sell up, move to a new country and, of course, their destination when they get there.

It’s as if one person says something and it becomes accepted wisdom. It doesn’t matter one bit if it’s true, or not, because nobody bothers to fact check any more. There is a willingness to believe simply because it sounds like something they want to believe. As for reading into clues from people’s Twitter, I despair.

I came across one account yesterday which has over 50,000 followers and it’s a bloke with dubious English language skills spouting the most obviously made up tripe of all time. This information, apparently, comes from his many contacts in the game. At all clubs. Everywhere. This led me to account which quite thoroughly debunks pretty much everything he says, shows him saying stuff which was entirely wrong, and uses, you know, evidence to disprove his ITK bollocks.

Yet still 50,000+ people believe what he posts on Twitter. Why else would you follow him? There is, like it not, currency in lies. Certain websites which give you a small amount of money each time somebody clicks on your posts, for example, do little but provide a platform for people to spoof and tell yarns which have no basis in reality.

Then there are the half-truths, as perfectly illustrated here, where only a certain amount of the freely available information is used to create a story which will garner hits because of who it’s aimed at. There are even cases where actual, real, substantive, on the record quotes from players themselves are being completely ignored because it doesn’t suit anyone to report them. Not the writers, not the publishers and, sadly, not the readers.

I’ve always tried to take silly season with a pinch of salt, but each year you need more salt and it gets more silly. And silly sounds kind of funny, a bit slapstick, and it’s not really. It’s taken on a darker edge, I think. Maybe that’s just me, but a whole industry based on misinformation, pretence and propaganda … well, that’s politics. And I hate politics.

While I think we all know the transfer industry has been reliant on the media, and that the media too gains from these kind of stories, there’s now a massive gap between a journalist who works in and around a club and does have some genuine information, and the bottom-feeder scribbling total crap for a free-sheet. Same with the guy who is trying to get as many followers on Twitter as possible by inventing stories, weighing the odds of already publicly available information, then  trumpeting loudly when he gets something right.

These people have no credibility whatsoever. They are the people who, in another world, would be the toe-curlingly bad audition for X-Factor. They would allow a reality TV show to be made about their dysfunctional, grotty life just because they want the attention. They are the Pied Pipers of bullshit.

Be dubious of those who like to RT their own praise, it’s part of their gig, a way to show their reliability. While the temptation to challenge them is high, and completely understandable, it’s counter-productive. I’ve seen journalists having a go at the account I mentioned above, but the reality is morons like that thrive on the confrontation. Do not feed the trolls. Easier said than done, I know, but it is truly the wisest saying of the Internet age.

If they are not given the oxygen of publicity (in as much as that’s possible because sometimes calling them out is the only real option), they tiny flame of relevance will burn out. These people who make silly season sinister, aggressive and, frankly, depressing. I’d rather sit through another excruciating Arsenal match in which we’re hanging on to a one goal lead, down to 9 men, with Mike Dean as ref and the opposition pummeling the post and the bar at 30 second intervals than spend any time dealing with them.

But they are the new reality, they are the monsters we have created, and allowed to be created, because of our insatiable desire for something, anything, ANYTHING, to happen. And unless we put them back in their shitty, desperate, lonely boxes, then they’re only going to get worse.

Till tomorrow.

ps – Higuain has bought a house opposite The Tollington to live in with his girlfriend, his dog Winston and his young brother who is hoping to come to London to become a food critic hipster poet. Seriously, do you want me to invent the quotes to prove it?

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