Friday, December 30, 2016

The different types of football transfer news

What's the one thing that happens in Football twice a year? Transfer period, of course! It's a month of rebuilding the team, replacing non-performers with supposed performers, adding depth to cover for injuries, replacing players with more ego than desire. Buying world-class players who are suddenly transfer listed. The list just goes on.

But this is just one side of the story. The side that should have ideally remained that way. The other side - the "stories" - makes this phase a juicy phase especially for the fans. And that's where the media houses come in. These two months are when (I suspect) they usually have higher targets to achieve and more often than not (I suspect again) they achieve those targets with ease. Financial targets, article count targets, article page-view targets, Facebook and Twitter trending targets, you name it, they achieve it all! How, you may ask? That's where this post comes in. Read on.

Random Transfer News snippets - screengrab from Google images - Labelled for reuse

There are many different types of articles being published in many footballing websites. Some footballer looking for more playing time, some manager had a bust up with a footballer on the pitch, some clubs with lots of money approaching a player or his agent, one footballer was looking for house in a place different from his club location, players from different clubs caught dining together. All these are juicy gossips and were initially considered to be harmless. Not anymore. These are serious news making situations. Any of the above mentioned situations can turn into potential transfer news and media houses rake in enough money to sustain one whole month, if not more. 

Truthful - These are actual news. You will have to be a genius to sort out these types of news. E.g. Oscar transfer to Shanghai SIPG. The deal happened, the player passed on his goodbyes, the club is also fine. No recurring revenue for football websites here. 

Situational - These are possibilities. Here the articles play on the current situation at hand. One situation could be that the player is getting less playing time. Other could be his contract status. E.g. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain transfer news since he has only 18 months left in his contract. These types of news provides recurring revenue till the situation resolves itself. 

Incorrectly read between the lines - These are creative transfer news based on one interview or simply an act. For example, if a player is being interviewed and he says he admires the way the other team is playing, or he appreciates a manager, or he is close friends with another player playing for a different club, all these and more could be actual incidents. However, the creative writers of the transfer market will weave a story around it in such a way that the player has "indirectly" asked to be transferred to a different club. Case in point - Alexis Sanchez saying life is difficult in London. I don't think Alexis meant he wants a change here. He just mentioned life is difficult when you are staying in a global city like London. I don't see any issue there. 

Outright Fake - Most of the transfer news falls here. These are just random news articles just to excite the people and make them visit the sites. There's no truth, no situations, nothing. Just fake news. 

We are slowly moving away from real life situations to virtual life situations thanks to social media. Now-a-days, even a harmless "like" on a social media post of a fellow footballer is considered a cryptic message and some bold sites even mention the player has already signed on the dotted line and they are waiting for the news to be officially announced. Wow! Talk of confidence. This works because these sites have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If the news turns out to be false, there's no retribution but if it is true, they claim they were the first to report it, which makes them famous. You see how these work work out in the end? 

So, the next time you read a transfer gossip, treat it as just that - gossip. Read, enjoy and move on. The moment you start treating these as news and if it impacts your club, you are doomed for a month. Because you will keep on following up by checking their site often, their page views increase, they get better deals from ads, they win, you lose. Don't play into their hands. 

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