Friday, 10/06/2022 08:38

Don’t be fooled by internet baloney


Darwin Nunez photoshopped into a Liverpool kit. Photo created for clickbait purposes.

Paul Kennedy

I’m faced with constant reminders that I’m getting old. Even though I don’t want to admit it, the years are well and truly running out pretty quickly. It happens to all of us, be prepared.

My friend Ann in Africa posted a meme to Facebook this week that hit home. It was supposed to be a joke, and while it was kind of funny, it was also pretty terrifying.

It read: “Someone said 30 years ago and my mind went ‘Ah yes, the 1970s’, but they meant 1992 and I needed to lie down.”

It is sometimes difficult to comprehend that 1992 was three whole decades ago. It was around that time I was getting my news from actual newspapers and listening to football matches on the radio.

And while clearly in 2022 things are better, more convenient, and faster, there is a part of me that gets a little nostalgic at the thought of discovering which player my football club might be signing by reading about it in a morning newspaper.

Today we are totally bombarded with far-fetched rumours on social media sites claiming all sorts of silliness when it comes to football gossip.

Some sites, in the interest of nothing more than clicks and likes, even go one step further and photoshop the particular player in the club strip of his so-called suitor.

This week I’ve seen Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford donning a Tottenham Hotspur kit, Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus wearing both Real Madrid and Arsenal colours, and much sought-after Benfica striker Darwin Nunez decked out in the red of Liverpool.

Now while some of these signings may actually come off, I’m waiting until a particular player is actually presented to the fans by his new club before believing anything I see on Facebook or Twitter.

Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who once famously said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it.” He wasn’t wrong.

Sure, there are one or two extremely reputable sports journalists out there who when they write something I know 100 per cent it is correct. The Daily Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe immediately springs to mind.

But what sets Bascombe apart from the clickbait minions running websites from their bedroom in their parents’ house, is that he knows what the job of a journalist is, and exactly how to do it.

He isn’t going to spin a yarn just get a few thousand extra retweets.

I do worry though that because of the barrage of baloney that constantly fills up my feeds, the whole art of journalism is being belittled by the minute. Soon, as 'deep fake' videos and AI get more sophisticated, we won't ever know what to believe.

So here’s my advice to football fans everywhere.

Take rumours and gossip with a huge pinch of salt. And when you see a genuine photograph of a player in his new kit, issued by the football club itself on their official website and stood next to his new manager, then, and only then, you know your team has made a new signing.

If you don’t, and you believe whatever you read online, it will drive you mad. And let’s face facts, life’s far too short for that. VNS 

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