How to occupy yourself while waiting for the season to start: become a journalist

By Sir Hardly Anyone

With football in the summer I guess we all have a choice.   First, we can forget about it – Arsenal are not playing, and there so there’s no real excitement.  Play table tennis, read a book, go swimming….

Second, we can follow the internationals to make sure that our players don’t get injured.  This summer we are helped by the fact that there are only four Arsenal men involved in the tournament, which reduces the risk.

Third, we can believe the transfers apparently being negotiated for by Arsenal. 73 are players coming to Arsenal this summer according to the various websites and newspapers.  And if previous seasons are anything to go by this number will probably reach around 110 by the time the outlets are telling us about the window “slamming shut”.

Fourth we can wonder at how and why journalists who repeatedly get the transfer stories so wrong (out of those 110 each year we normally only find about three or four actually come to Arsenal) are still employed to do so.  In any other industry a success rate of just 3% year on year would have resulted in the sack years ago.

Or fifth, we can play “spot the idiot”.  For depending on how you read these things we either have a tale of Arsenal’s incompetence or a tale of journalistic incompetence.  Which is it?

Or finally we can have a competition for the most stupid headline of the day.  How about this one…

‘This club is finished’: Some Arsenal fans are frustrated with transfer update on 21-year-old’

Of course to be clear the writer of the article might not have created the headline him/herself; there is no way of telling.  But Dylan Walsh wrote the article, and he describes himself as “a football journalist … on the lookout for my next full-time position. I have been writing about football for over seven years, and have been a working professional in the industry since 2017 as an accredited Premier League and EFL reporter. I am a driven individual who can spot a good story that can cater to a certain audience and deliver work to a high standard of quality.”

So one reason he is putting out a tale like that appears to be so he can advertise his wares as a journalist.  And you’d be amazed how many of the transfer stories fall into this category.

For yes, a lot of transfer rumours are invented by unemployed journos looking for a job!

The article this chap quotes is a report in Flemish (we have to trust his translation since Google translate doesn’t have Flemish as one of its languages) which claims, “Arsenal have reportedly had a bid rejected for R.S.C. Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.”

“Reportedly” isn’t a word you hear or see much, other than in these transfer rumour tales, but in essence it means “someone else has said it but I’m not sure who”.

So someone, somewhere, has told an out of work wanna be journo that Arsenal have offered €15m for a 21-year-old midfielder. That puts it in context.

As do the other stories the same writer has given us of late…

  • ‘In the mud’: Some Tottenham fans react as key club figure is reportedly ‘demoted’
  • ‘We’ve been lead astray’, ‘Shame’: Some Tottenham fans react as reported transfer is now off
  • ‘Naaah no way’: Some Man City fans are ‘appalled’ as club propose ‘unbelievable’ new deal for ace
  • ‘Ship has sailed’: Lennon believes ‘rascal’ Celtic star won’t get another chance to play for country

There is, you may feel, a certain similarity across these stories.

In fact with most transfer rumour reporting you will find this the same thing – the writers are using the same story over and over – and getting away with it because most supporters don’t bother to read the transfer rumours for any club other than their own.

The story is in three parts:

1: Everything depends on buying new players and getting rid of the rubbish.

2: This club is useless at buying new players and getting rid of the rubbish.

3: Fans are getting angry.

If you’d like to be part of the game, just beef yourself up on Linkedin, pick a club, and a player no one is likely to have heard of, and make up a tale.   

Meanwhile in case you missed it all, in the real world, Arsenal have been involved in a revolution….

The Glorious 2021 Revolution