Archive for July, 2014

This piece never made it to this site, originally written the 9th of July – so here it is.

Information. It’s what everyone wants.

We connect to Facebook, Twitter, every football site imaginable to get those precious bits of information. The problem is, that “information” is usually anti-Arsenal, late or altogether wrong. I imagine a scenario in “football journalist’s” (I use that term loosely) offices in which they have several dart boards up with team, players names and fees. They have pre-written scripts that have blanks ready for those missing pieces and all they have to do to finish off the often times predictable story is to throw those darts to get the appropriate info for the next mash-up.

It really is that desperate and that ridiculous. Phantom players, phantom teams, phantom fees and in the end, what is it? Phantom news.

So, we as football supporters struggle with what to believe, what sources to read, who to listen to.

So, when I got a message in mid June that read, “We’re signing Alexis Sanchez.” My first response was, “get the f%@# out of here”. Why? Well, Josep Bartomeu (Barca’s president), had a press conference two days earlier where he said they were not letting any of their top players leave. So my thinking naturally was, “Alexis is a top player, no way he’s going.” (Cesc was sold days later, so much for his word!).

So I messaged back, “Are you sure?! Really? How reliable is the source?”

He messaged me back, “Reliable. Trust me.”


Trust is a funny thing, it’s earned, not given. Did I trust the person sending me the text? Absolutely. You have to understand, this is a person that has never claimed to be in-the-know and doesn’t want credit as such. This person, well, they had no reason whatsoever to lie or any track record of it with me. So I began to get excited. Should I tweet it? Should I shout it? What could I do?

Then came the next message, “Nothing about this online please.”

So, there I sat, mid June, one of the bigger AFC transfer stories about at that moment and I’m asked not to say anything online. What do I do/say?

“Ok, you have my word.”

Given the origin of the news, I knew the request didn’t extend to the podcast members with whom I regularly speak with, so naturally my next text was to them:


As you can see, I wasn’t the only one that was told, there where others who also knew and also kept this to themselves, as asked, until it was official.

So the countdown began and so did the inspection of some of the most notable ITK’s on Twitter. Finally there was something I could measure to see what outlets and who was reliable. Besides Geoff, you know Geoff, not one of the ITK’s got it right. One very arrogant ITK, who loves a fight, on the same day tweeted that Liverpool were given the go ahead to bid for Sanchez as Arsenal where only after Draxler only! Laughable.

It went on and on and on. As if any of us needed any more proof. There are but one or two reliable ITK’s or better yet, people with accurate info from time to time, on Twitter. They can be wrong sometimes, but that’s because situations may change, but their track record over time speak for themselves.

We all know Twitter is filled with supposed ITK’s. They have Google Translate on a separate tab at all times. They follow every journalist from every country, every sporting news outlet and they pretend they know how reliable these outlets are. They take anything Arsenal related or relevant and plop it into Google Translate and then tweet something along the lines of “I was told/I heard today that xxxxxx would happen.” You know these lot. When they are proven wrong later, they blame the journo or outlet. When they are “right”, they pump their chest out and tell everyone how right they were, but never telling you the person who “told them” was or that in fact that they read it…these lot are a disgusting, self-absorbed, attention seeking bunch. I won’t even get into the Indykalia’s and Fairthorne’s of the world.

So there I sat, day after day, knowing what was happening and seeing it take shape. So, I decided to do what I always do. I took local news from radio, tv and print and passed it on; I translated it properly (I’m a native Spanish speaker) and sent it out to followers on Twitter and listeners on the podcast.

“What are our chances John?”, I was asked. “Looks good.”, I replied; or something to that extent. I got slated a few times for things I posted:

All locally reported and passed on, along with other similar posts. These reports coincided with what I already knew. All the meanwhile, all the lads from the pod who were privy to the info and I just chatted and saw how everything was taking place and we all commented on the evolution of the story. Over time, something became apparent and we all came to the same realization, the reporters haven’t a clue either.

They may get news earlier and some have better contacts than others, but for the most part, they are grasping at straws, much as we do. They get bits of info and they connect the dots given past experiences and relationships with the clubs they follow and report on. In the end, they are only slightly better informed then we are. It’s not eye-opening really, we kind of knew that didn’t we? But “kind of knowing” and “actually knowing” are two different things.

How do so many get it so wrong so often? The journalists at least have an excuse, they are working with what they have and if what they have is almost nothing and other outlets from other countries have some info, they try to piece things together. It’s their job, after all, to print stories. They call it rumour/gossip and move on to the next “story”; a successful job as long as it gets hits – So the bigger the story or rumour, the better. Do I agree with it? Nope. Do I understand it? Yes.

But why do these wannabe ITK’s do the same? What is the motivation to dupe people? Is it the followers (of course it is)? What is the necessity to lie about their intentions and their “news”?

Very simple. A lack of attention. They are very bored or very ignored. Take your pick.

I have been wrong many times, not as often as I have been right – but I always hold my hands up in those cases; Cesc moving, hell, even Alexis! Way before I got THAT message – “We’re signing Alexis Sanchez.” Why? Because I only pass on local news and make educated guesses. Nothing more or less.

ITK’s, real ITK’s are never wrong. They know what’s happening. Real time, real info, all the time.

Are you ready for this? THERE ARE NO REAL ITK’s ON TWITTER, ON FACEBOOK or ANYWHERE else. They covet their jobs or the jobs of those that give them info too much. There are people who may get info from time to time and pass it on, but anyone that knows anything, will not share it 100% of the time for fear of losing their position or having their contact lose their position. Be happy with those few credible sources that tell you “we have bid x amount for this player, will it happen, I don’t know.” You are already ahead of most journos having those tidbits of info.

There are some people on Twitter and other social sites that want a higher standing or want to pretend to know things and people they don’t. Pity them. They are a needy bunch, they are easy to spot. You know their names, you know their “style”. You know who they are. Call them out, they need a reality check. They make those “If X happens, I will deactivate!” tweets and promises. They will never do it, but hold them to it! We would all be better off! (The most they will do is change their display name, we know this, but let’s make it inconvenient for them at the very least).

Conversely, there are people who want to give you hints and want you to know the small bits of info they get. Be grateful. Stop the abuse. Use time and past revelations to see if they are legitimate.

For the first time in June, I got info ahead of time instead of a detailed explanation after – I was briefly “ITK”. Guess what? It wasn’t fun. It was so hard not to yell it from the top of my lungs, but I gave my word, so did other’s and we just smiled – that was enough for us!

The person who gave me the info doesn’t want it shared who exactly he is, but some of you know. He has taken a lot of heat for views, but he is someone not after attention of this nature. Funny how that is. The ones with the info want none of the credit/attention and get most of the hate. The ones with lies get most of the attention and praise and continue to operate despite their obvious deficiencies and lies.

It’s a game. It’s horrible. It’s ITK tic-tac-toe and like the real game, you only win by enjoying the game, not being right/wrong as it often ends in a draw.

Enjoy this summer Gooners, it’ll end up being a memorable one once you get to look back on it. At the end of the day what matters is the club, our season and where we can go from here. Now that the restrictions of the past have somewhat been lifted, we can build upon the success from last year and take that often talked about, “next step”. The future is bright, and guess what? We all win as supporters – Isn’t that what matters?

Up the Arsenal.