By Sir Hardly Anyone
This is the fourth summer running that we have run our transfer rumours index, each time showing that around 97% of the supposed deals never happen. Indeed as far as we can tell, they were never going to happen, but were in fact just fantasies invented by writers looking for an audience.
But now for the first time, one of the prime sources of the rumours that we record has admitted that it has been conned, totally, absolutely and completely. It admits the story it has been running over and over was based around an obvious fake.
Yes, so huge and obvious has been the con trick, and so totally did the media fall for it, that Football.London, the Daily Mirror’s website that regularly publishes 40 or so Arsenal “stories” a day, has admitted that one of their tales was an absolute fabrication and nothing more than a total fantasy.
Of course they don’t use that word. Nor do they admit that they have been a major purveyor of the story up until this point. But for what I think is the first time they are saying that a story they have run, run and run again was totally invented.
Here’s their sorrowful explanation which appears under the headline “Arsenal news: £35m Ziyech ‘bid’ explained”:
“The ‘leaked’ document purporting that Arsenal had made a bid of £35million was a fake.”
Each year, in running the transfer index we have noted that only 3% of the stories is true. But this is the first time we can remember in which any source has admitted a story they have run was totally made up. Will the floodgates open? Will other websites and newspapers that run transfer tales all day long, suddenly change the tune? If they do I think we could take a little credit for the change, even though it will mean we’ll lose one of our regular summer columns.
Of this particular invented story Foot Lond says, “This particular poorly made transfer Ziyech bid document posted on Twitter this week is as laughably bad a hoax as anyone can remember for a long time.”
That is interesting in itself as Foot Lond themselves have for a number of weeks been promoting this transfer as real. So we may ask, how come Foot Lond themselves were taken in by a document that they describe as “laughably bad a hoax as anyone can remember for a long time.” Could it be that their investigative team who examine all these stories in detail before they are published were so drunk they didn’t notice? No surely not.
Yet the phrase “for a long time” suggests that the old codgers at the Daily Mirror are used to seeing fake documents. So how come they have been promoting this story as true, given that they know that 97% of the transfer window is fake. It couldn’t be that they are committed to their 40 a day habit could it?
So could it be that as we have, in a joking way and not making any reference to specific individual, suggested in the past, that the journalists involved do actually spend all day and night making up fairy stories in the Toppled Bollard and when an obviously fake tale like this comes in, they are too far gone to admit it?
Obviously the tales from the Toppled Bollard public house are themselves whimsies invented to make fun of journalists, and we don’t accuse them of being drunken layabouts, but when a fake is, as they so, “laughably bad” and yet they run the story day after day after day after day after day it is legitimate to wonder what is going on at Football.London in relation to its desperate desire to publish 40 Arsenal stories a day.
I could say that I don’t want to rub in their discomfort, but actually I do. So let’s rub it in a bit and look at some of the tales they have run… These are all headlines from Football.London
- “Ajax star Hakim Ziyech is hot property heading into the summer transfer window and Arsenal are reportedly keen.” (1 May)
- “Transfer news live: Arsenal’s Hakim Ziyech boost” (18 May)
- “Hakim Ziyech to Arsenal: Ajax’s transfer stance, release clause and the Mesut Ozil advantage” (
- “Arsenal’s big advantage over Liverpool and Man United in battle to sign Hakim Ziyech” (25 May)
- “Why Arsenal must beat Chelsea in their transfer hunt for Hakim Ziyech” (29 May)
- “Dutch football expert hands Arsenal boost in Hakim Ziyech chase” (13 June)
- “Hakim Ziyech to Arsenal: Ajax’s asking price” (14 June)
- “The shirt numbers available to Saliba, Fraser, Ziyech and Meunier at Arsenal this summer” (17 June)
And those are just some of the headlines.
We all know we are being conned each day by the lies and fantasies that blogs and newspapers put out over transfer stories, but it is nice to see one of the leading purveyors of this garbage actually being hoist by their own petard as the Shakespearian saying goes.
A petard incidentally was a wooden box filled with powder, used to blast down a door or to make a hole in a wall. In this case the wall is that surrounding Football London and all those who follow its approach of running fantasies as if they have some foundation, and undoubtedly laughing at football supporters who lap up the nonsense.
No gunpowder, but good to see them humiliated, even if they are too far gone to admit it.
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