Tis the (silly) season to not believe

December 30, 2022 - 08:15
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I suggest that 99.9 per cent of all these so called exclusives are utter fantasy and clickbait.
Only when a player poses in the team’s shirt on their official website is a deal done, like Cody Gakpo who signed for Liverpool this week. Photo courtesy of Liverpool FC

Paul Kennedy

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the week in between Christmas and New Year when we all eat too much cheese and binge on chocolate. I’m talking about silly season.

This is the period before the January transfer window opens when just about every top footballer is linked to a move to just about every top club.

The term silly season was coined by journalists many years ago, when a grace period was allowed giving sports journalists the opportunity to fill pages with basically nothing more than wild guesses and random hunches. Often they were fueled by pushy agents desperate to get their clients big money moves.

Today, the way we all receive our news has changed in a major way. There are so many ‘internet pundits’ and football fan pages filling our social media pages with rumours galore.

Silly season multiplied by a million, and on crack.

You can’t open your Twitter or Facebook pages without seeing this player linked with that club, or that club interested in buying this player.

Don’t believe me? Go on, give it a try. You’ll be sent in a spin by reports of Jude Bellingham signing for Liverpool, or Chelsea, or Man City, or Real Madrid.

Keep looking and I’m sure you’ll see that Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona are all going to sign World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I suggest that 99.9 per cent of all these so called exclusives are utter fantasy and clickbait.

Take the case of Dutch forward Cody Gakpo.

The 23-year-old, if you believe what you read on the internet, was a shoe-in to join Manchester United this window. Nailed on, apparently. A done deal.

Then what happens? Gakpo signs for Liverpool. United fans were furious, blaming the club’s owners for not splashing the cash and also having a pop at those in charge of transfers for dragging their heels, and letting their number one target join their bitterest of rivals.

But let’s face the facts here. Were United serious contenders to sign Gakpo? Was he their number one target? Maybe, but nothing official ever came out of Old Trafford saying as much.

Instead, we all just based their so-called interest in the player down to what we read online. We took as fact that the clickbait we are bombarded with on a daily basis was true.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You know when a footballer signs for you club the moment he is pictured wearing the club’s shirt on the official website.

Until then, don’t ever believe these wannabe experts who just sit at home with nothing better to do all day than create fake news in the desperate hope of boosting their egos and social media reach. — VNS