by Dan Mellett
Love it or hate it the football transfer window is in full flow again and twice yearly it drives seemingly rational players, managers, fans and journalists to distraction.
During the designated few weeks from August until September and then again over Christmas and New Year it really is football’s silly season. This of course is nothing new, but what has made this period almost unbearable for all football followers is the advent of social media and the proliferation of millions of “In the Know” pundits, players, journos and just classic keyboard warriors starting rumours that infect our timelines.
The fact most of you reading this will know exactly what “ITK” and “YHIHF” refer to says it all!
The transfer landscape has long since changed, the ludicrous money involved these days and agents saw to that, but the 24/7 nature of Twitter in particular has added a whole new aspect to the way transfers are handled and reported upon. Gone are the days when the first you knew about your new centre forward was an excited phone call from a mate or even an actual picture of the new hotshot with your manager and a team shirt.
Twitter transfer rumours is now the ultimate game of Chinese Whispers, what starts out as a mundane, insignificant change somewhere in the ether or a coincidental occurrence somewhere in the world suddenly takes on an overriding significance for the legions on Twitter.
For example, hundreds of thousands of tweets were generated when Wayne Rooney’s management took the phrase “MUFC player” off his twitter bio, it was simply a Nike sponsorship update but that didn’t matter to his 6.9m followers and beyond. A similar reaction occurred when the official Tottenham Hotspur twitter feed updated their wallpaper to a picture that did not include Gareth Bale. Furthermore, when Rio Ferdinand followed Marouane Fellaini on his personal feed it was a sure thing that the Belgian was on his way to Old Trafford.
For Twitter rumour-mongers this type of minutiae is gold dust that gets endlessly pedalled and ends up being definitive proof of something or other.
At the time of writing all this summer’s big movers, Bale, Rooney, Fabregas, Suarez even Ronaldo are all still at their current clubs, yet all have been “done deals” on Twitter endless times.
It does like the Gareth Bale to Real Madrid transfer is finally going to be one that the comes to fruition (with Spurs showing how it’s done in the transfer window with some great signings and potentially more on the way), which could have the knock on effect of kick starting the rest of the business around Europe, but whatever happens before that window finally slams shut on 2nd September – just remember – you heard it heard first.