‘City Could Be Ready To Swoop For Ronaldo’ (Summer transfer window headline)
Ronaldo To City? No Chance.
Oh really?! Could they? Well, I could be preparing a swoop for Angelina Jolie, couldn’t I?! The difference is that if I told my mates that I was eyeing a date with Little Miss Pouty Lips, they would laugh their heads off, and not take me seriously in the slightest. Why therefore, is a story about the best player in the world – who has just won the Premier League and Champions League with City’s deadliest rivals – taken seriously by so many people?
Putting to one side the money that City now have, United would never let Ronaldo go there, and yet there were a fair few people who believed it was going to happen. My question is this, how do we as fans, in the absence of any concrete evidence, become so convinced that certain deals are so nailed-on?
Well, to start with, there are a lot of idiots out there. However, I don’t want to do football supporters such great disservice, because the real reason we believe such rumours is obvious. The truth is that fans care so much about their clubs, have such faith in them, and such hope for the future that, when a positive or exciting rumour surfaces about their team, they are halfway to believing it already. No matter how unrealistic or how little evidence the story has to support it, fans only need it reinforced a few times to get them believing it. This makes us sitting ducks for the media, and they absolutely milk it.
The newspapers can be categorised pretty easily. Firstly, you have the ‘Shit Spouting Red-Tops’ (as I like to call them) – aka The Sun, The Mirror, The Star etc. – which, on a daily basis, serve up a bunch of sensationalist, speculative nonsense, designed solely to make conversations ‘down the pub’ sound more enlightened (at the same time as slowly killing your brain).
Then you have the Daily Mail, which is for fascist tossers – people who are so afraid of the ‘state of our country’ that they refuse to step outside, in the fear that the air might give them cancer, or cellulite, or bring back Princess Diana as an immigrant. God I hate the Daily Mail.
The Sun. Kills. Brains. Fact.
Then you have actual newspapers, where actual journalists take time and effort to write a well thought out article, offering a considered opinion on a subject of interest. This makes for something far more thought provoking than a story as inconclusive, and lacking in any supporting evidence, as the article which would have followed the headline at the top of this page (which presumably was written by a team of monkeys, simply throwing their own shit at a piece of paper).
Anyway, with the rise of the internet, and the subsequent increase in people discarding their newspapers to get their daily fill of news online, there is no longer a small monopoly of titles producing the stories for the masses. Now, alongside the newspapers, you have hundreds of other websites available at the click of a mouse, all putting out the same stuff.
The trouble is that most of them are even worse than the ‘Shit Spouting Red Tops’. They quite literally just make stuff up to get people to their website, even if they have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support their stories. Even worse, they all appear to just copy each other’s bullshit, in some sort of ham-fisted attempt to make it all look credible (the logic assumedly being that if more than one website is running with it, then surely there must be some truth in it).
Anyway, the lack of a loyal readership (due to the shockingly poor quality of their content) and the reliance that these sites have on ‘page impressions’ for ‘ad revenue’ (blah, blah, drone), means that they have to use a gimmick to draw people back into their sites (one that the newspapers have been using effectively for years) – the ‘attention-grabbing headline’.
Here’s an example of this (which I just made up):
Headline – ‘Samba Star On Brink Of Spurs Move’
Rumours suggest that Milan forward, and Brazilian superstar, Ronaldinho could be on the brink of a move to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, for a fee believed to be in the region of £15 million.
Sources close to the Catalan club didn’t tell us anything. Well, why the fuck would they, we’re Fans FC – we’ve only gone and ripped this off another shitty website, who got their story off a cabbie who picked up former Milan player Luther Blisset from the airport the other day. Why do you care though? Ronaldinho’s off to Spurs! Go on, go dance in the street you gullible pillock.
Something like that. We’ve all seen it countless times; you just have to go to your club’s page on NewsNow on any day of either transfer window. It’s a veritable goldmine of garbage.
Anyway, despite my protestations to the contrary, I don’t think that the likes of Fans FC and The Sun are the worst offenders, when it comes to getting people to believe the bullshit. They are merely the initiators, they rarely force the issue and anyway, most people are able to read between the lines, and smell the horse-shit from a mile away! No, for me, the ones most to blame are the people who take the rumour, and attempt to cement it in other people’s minds as fact, by masquerading as some sort of transfer guru, or ‘man in the know’.
I don’t know why, but every office, pub, and internet forum seems to have one of these guys, whose mundane existence appears to inspire him to behave in this way. Constantly regurgitating transfer rumours (which he’s probably read that morning in the Daily Star, whilst tossing himself off in a public toilet) as fact, he delivers them with an air of mystery, which intends to give off the impression that the club chairman has just called him to announce the deal, days before notifying the press. We’ve all encountered someone who does this regularly. 99.9% of the time though, the truth is that they know fuck all.
Lee Dixon. Please Fuck Off.
The same goes for the worst offenders of all – football pundits. I fucking hate football pundits. They reckon that, just because they’ve played in the Premier League before, we all want to hear what their tiny little brains have to say about the game. Well, we don’t, so fuck off you shiny suited, matching shirt and tied, wanker.
Like the office transfer guru, you often hear someone like Lee Dixon taking a rumour and, due to his inability to think of anything intelligent to say in his tiny 30 second slot, he decides to say something like ‘Of course we all know that Tottenham are very interested in Ronaldinho… watch this space’.
Outrageous. They say it as if they’ve just got off the phone to his bloody agent, and what makes them worse than the office punk is that they have an audience of millions, yet they can’t stop themselves. As a result, thousands of people suddenly become converted to something that was, merely hours ago, just a rumour. Well, why would Lee Dixon make something up live on TV, in front of millions of people, I hear you say? Why? Because he’s a self righteous twat, who loves the sound of his voice so much, he became a fucking football pundit.
So, this January, or any transfer window for that matter, my advice to you is to enjoy it, but don’t get suckered in by rumourville. Consider that Man City were linked to 40-odd players before the window even opened! If you take it too seriously it can consume you (evidence of this is a Tottenham forum with close to 300 pages of posts on the rumour that Andrei Arshavin may still be coming to Spurs – Guys, just go outside and talk to a woman or something. Please. For the sake of humanity!).
Oh, and one final piece of advice – if you see a football pundit about to open his mouth on TV, just change the channel. Or throw something at his face. Just don’t listen to the shiny suited toss-pot.