Sunday, 16 October 2011


I enjoyed my twitter exchange with you today. It was fun. Exchanges of views were had and there was a reasonable debate at times. I was dumbfounded by some peoples' idiocy though. Some people were so thick all they could say was 'LOL UR A CUNT MATE U NO NUTHIN JOURNO MANC SCUM!!11' yadda, yadda, yadda. But  on the whole, it was good.

My tweet was this: 

Luis Suarez says he always respects everyone. What about Ghana? And the lad he chomped on? Do us a favour.

Luis Suarez is wrong. He doesn't always respect everyone. So, let's try and conduct an inquest, yeah?

1) Luis Suarez has not always respected everyone because if you respect everyone, you would not cause them physical  harm. You would not bite an opponent. BITE. As in, sink your teeth into someone. That is not respectful. It is downright deplorable. Sickening, to the depths of your stomach. There is no defence for this.

2) Ah, Ghana. One of the main things I got from this debate was the following: (the tweet is gist)

"It's not disrespectful. Anyone would have done it. So that means it's not disrespectful."

That is, quite frankly, absolute nonsense. Just because others would do it, it doesn't mean it is respectful towards your opponent. A football match should be a contest between two teams who try to defeat each other fairly, respectfully and within the rules. An outfield player handling the ball on the line is not respectful. So what if YOU would have done the same. The player did it, and in the Corinthian spirit this game should be played in, it was not in the spirit of the game. 

3) Yeah, but what about Scholes on the line, handballing goals in and fouling people?

Scholes has therefore cheated and not acted in the spirit of the game. I am not stupid; I can see it has happened. But why on earth is Scholes relevant here? Why does he need to be discussed? He acted wrongly, of course. And it's bad behaviour. But what has that got to do with it? We are talking about Luis Suarez. Can you justify Suarez's actions on the count of 'Yeah but Scholes is a c**t too' ?! No. And if you do, then you're not intelligent enough to engage into a debate with.

4) Amazingly, people claimed that Suarez's handball on the line was not cheating.

No, seriously. They actually believed it was not cheating. 


These are the responses I received earlier. I will try and included the majority and respond to them. 

Tim_LFC8 Tim Ward 

@Darren_Can The Ghana incident anyone would of done. And the chomped on bit, WTF you on about?

Tim. Before asking 'what the fuck' I am on about, read and learn about Suarez's behaviour in England r.e "chomping." And the Ghana incident? Are you saying that because anyone would have done it, it makes it OK? Of course not. Deal with the incident and on the base of it. It was a bad thing and a disrespectful thing to happen.

mario_aquilina Mario Aquilina 

@Darren_Can Is committing a handball in a game and being sent off for it a lack of respect?!?!

Yes. Of course. You should play the game without resorting to handling the ball to prevent a goal. It is disrespectful to the virtues of the game. If someone has worked out a way to score a goal, why should you deny them through cheating?

deadlydirk Damien Gartlan 

@Darren_Can what about Ghana ? He saved a goal, conceded a pen and got sent off. What has that to do with respect.

Because you shouldnt cheat in a football match? You shouldn't handball on the line? He did it to win the game, fair enough. But sometimes you should realise when you are beaten. The goal should have stood had it not been for a flagrant disregard of the rules.

chrisjohnwright Chris Wright 

@Darren_Can can't condone the biting but with regards to your Ghana shout, any player in the world would have done what he did!

Does that make it OK? Of course not. Just because you would have done the same, it doesn't mean the action is not disrespectful or cheating.

Shiraz109 Shiraz Khan 

@Darren_Can wats a handball in a world cup quarter final got to do with this issue? Any player wuld've dun the same and celebrated the miss!

Any player would have done it? That old chesnut. Yawn. See my reply above.

para98LFC Steven Pawley 

@Darren_Can Ghana was irrevelant he did that for his team! As for the lad he bit well dosent everyone make mistakes?

He did that for his team? So what? He cheated for his team, you mean. It was cheating. He stopped a goal with his hands and that is against the rules of football. How is this not clear? Everyone makes mistakes - Paul Scholes and millions more included - but why is that relevant?

Kessaris_ Themis Kessaris 

@Darren_Can why was the Ghana incident a cheat? He did it, got sent off, penalty, all ok.

Goodness, gracious me. 

Shiraz109 Shiraz Khan 

@Darren_Can in football the main thing is winning! A handball on the line is not cheating! It comes with a known punishment red card & pen!!

Shiraz, why is it not cheating? The main thing in football is not winning. It is entertaining and playing the game in the right spirit. For those who seek glory in football, the main thing is winning. For true fans, the main thing is being enthralled, inspired and entertained by football. Winning is secondary. A handball on the line is not cheating? Are you serious? It's against the rules ergo it is cheating. 

calder82 Mark C 

@Darren_Can Scoles not respect his opponents then? The model pro?

Scholes has committed bad acts too. He has cheated. And he has disrespected his opponents. But why is Scholes relevant here? He has nothing to do with it. He was probably watching Oldham DVDs and mourning the loss of Bettie Driver at the time. I'll miss her hotpot.

eoin94 Eoin cunniffe 

@Darren_Can I enjoy your pompous unbiased tweets there's a sweet smell of bullshit off them #outoforder and respect ?! Evra & world cup ?

Considering I have claimed Scholes has cheated and disrespected his opponents, I wouldn't say I was biased. 

Para98LFC Steven Pawley 

@Darren_Can I agree he dosent cover himself with glory with the biting incident but that aside the racist remarks seem too farfetched

We don't know about the alleged racism yet. 

rickyjana ricky jana 

@Darren_Can how come suarez write such good english?

He didn't write it, Ricky. It was translated for him. 

matthewbrala Matthew Brala 

@Darren_Can I'd say his reaction to Ghana missing the penalty was more disrespectful than the actual handball.

That was quite sickly, too.

eoin94 Eoin cunniffe 

@Darren_Can what about Evras behaviour at the world cup ?! Is that not disrespect ?! What about Henry against Ireland ? #handoverface

What has that got to do with anything? 

9numan Numan Arshad 

@Darren_Can judging someone over to heavily publicised events... Haha your stupid. Do you know him as a person? Well then shut the fuck up.

Do you know him as a person? No. But that doesn't stop you from having an opinion on this. And I am allowed an opinion on it too.

eoin94 Eoin cunniffe 
@Darren_Can and talking of disrespect what about Evra rolling around on the ground like he was shot yesterday ? #yourtalkingcrap

Eoin, give up. This has nothing to do with Evra rolling around. I am talking about something else. Why is he relevant?

Shiraz109 Shiraz Khan 

@Darren_Can wat a tool! It's deliberate handball it's not cheating. It's like saying anytime a player commits a foul/handball thats cheating

It's deliberate handball, it's not cheating? Say that out loud, Shiraz. Say it out loud again. Doesn't it sound stupid now?

EfoSanyang Fatou Sanyang 

@Darren_Can i agree with you

Football is a game of opinions. 

HollieChaggar Hollie Chaggar 

@Darren_Can people saying it wasn't cheating because he got caught... Are they suggesting if the referee didn't see it he'd come clean?


Shiraz109 Shiraz Khan 

@Darren_Can would you brand Paul Scholes a cheat?? He was sent off at Fulham a few seasons ago for deliberate handball on the line? #LFC

Why. Has. Scholes. Got. To. Be. Brought. Into. This.

eoin94 Eoin cunniffe 

@Darren_Can honestly would you not do anything to giveyour country a chance to win the world Cup? If it was Terry or rio it would be praise

Not from me. It would still be cheating.


  • We don't know whether Luis Suarez is a racist. He is innocent until proven guilty.
  • What has Paul Scholes' inability to tackle or his propensity to handle the ball got to do with anything?
  • If you handle the ball, therefore break the rules, it is cheating.It is also disrespectful to your opponents. 
  • Luis Suarez says he has always respected everyone. Everyone? I disagree. He sunk his teeth into someone. That is not respectful. 
If there is anything else you would like to debate about, feel free to send me a message on Twitter. 

Football is a game of opinions. Some are incredibly strange and badly thought out, but I guess they still qualify as opinions. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011


This blog post is in response to a deluge of posts I have got recently. Hopefully it will explain a few things. You may not agree with it, but I am telling it like it is. Don't shoot the messenger etc.

Recently, I have been inundated with furious messages from Manchester United fans over the representation of David De Gea in the newspapers. Fans in getting uppity about their club shocker. 

I digress; the fury has centered around the use of old quotes to give context to a new situation. In this context, old quotes from 1) Anders Lindegaard and 2) Javier Hernandez have been used to write a story about David De Gea, the unhappy chap from Spain who is getting all these nasty things written about him. Good thing he doesn't read them, eh? 

Anders Lindegaard's quotes about wanting to be the number one at Manchester United were given at numerous points this summer and indeed since he joined in January. The quotes used in the Mirror this week were from a Norwegian newspaper and regurgitated here.

The essence of the story was that Lindegaard was 'warning' De Gea he was after the number one spot at Old Trafford. This may be true, but the context of how it was written has caused a bit of a stir. It appeared as if these quotes were given in the aftermath of the West Brom match, where De Gea let in an easy goal. (In my view, he didn't do a lot wrong after that. He was fouled for a few crosses, that's it. What about Foster? He was just as bad)

Those quotes, as I have said, were not from the WBA game. Lindegaard was not put up to the press to speak. 

Now, the story was written as if to say as a result of the WBA game, Lindegaard has piped up and warned DDG he is under threat, when in fact this is not strictly true. Interestingly, the Lindegaard's people and Sir Alex Ferguson himself are not impressed with the representation of this story. I can sympathise. 

So, why and how was this done? 

Now journalists don't want your sympathy, but they are under extreme pressure to find stories and get reaction to the topic of the day, in this case DDG. Each Monday (it varies) there is an editorial meeting whereby journalists put forward ideas on what they are working on etc. It is entirely likely the author of the article put forward the suggestion that he has Lindegaard quotes on the DDG situation. 

In an age where clubs are over protective of their players,Twitter publishes / leaks stories before they should be and players themselves say nothing interesting, any quote you have on something newsworthy is golden. So, the Lindegaard quotes were used to give the impression that the Mirror is on the ball with the DDG story and is the paper to read for follow up stories / the latest on the goalkeeper. It's just one of those things - it happens all the time. When you go to a press conference or interview a player, you publish the story but there's still loads of quotes you haven't been able to use. 

A good journalist keeps a record of this and uses them when he can to give some background to the story at hand. Like it or not, this is what is done throughout the industry. Perhaps if Man Utd offered the Mirror an interview with Lindegaard, the story may have been different? We will never know, as that's unlikely to happen. 

I am in two minds over this, to be honest. On one hand, I can sympathise with the journalist who has no access to players and a pressure to get stories and fill column inches. On the other, I find it slightly bad form a story can be 'spun' to suggest a player is doing something when in fact he isn't. Lindegaard, of course, wants to be number one. As the Mirror said. 

However Lindegaard, in no way shape or form, saw DDG vs WBA and then said he wanted to take DDG's jersey. It's classic newspaper spin - to put it bluntly, you have to deal with it. Would the same Man Utd fans be up in arms if they heard that when a Sun article published quotes from Roy Hodgson saying Odemwingie wouldn't be sold despite the fact these quotes were 3 weeks out of date? I doubt it.

Each club defends their players. But each club must realise it works both ways - Manchester United got a free advert in every single newspaper for 7 days (often 3+ pages) in the lead up to the CL final. It was all good publicity - so you take the rough with the smooth. 

Newspapers do not get access to who they want 24/7 - sometimes we have to be creative. And to be fair, doing this is a damn sight better than literally making up quotes. The Daily Star Sunday used to run 'EXCLUSIVES' courtesy of Ben Fairthorne for weeks on end. The players he 'interviewed' ? Torres, Messi, Pique, Forlan and Xavi. He didn't. He literally typed the quotes out as if they were said. 

Yes, it is slightly cheeky but that's life. That's how papers work. They scrutinise people, react to the stories of the day and publish stories around it. I can see both sides of the argument but it's not particularly worth it getting so worked up about it.

You can bet your bottom dollar that if DDG has an absolute blinder for a few games this season, the same papers will run 2/3 week old quotes from saying that DDG is a good goalkeeper and will come good, etc. 

PS - I like doing this blog and initially it was just here to explain things that 140 characters in Twitter can't do. But I have to admit, it looks a bit boring. 

I want pictures, a banner, a layout, etc. I also don't like 'explaining the stories' any more.

Anyone around to give this place a facelift?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

ITK 2. Probably part 2 of 2.

With the odd exception, I am not going to tweet about something big that I have heard or confident will happen on Twitter. The exception would be if the paper doesn't want to use it or that the news will be out in the open before it is printed. Then, Twitter is fine to use as it does not impact on what is being printed. My aim on Twitter is to find news and tweet news, as I said. I can go into the background of a deal, what could happen etc etc but you must understand the reason why certain things will be held back.

Fraudsters and people who claim to have inside info think differently. Usually, they're not involved in football or sport or involved in the game of news and news breaking. They'll just throw things out there and watch the audience gather. One of the most galling things is that so many people will lap it up.

One of the most hilarious things I saw today was Sneijder tweeting he was in Ibiza with his wife. Within minutes, this was RT'd to someone whose knowledge in the game is questionable and with a message 'is this true?' attached.

Why would someone who doesn't even know the player know otherwise? It's not even worth asking.

Someone on Twitter told their followers that the Sneijder deal will go through on Thursday. Now, it's Monday. And if you query this you are either told to fuck off or blocked. The truth is, the person doesn't know when the deal, if any, will go through. But yet will dangle a tasty tweet out there ("My source tells me it's Thursday etc") and people will follow and believe this.

Thursday comes and passes. Then it'll be Monday.

Now, I am not 'attacking' the following tweeter per se, but the following two screengrabs shows how conflicting people who claim to have information can be.  It's unfortunate this particular person has to be the subject of a discussion of ITK people, and I am sure he's a nice chap really. But this serves as a warning to people who believe everything they read.

I am terrible at working computers. I have no clue how to put pictures on this blog. So paste the links into your address bar.


So - from this we, the reader, are told that there will be a key day in the Sneijder saga etc. We're told the day is Thursday and so forth.


Ah. A problem. Now it's Thursday (which isn't going to happen) but then it changes to Monday. The negative tweets come (no doubt a lot of it was just simple questions) but the person is very dismissive. He doesn't want to talk about it. He bats everything away and tries to block things out. Interestingly, there are posts suggesting there will be no more tweets about the subject - and one saying he's even being quiet - only for the tweets to continue by the barrel full.

No more updates or tweets will be given, apparently, yet more tweets follow. And more talk follows.

Now, apparently, it's 'Monday or the deal is off' - I'm sorry, but this now just smacks of desperation from someone who, fairly or unfairly, is being given a hard time. A day or so ago they were confident it was going through on Thursday, then they were confident it was going through on Monday, now it could be off altogether. What is it to be?

I don't agree with hounding people off Twitter or bullying, and my post here is not intended to attack or bully, merely to highlight how dangerous it can be to come across as somebody who has the absolute, cast iron knowledge of something, only for their plans to explode in their faces.

There are many people who do this - just one of those things I guess.


People who have a track record of getting things right get a big following as people want to follow their news, which is fair enough. However, the followers then expect this person to Tweet 100% fact, tweet after tweet day after day. If they say something that has already been said or published, they are accused of not having any knowledge.

A classic example would be FourthOfficial. They were given dog's abuse the other day for simply saying 'looks like Cesc is finally done then'. A fairly innocuous statement/opinion I am sure you will agree - but he was accused of not being exclusive! People should understand not every tweet is sacred discussion. Merely a discussion point.

Had he said 'I've just got it from a good source and I can now reveal that Cesc is off to Barcelona' then fair enough, he's pretending to be something he isn't. But he didn't.


Everyone wants to be first. Even the journalists. But when journalists are first, there isn't too much of a funfare about it. They're pleased with themselves, sure, but there isn't the 'LOOK AT ME, I TOLD YOU THIS X DAYS AGO AND IT HAS HAPPENED' style approach.

People who claim to have confirmed information do so in order to, in the event it does come true by some weird twist of fate, they can scream from the rooftops that they were reliable.They had this information first. Trust them.


Always have an open mind, even when told something by someone you trust.

Journalists get things wrong because things have not worked out as they were told. Things change and sources can be let down.

ITK, or people claiming to have info, get things wrong because they haven't really looked into the situation in the first place.

ITK. Part 1 of I don't know how many.

I knocked this up while on lunch. 

Ask me questions about it / comment (by tweeting at me, I rarely look at the comments on the blog) and I will do my best to answer them in Part 2, whenever that is written. 

Twitter can be a great place but it can also breed a lot of nonsense, rudeness and people claiming to be something they’re not. Transfers seem to be a hot topic for Twitter, what with the window being open ‘n’ all, and it’s interesting to see a few things become a prevailing theme.

In The Knows.

Nobody is ITK. People have thoughts on what they think may happen and journalists receive news from sources they publish on the belief it will happen. All the honest journalists on Twitter are excellent follows (too many to name) but there’s a difference between their tweets and the tweets of others claiming to be ITK.

Disclaimer: Due to the nature of my blog and things I tweet (and the regularity of such) I’ve decided to not publish things like where I work, how, who with, my face, etc. Accept that and move on.

There are many reasons why people go on Twitter. Mine is for news. To find it and tweet about it. And everyone, deep down, whether you’re Lady Gaga (10m +) or some 13-year-old kid (7) – you like to have followers. You like to have people who regularly speak to you.

But this isn’t a blog about followers, it’s a blog about ITKs.

The only credible people on Twitter as regards ITK info regarding transfers are those who work in the game. FootballAgentPM works in the game as an agent – he’s good. All the journalists are paid to find out stuff – they’re good. I do too – I like to think I’m good!

However, there’s a prevalence for ITK or people claiming to be ITK spring up. There are exceptions to this rule, of course – namely people like M16_ORA and FourthOfficial. From what they have told me (which will remain private) it is clear that they are not working journalists but receive information from people who should be respected.

There are others who like to believe they have information but I am sceptical of this. There’s many obvious fuckers on Twitter (FootyAgentITK etc) who do this to be an internet troll, but I believe there are others who are more underhand; who try to cultivate a serious persona to come across as credible. But I am sceptical.



If you see someone repeatedly claim they are ahead of the game and the major news outlets, then it’s a tell-tale sign they are begging for more exposure and want people to take them seriously.

A classic is ‘I beat SSN and the BBC to this…check my timeline.’ There are numerous gullible idiots that will then see this as someone being ahead of the game.

In reality, not one credible, professional person would tweet such stuff. They’d go about their business in a relatively calm manner, not screaming TOLD YOU SO when something is written in the media / something comes true.

So, be aware of things like this:


VincenzoPerotti Vincenzo Perotti 
@TransfersManUtd Lets hear a deal you have broken? You claimed Monday. Lies.


And also…


1andOnlyWalshy Dan Walsh 
Morning people. Good to see media reporting Sneijder could join within 48 hours, that'd be my update from yesterday then? Lol


And more…


Dan Walsh 
I beat sky and other reports to the Nasri news. City are 100% out of Sneijder race


If you were a credible and professional person giving honest news, would you honestly bark often about how you’ve ‘beaten SKY’ and demand from people ‘let’s hear a deal you have broken’

I wouldn’t assume so.


Similarly, there are people who claim something will definitely happen on Monday. Or Tuesday, or whatever. They give exact timeframes. Nobody in the game really knows when something will definitely happen. The journalists have an idea of such, but still it’s a messy thing to get involved in.


I have noticed many people on twitter who seem to, amazingly, have a fresh update on a major transfer story every day. This is cast iron bollocks. Not even the best paid journalists in the land or investigative reporters can have an update on something so major every day, without fail. But some people on Twitter seem to.

In reality, clubs and sources are going to get pretty pissed off (trust me – they do. I called up a club three times in a week and I got some choice words thrown at me once. ‘Can you piss off for a week?’ was the gist) if you bother them constantly for news. They’ll leak stuff when they see fit.

So how can people constantly update with things? They can’t. Unless they’re making it up.


If you ever hear variations on this, it’s nearly always bollocks. Why give a time? It gives you the chance to get this tweet RT’d, more followers eagerly awaiting the big news…to then find out you’re having a laugh.

You will see journalists do this, but this is different and also rare. Mirror Football have done it once or twice, but usually this tweet is at 10pm at night with the announcement on the story soon. This is because they actually DO have a story they have sourced etc and the only reason why they are waiting is because the first editions of the paper have not been printed yet. 

Monday, 1 August 2011


Now I shall pre-empt this blog post with a few minor points:

1) I don't really know many people at Spurs myself. Anything I get is usually from other people, rather than hearing it first hand. These people are not guys who work the hotdog stalls on match days, obviously. They have genuine links to the club and the essence of what they say is genuine. Whether anything comes of what is said is another matter entirely.

2) I can sympathise about how infuriating this transfer window must be regarding 'Arry buying a striker. But rest assured he's trying.


It all started back in January when Redknapp and Levy held talks about the direction the club was taking and what it needed to do to go forward. The general  consensus was that Spurs are going places, as long as they kept hold of their players and made some astute purchases in the transfer market.

As is the way with every one of the  92 league clubs, planning for the summer started in January. It's like in snooker - you watch the players take their shots but they are not planning for that shot, or even the one after it. They take their shot with the next six or seven in mind. That sort of applies here.

So, Spurs drew up a list of strikers - patently aware their current crop were struggling. Representatives of the club approached Atletico Bilbao regarding Fernano Llorente.

Now, I am not too sure about how strong this is, but a few people say a bid was made, or that there was a verbal exchange between the two clubs and the result was that Bilbao were aware that Spurs were ready to make a bid. It was apparently in the region of £17m.

You may feel that price is low but this is a typical thing that happens when clubs make the first move for a player. The first bid is there to test the water. Most clubs don't seriously think their first bid will be accepted; it acts as a marker for future bids and sets the pricetag teams can meet somewhere inbetween on. This was the case with Bilbao and Llorente.


Bilbao rejected the bid, or the talk of the bid. They did not want to upset the side by selling their star asset half way through the season. But Spurs, as is there way under Levy, would not go away and started to haggle. More talks were held and Levy wanted to know more about Bilbao's situation, what Llorente was like, whether they would sell in the future.

Bilbao, pleased by the way Spurs had conducted themselves, seemed happy enough to maintain talk with Tottenham and there was a gentlemen's agreement to resume the talk at a higher level this summer. Interestingly, the meeting was left with a proposition from Spurs - that Bilbao are welcome to play a friendly at White Hart Lane in  the summer / take a loan player or two in the future.


Spurs asked Villarreal about Rossi in January too, but once the word was £35m or nothing, they walked away immediately.


Only players from the Basque region play for Bilbao. It's one of their things. Just the way it is. Llorente is a Basque boy and the club's players are all extremely loyal. Bilbao do not want to sell Llorente to a team like Real Madrid and Llorente, a Basque boy, is said to not want to move to Madrid so as to anger the fans he loves.

As a result of this togetherness brought about by the Basque connection, the wages on offer at the club can only be described as modest. I don't have any exact figures - wages are a minefield - but I believe they're pretty small/medium. Similar to Spurs in a way.


Spurs maintain an interest in Llorente and believe they are in a position where they can sign him. Obviously the transfer fee will be quite high, probably in the £25m region or perhaps higher, but Spurs are a well run club and have money to spend although their wage ceiling means that although big transfer FEES are possible, incorporating WAGES remains difficult.

However, considering Spurs have a bit of money, and considering the deadwood that would fetch a fair bit if they were sold (Keane etc) they are capable of signing Llorente. The wages are not even a big factor here. As mentioned, both clubs have modest wage structures and Llorente could earn similar/more at White Hart Lane than in Spain. Added to player departures, it's possible.

Interestingly, Spurs play Bilbao on Saturday and White Hart Lane.


As is 'Arry's way, he goes after as many people as he can. Very much the bull in a china shop approach. He wanted Vucinic, genuinely, and held talks with Roma (I think the talks were a bit more formal than Man Utd's talks - those ones were just general chit chat among agents, regardless of what the mouthy Roma lot say) but it didn't go that far. He signed for Juve today.


Spurs really wanted Damiao and still do, although his new contract clouds things. Again, Internacional were approached and talks were held. The clubs have a good relationship as a result of the Sandro deal and when that move was being sorted, there was an agreement that Internacional would approach Spurs with players they may be keen on. It's not a feeder club agreement per se, more a 'you scratch my back' situation.


Modric is the name on everyone's lips but as I have said and been told, there are two chances Modric will leave this summer:

1) Slim chance
2) No chance

Not even for the reported £40m that Spurs apparently value him at. Levy has been very public in this and he's said privately his position among the suits at Spurs, not least the fans, would be severely damaged if Modric was sold. Indeed, during the talk Modric had with Levy this summer, the chairman told Modric of his transfer plans this summer and the fact he sees Modric as the man to build the team around, and that with him in the team Spurs can regain CL football.

There is, however, a feeling at Spurs that if they fail to get top four this season, Modric will be allowed to leave. But for this summer? Nope. He's  staying, regardless of what Chelsea want.

Defoe has rejected a move to Newcastle and interestingly, Redknapp is most keen to keep Pavlyuchenko out of his current strikers. If the right offer comes in for anyone else, then they can go. But Redknapp seems keen to keep Pav.


I don't know how enlightening I have been here really, but I hope I've given some insight to some Spurs fans who may have not been aware of certain things. I am confident Spurs will land a striker this summer. They seem to be working incredibly hard to do just that.

And before you ask, I know nothing about Mata, Barton or any other player that I haven't mentioned here.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wesley Bloody Sneijder


The situation, as I keep being reminded every day of my working and personal life, is that people want to know what is happening regarding Wesley Sneijder and a potential move from Inter Milan.

So, take a seat, pour yourself a drink, and have a read. And then either disregard everything that is written, or believe certain bits. It's your choice but what I am writing is, to the best of my knowledge/contacts/thoughts in my head etc etc etc absolutely true.


Manchester United last summer spoke to Inter Milan representatives (guys who work for the big men in Italy) regarding Sneijder and whether they would sell. To United's surprise, the answer was not a flat out 'NO' but merely a 'show us what you got then'. It didn't really go much from there. There was one meeting face-to-face between both sides but as far as I am told/remember, United were told the asking price, without negotiation, was £35m. And then there were wages to factor. And the fact Scholes was still around.

United walked away.


Paul Scholes' decision to retire was a long time coming, but still a decision that surprised Manchester United somewhat. At the start of last season, there was talk between Scholes and Ferguson about how much he would play a part for the new campaign and then beyond. It was agreed Scholes would 'take a view' at the end of the season whether he'd stay on. Privately, Ferguson believed Scholes would stay.


Ferguson met Scholes many times after training and before matches (senior players like him, Giggs etc get more 'access' to longer chats with Ferguson) and gradually, Ferguson became concerned Scholes' time (in Scholes' eyes) was up.


Although Ferguson still hoped to keep Scholes on, his decision to quit surprised him somewhat. Ferguson, almost immediately, started planning for his replacement. This was not a snap decision - he's always had replacements in mind - but his decision now was 'who do I actively go for and make moves to buy'.


Wesley Sneijder has been spoken about at Old Trafford. The task to replace Scholes means you need to identify targets and he has been identified. Again, as same as the picture was last summer, United have held low level talks with Inter about Sneijder, and once again the situation is the same - Inter are open  to selling him, as long as they get a lot of money in return. Do United have that money? I am sceptical. If they had the money to do it straight off, a bid would have been made officially by now, to give Sneijder the maximum time to settle at the club / make a money spinning appearance in America.


This is the only point of the transfer. Disregard whether they want him (they do), whether Inter will sell (they will), whether he wants to come (he's not fussed either way) whether other teams want him (not to my knowledge) and the like - the issue here is cold, hard cash.

Manchester United simply cannot afford to spend £35m on a player who will command £200,000+ a week wages (before tax). It is not financially viable for a club mired in debt with a player who is 27. Ferguson himself has suggested getting numerous players off the wage bill helped fund the three arrivals of De Gea, Young and Jones.


Quite simply, someone has to back down. Either Inter accepts less money for Sneijder (unlikely, but if they want to sign Tevez there's a chance) or Sneijder accepts if he does want a new challenge, he will 'settle' for 'only' £170,000 (ish) before tax. Or, somehow, Manchester United manage to make money grow on trees and give Inter £40m and Sneijder £200,000 a week.

I doubt that a sponsor like Nike will be too pivotal in any negotiatons regarding money. Ignore them, as it's down to the two teams.


Nobody knows the answer to this question. So stop asking. And wait. Wait and see. Wait and see whether Inter accept a bid. Journalists don't know. Fans don't know. You don't know.


There isn't any stage. There are no talks currently. There won't be any talks until United return from America. Then, at Carrington, United will decide what to do r.e Sneijder. As I need to say once more, unless there is some leverage given or asked between the parties involved, this transfer won't happen.


People ask me what my thoughts are on Sneijder saying 'If I stay, I stay'. I don't have any thoughts on this. It's a boring, bland, non comittal statement. It says nothing so we don't need to give it too much attention. And just because Sneijder is being given an opportunity to say 'I WANT TO STAY' and he hasn't, in NO way does that mean he is off.


Of course they bloody well are. I find it interesting how some journalists (no names mentioned) once claimed that 'Man Utd have not, and will not, show an interest in Sneijder' and then suddenly backtrack to clarify their statement a few days later. But, just because someone is interested in someone, doesn't mean it will end happy for all parties. You're interested in the hot bird at school/college/work/the pub, right? Well, just because you fancy taking her out for a pint and then getting busy, it doesn't mean it's going to happen, does it?


Yeah, I think so. I assume so.

A CM? (If I ever hear 'cm' again I will scream)

Probably, yes. It's the one area United need improving in.


Manchester United are interested in signing Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan. Whether they sign him is another matter. Nobody knows. Personally, I think it's 50/50 as I believe Sneijder would fancy a challenge in England. But whether he fancies it enough to play for less money (he's a footballer, they all want the best money possible) and whether United find his acquisition economically viable is another matter.

Now go and have a drink and let us never mention Wesley Sneijder until September 1st, 2011.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


ITK and TNK are such awful phrases.

I was stupidly naive when I first signed up to twitter and went with theinsider9 as my aim, kinda like the blog, was to bring news from inside football clubs. Go back to the sources posts on this blog to find out where I get my info (I am sure those sources are similar for many journalists)

I am not, and nobody is, 'In The Know'. We may think we are at times, but we never are 100% ITK. Things can change. I could be told Nasri is signing for City tomorrow morning but then he might have a sudden change of heart. How will I know if he will sign 100%? The only person who know truly what is going on is the player himself. Sometimes, players keep their thoughts and feelings from their agents, so not even their own agents have the full picture sometimes.

Having noticed lots of 'insider' and 'ITK' usernames on Twitter, I quickly realised there was some sort of group whose Twitter niche was to tell tales. Hence the name-change. All these people with 'FOOTBALLAGENTITK' usernames are, without any shred of doubt, 100% not in the know and probably not involved in football at all. My guess is that they're just bored teenagers.

footyagenitk etc etc will send outrageous tweets usually with BIG names and big European clubs in their tweets, as that gets attention and in turn, followers. This summer I have seen United definitely sign Ganso, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Jack Wilshere. City have signed Steven Gerrard, etc etc. It's just all a load of complete nonsense.

There are, obviously, many great sources for news on twitter and some very knowledgeable people. At the top of my head, a few would be

intheknow99 (yes I know it's an ITK name but their news covers lots of clubs in England and it's clear that they are a news source, aggregating news across the country as well as posting their own things they have heard)
Sky's Graeme Bailey and the rest of the SSN lot.
Sid lowe
Graham Hunter
TransferNewsCentre (I think, may have got the name wrong)

If you read their tweets, you will notice a common theme. There's no ridiculous 'Liverpool have signed Gareth Bale' rubbish, but tweets that should be taken as value. Many won't say 'CLUB x have definitely signed 'MAJOR WORLD STAR Y' but will suggest that a deal is possible if x,y, and z happen. Which is fair enough. Many, sadly, take a rumour passed on by someone like:

'Yes, Sneijder to United is possible but it's a question of money...'

As someone saying:

'Yes, Sneijder has signed for Man Utd'

Then they get shouted down, called a bullshitter and asked why Sneijder has not signed for Man Utd. Oddly, these people seem to follow and take the gospel truth from the likes of FOOTYAGENTITK as if they're the oracle or something.

Not many people make money from Twitter. I think Kim Kardashian does - she earns $10,000 from advertisers if  she mentions she's wearing a particular brand of makeup. I don't make money from twitter, I make money from newspapers selling and reading stories. So, yes I shall admit there are quite a few things that I won't post on twitter, because a story about them in the paper will be on the shelves. My aim when I joined twitter was to read news, views etc while also posting my own and adding a few bits of gossip I have heard on the grapevine. And that is how it will remain.

So if you're not making money from tweets, this obviously limits you to what you can and can't say. Obviously, if I was paid to tweet then I'd be able to go into more detail about certain transfers etc.


I was asked to elaborate a bit more on this site a while back - there isn't really too much to say about goal but they are going through a big revamp, backed by a fair bit of investment. The last I heard, they are recruiting journalists (with experience on national papers etc) and paying them a fair old wedge to move to online. I don't believe really but will keep my eye on them as they continue to grow and add to their team. Think of them, again, as an online news aggregator - lots of their stories are just translated from the Italian, Spanish newspapers so we don't have to.


Many newspapers will have EXCLUSIVE on their stories. Sometimes, the story is exclusive. Other times, it really is quite laughable how they can claim it as such. For example, a press conference, attended by every single national newspaper in Great Britain, was handled by The Sun in this way:


And it had exclusive next to the byline. It's just plain cheek but you need to remember the journalist has not done this. They don't control how a story looks on the page, the headline, the picture or anything else around it. More often than not, the accepted 'reason' (term used loosely) for putting exclusive on stories is because it makes the paper seem 'ahead of the game' to their readers. Loyal readers won't read other papers so they will genuinely believe the story is exclusive.

Other times, exclusive is used in good faith as the editor and subeditors genuinely believe their paper is the only one that has the story, when in reality an agent/player has blabbed to more than one journalist.

The dark side

Welcome to the dark side.

Welcome to the backstabbing, the lies, the poor pay, the sleepless nights, the horrific pressure, the rudeness and arrogance of paper 'number ones' towards younger journalists coming up ... and so on.

Journalism does have a dark side, that's why so many journalists are disliked and the profession seen as deceitful. While I have never once written a story that I know to be false, I cannot deny that I've heard of goings on and certain papers that makes me think, what the hell am I doing in this profession.

At 6.15pm one evening, there was a gaping hole on one page of a national newspaper, that needed to be filled. A shout from the newsroom from one of the men in charge asked if anyone had anything. A few people said they had some press conferences quotes that were yet to be used..all pretty mundane stuff.

It was decided that a 'story' involving a team wanting a player should be written despite the fact they knew it wasn't true. It was, quite literally, plucking a team and a name out of thin air and linking them together. Why? 'Because the general public and white van man lap this transfer shit up' (actual quote).

It's best to treat everything you read in the papers with suspicion but rest assured, there are many, many good papers and journalists out there that do their best to find stories. But yes, sometimes the profession can be accused of being economical with the truth.

The editors are bloodthirsty types that want a story and want it first. I've been at a desk many times in my life and seen an entire backpage scrapped at 10.15pm when the editions are first coming out because a rival newspaper has an exclusive. Once, I think it was the Daily Mail that had written a story (exclusive) and we all saw it come through on the first editions. We didn't have the story. I was asked to write a similar one so 'we didn't miss out' on anything, despite the fact the Mail's story might not even be true anyway (for the record, as it turned out the story from the Mail was 100% spot on.) I refused to write the story and got an almighty bollocking for it.

You rarely get praised in the job from the editor but if you don't get a story right or make an error in your copy, expect them to come down on you like a ton of bricks. It's the way it is, I am afraid. You need a thick skin to survive, and that's just from fellow journalists.

The rule of the jungle is look after yourself. Stab your mate in the back to get an exclusive? I'd wager more than 50% of journalists would do this. I once got a tip off from someone that a player got injured in training and would miss around 4 months of the season. I phoned a fellow journalist at a rival paper to tip him off too, because I owed him once as he sent me the quotes from a manager's press conference as I couldn't get there because my car had broken down.

But that's pretty rare. More often than not, journalists will keep schtum about any story they are working on for fear a rival/friend will get the same story, which is fair enough. But  saying you will email over quotes from an after match press conference and then 'forgetting' to do so? Yes, it happens. Usually when the quotes from the presser are quite juicy and seeing a rival paper miss out on them would be good for your own paper. Sigh.

Journalists get on mostly, although I'll never forget when Rob Beasley (then at the NOTW) threw Anthony Kastrinakis down the stairs once.  They now work at the same paper, The Sun.

There is a massive pressure to get stories and sometimes journalists will 'twist' things to make it seem like there is a story when there isn't. Some of the Nasri stuff this summer has intrigued me, considering respected journalists have filed a story and then three weeks later, another version is printed which is saying the EXACT same thing but in another way. Just to make it seem like their finger remains on the pulse.

The money is pretty shit for the work you do. Yes, I get to go to games and chat to the players afterwards but it's not always like that. There's the awful feeling in the office when it's quiet and you can feel the editor's eyes burning you as you don't have anything new to offer (yet) and there's the awful PR events when you are treated like scum from footballers who think they've made it when they haven't. The PR people aren't that good either - your questions (designed to get a response so as to make a good story) are usually vetted beforehand and you can forget about being invited to future 'meet and greet Wayne Rooney playing FIFA 10' events if you don't mention FIFA at least twice in your story.

It's a great profession at times but equally, there's a lot of nasty goings on and internal cliques from journalists that can irk you. Whenever I see a youngster in the press box pretending to type on his phone or speak to someone on his mobile I feel sorry for them, as they feel awkward and nervous as all the established journalists huddle in their own circle and make it impossible for you to breach them.

Luckily, I am over all that bollocks now as I am into my 30s and been on the block for a while, but it's still disheartening to see.

Friday, 15 July 2011


This is how I got into football journalism  - hopefully you will find some of this useful and if I inspire just one person to do it, then I've achieved what I wanted.


All those years ago when I was at school doing O Levels (GCSE for the younger kids out there) I had a plan. I was good at football but knew I was never going to make it. So, the next best thing is to get paid for writing about it, right? Precisely. You will only get what you want in life if you have a set objective and go after it as tenacious as you can. That's why I was able to do this, because I had a clear goal from the start. Those who do not know what they want to do are at a disadvantage because as soon as they realise what they want, there's people who have already made giant steps in achieving what they want.

English subjects are important. If you want to write, your grammar and spelling have to be spot on. If you file your copy to the sportsdesk, the sub-editors (the guys who write the headlines and make your text fit the page) will get on your back if your copy is full of errors and such. So English is crucial.

For A Levels, do as many English and predominantly writing subjects as possible. Politics, Business, Religion, Philosophy, History, English Lit and Lang etc.


Don't be fooled. Media Studies is not a pathway into journalism. With the greatest respect to those who study it, it's not that important and certainly not going to get you ahead of someone who has studied English Language, for example.


Start a school newspaper (it's easy and quite fun. There's always gossip and scandal at school. Your students will love it too, trust me). Or a blog. The more you write and the more people you reach, the more chance you have of getting noticed. Blog away.


O Levels, A levels and then University, where I studied English. I started a paper at University it went from there. There are no definite subjects you have to study but as I said, learning English etc is a good start. Many Unis now offer NCTJ accredited courses and I highly recommend you do them as the NCTJ will prepare you for a career in journalism.


The crucial, make or break thing here. You won't get ANYWHERE unless you do work experience. Hassle a local newspaper into giving you a week on the sportsdesk. Here, you will be able to make contacts with journalists and also start compiling a portfolio of published work. The more bylines you get, the better you look.


It's unlikely you will ever have an interview to get a job as journalist on a national paper. Local level, perhaps, but even that's not guaranteed. These days, it's all about the experience so if you do work experience and do well, and then keep in contact with the paper asking for future shifts etc, they will get so tired of you persisting with them they will give you a job just to shut you up. Trust me, that's what happened to me. Yes, a CV is important but the work experience is the crucial thing. As I said, start local and build from there. Local papers have links to nationals, and you go from there.

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW...'s who you know. That does ring true to some extent as the more contacts you have, the more doors that will open. But don't mark yourself out as exclusively a 'football writer' as everyone wants to do that. Do news, travel, showbiz, weather, whatever the hell you can - as long as you are writing for someone. Carve out a niche for yourself once you've got that first job.


Look, it's not as glamarous as you think it is. If you think it's all about 5 star hotels and watching the World Cup Final and cosy chats with Lionel Messi, you're wrong.

The pay and hours can be awful. I once had to doorstep the Football Association at Soho Square at 8am in the morning. (So I was up around 6am) and, after an hour of standing in the street, trying to find someone to talk to, it was clear it was going to be a long day. I spent the hours of 8am to 9pm in the evening trying to get someone from the FA to speak to me, but nobody did. That was my day. And it rained. All day.

Similarly, it's not all about going to Anfield or Old Trafford and watching amazing games. You'll start by going to things like Brentford reserves or a Johnstone's Paint Trophy replay on a wet Tuesday night in some northern town.

As for pay, it's not great. Martin Samuel at the Daily Mail is on around £450,000 a year but don't start getting giddy. Journalists don't do what we do for the money - there's lots of money to be made elsewhere - but we do it for the love of football and the love of writing.

Trust me, when you see your name on the back page of a newspaper for the first time, or any page for that matter, the feeling is absolutely immense. It beats money, it really does. Which is a good thing.

There are some horrible people in the profession as well and when you're a youngster starting out, be prepared for people to look down on you and retreat to their 'clique'. They view young kids as competition. They are the bright young upstarts after the big jobs held by the bitter, sleepless, greying older lot. But be polite, be patient and be persistent.

That brings part 1 of what this game is really like to an end. This blog is about you, really - if you want greater insight into how to get in etc, send me a message on Twitter.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


The media can be played. They also serve a purpose. It can be used to many, many peoples' advantages. Here I shall name them and try and give a story to give it some context.


Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United is the absolute master of this. He hates journalists (apart from possibly one or two) but knows they serve a purpose. A perfect example of how he has used the media to get his message across would be the Wayne Rooney contract saga.

If you remember, before the Champions League match with Bursaspor (or after, I forget..but that's not the point) Ferguson held a press conference and it was an Oscar winning performance. He looked a genuinely broken man. He accused Rooney of disrespecting the club that gave everything to him and that the grass wasn't always greener on the other side etc. Ferguson looked defeated and this transpired to Rooney.

As it turned out, Rooney had released a piss poor statement before that CL game saying he wanted to go. Rooney, obviously, did not write this statement - his agent Paul Stretford did. Paul wrote it, showed Rooney the content and they both agreed that they woud circulate it to the world's media.

Ferguson used this statement to his advantage and turned the tables on Rooney, immediately making him feel that he had made the wrong move. In a game of chess, Rooney was now the pawn.

He later signed that contract.


Sometimes, I am granted an interview with a manager (exclusively, although this is becoming more rare) and in it, they will tell me they want a player. Why do they do this? For many reasons. Firstly, fans will read quotes from the manager and it looks as if the manager is doing everything he can to sign someone. This happened once with a manager of a League Two side who told me he wanted [insert player here]. He told me, off the record, that he didn't actually want the player but on the record, he gave me quotes saying things like 'yeah, he's one we're looking at, so we're hopeful' etc etc.

He lied. He didn't want the player at ALL but he wanted the fans to think that he's doing everything in his power to improve the side. What a bastard eh?

I did not run the story in the end because he had told me off the record that he didn't want the player. Had he not said that, I would have ran the story genuinely believing that he did want him. See - this reporting malarkey is an absolute minefield.


Luka Modric has been mouthing off to the Croatian newspapers saying how badly he wants to leave Tottenham. The effect this has is it puts the pressure on Spurs. They are forced into reacting to this, as we have with Levy's public interviews saying 'not for sale'. Levy, I am told, will absolutely NOT sell Modric this summer because he has been so strong in his statements saying Modric stays. I understand that Levy will not go back on his word as he will be seen as 'weak' in the Spurs boardroom and among the fans.


This has been one of the most frustrating parts of journalism in recent days and probably why I started this blog.

Managers sometimes deny interest in a player. Many people, wrongly, take this as absolute gospel truth and that the player is definitely not wanted by the manager. Bollocks. They are lying. And they are lying because they are using the media to seek an advantage... Here is why:

Managers claim they are not interested in a player for many reasons. Firstly, if they openly declared an interest, this could alert potential rivals to a players' signature and a bidding war could ensue. No club wants that - they want a free run at a player.

Secondly, publicly declaring an interest and then seeing the player snub the club = embarrassing. If you say you really want someone and they end up rejecting you, how does that make you look and feel? Rejected, obviously. And it's not a good look.

Thirdly, opening an interest through the media before approaching a club or while in negotiations with a club is often seen as disrespectful on the potential sellers' part. I'll give you an example - Manchester United completed the signing of Javier Hernandez and it was a complete shock - nobody knew as there were no leaks. No interest was put through the media. Had there been interest, who knows - a rival club (Valencia were keen at the time) could have come in and made a bid? It was all done through secrecy.


I've written a fair bit tonight and agents is a bit of a murky topic, so I'll come back to this later.

Please comment at @Darren_Can


Sadly, there are far too many people, particularly on Twitter, who can't tell nonsense unless it jumps up behind them, slaps them and tells them it's nonsense. And even then, they're not too sure.

So I shall make this very simple and list the names of some websites that you should ignore, if you really want to have an idea about what is going on with football transfers.

Footylatest (to an extent. I will address them at a later date)

The people that write for these websites are NOT journalists. This is where many people struggle. These are guys who volunteer to post using CMS (content management systems) to a website. They have a person in charge who moderates the content.

The idea behind these sites is to get hits and views. Hits and views means advertising. Advertising means money.

On Google and NewsNow, buzzwords like 'Manchester United' and 'Sneijder' will become keywords and become easily searchable. This is why those sites write all these stories because it draws people in to reading and in turn, advertisers could make a quick buck.

Journalists are people who are paid to find out as many true and exclusive stories as possible. Website writers are people under the age of 25 (many are teenagers) who write voluntarily.

If Caughtoffside says something, just remember - no research or anything has gone into the story. It's just made up.


I shall start with a small story.

I was writing a transfer line involving Newcastle United five years ago. I forget the player but that's not the point here as he didn't end up signing. The sources included two journalists at a paper that shall remain nameless. They gave me the tip-off as their paper did not want to run the story. They gave it to me, I ran it.

The story was published - it was a simple 'NEWCASTLE UNITED ARE POISED TO MAKE A MOVE FOR ....' sort of thing. No harm in that, right? Wrong. I got a call from Newcastle saying the manager was furious about this being leaked because it apparently jeopardised their move for the player. Which is bollocks. 

It soon transpired that the player did not actually fancy a move to Newcastle but his agent was using a Premier League team to get his 'name' out there. Newcastle wanted him, but he didn't want them. My sources had been duped. I had been duped. This is when sources go wrong.

Now, in this age of Twitter, if someone was to say that Newcastle were going for a certain player and it didn't come off, then the knives would be out for the poster and they'd be labelled a liar.

In reality, they had honestly been duped. They had been fed a line from two sources (in this case, the two journalists) who in turn had been used by an agent to get a player's name out in the media and get some interest in him.

BULLSHIT JOURNO! ALWAYS SELLING PAPERS! Is the cry. This is not the case and one of the most angering things of journalism.

As a football reporter, you are told by your editor to come up with, on average, around 5 original ideas a week (usually at the editorial meeting on a Monday). The pressure to get a story is intense. It's horrific, to tell the truth.

I was given that line as an idea to put up to the editor and he liked it, as it was exclusive and nobody else had it. We thought it was true, but it turned out that although Newcastle were keen on the player (which was later confirmed by the club) the player did not want to move there and as a result, the move didn't happen.

Is this lying? No. It's being a journalist and reporting what you're told. I had the voice recording of the agent I spoke to confirming the player wanted to join them and I had two journalists' emails verifying they are aware of the story.

So, in this brief lesson about when sources go wrong, remember this:

Football writers do not go out to lie, they go out to report things they hear. Never has the message 'don't shoot the messenger' been so apt. Even when things don't work out the way you hoped, it's not because you've plucked a name from nowhere and written a story.

Because trust me, if you did that, you'd soon get found out. Editors keep a track of the stories their writers post and if none come off, you'd soon be out the door with a wife to buy shoes for, a mortgage to sort and two screaming kids to buy food for.



The sources journalists use are far and wide and are garnered through years of relationship-making, getting drunk in bars with colleagues and meeting new contacts, going to games and getting 'in' with those who work at the club. I have used the following to write a story:

- Past players
- Club Press Office
- Club coaches
- Official website writers
- Fellow journalists

That's a good starting point. I call them, they call me, we text and email etc and if there's information to be shared, it is shared. Football clubs are actually keen sometimes to 'leak' stories to journalists because it is in their best interests to do so. They get to set the agenda, they get the information they want out in the public domain. And journalists get their story.


If someone working for the Chelsea Press Office gives a journalist information and wants it 'off the record' this means they don't want anyone knowing they gave the journalist the story. This could be something like a player injured in training, a player who wants to leave the club and so on. If they release that and it gets back to them, they'll be sacked. End of. So, to get round this, they say they are happy to be quoted as long as their name is kept from the story, so you see this:

"Carlos is unhappy at Manchester City and wants to leave," a source at the club said.

There's your story and the club press officer has got nothing to do with it - he is anonymous. People think that 'a source' in a newspaper article automatically means it's made up but I can assure you, 100% of the places I have worked, a source is always true. On the gossip/news pages of places like the Daily Star, a 'source' or a 'pal' or 'onlooker' is nearly always bullshit. It's the subeditor writing it to make the story sound better.


I received a tweet yesterday asking me 'who was lying' because numerous journalists were saying different things on the same story. Nobody is lying. Different journalists at different newspapers have different contacts who say different things. That's all it is.


When someone comes to you with a story, you trust them if you have had a long standing relationship with them. If some knobhead calls the sportsdesk saying Rooney's going to Tranmere, then you put the phone down. It's obviously a wind up. If someone you've never spoken to before comes to you with a story and it's interesting, you meet them and see what they're like. Check out their background. Who do they know? What do they do? Be patient with them and then you may have another 'source'.

When a football writer writes a story, he or she writes it in 100% good faith. If they have a story to report, they do their best to find the facts and report them, as that is what they are paid to do.

That brings us on to 'WHEN SOURCES GO WRONG' ... but I haven't written that yet.

If you feel this is going somewhere, comment at @Darren_Can