Date: 11th June 2011 at 1:30pm
Written by:

I’ve always thought that being the office horse racing expert would be an easy job.

Walk round holding a Racing Post and pick any random horse with short odds. If it loses, you can laugh it off- a bad track, a close second, it was tired, can’t win them all. The occasional wins will merely build up your reputation and you can lap it up and sit there nice and smug. Easy.

In the football close season, these same thoughts can be levelled at the tabloid football reporters. Pages and pages of transfer rumours are churned out, with no comeback on the writers when they invariably don’t happen.

When one actually does come in, “Reported First in News of the World” or “The Sun was right” the writer gets the praise. If I was to make up 50 transfer rumours now, I would imagine that one would turn out to be correct. Would I get paid big money to write these false claims? No.

A prime example of this has been the transfer activity surrounding Phil Jones. For weeks we’ve been told that he has been approached by Arsenal, discussing terms with Arsenal, ready to sign for Arsenal, will sign for Arsenal. The news of him signing for United was first disclosed to the world by a fellow red (step forward @pdauction) who got the news via the players mum.

Another example to this is the normally reliable Guardian reporter Daniel Taylor, who told us last summer that Nemanja Vidic was ready to leave the club and tweeted that this was well known by his team-mates and MUFC management. He may have had good sources, Vidic may well have been on his way, but the fact is clear to see- Vidic is still at Old Trafford and captained United to a Premier League title and Champions League runners up. The tweet is on the rumour scrapheap and the fans have no further knowledge of where this story came from. Truth or a lazy smear on a respected player? It is doubtful we will ever find out.

The twitter boom seems to have made for more lazy journalists, as if we didn’t need them already. Players twitter quotes are being used to create full articles, no need to go out get quotes or check facts. A 140 character tweet can now do a journalists work for them. Take this for an example, is that worthy of a story? It must have been a slow news day.

The big story this week has been Oliver Holt using a direct message from Rio Ferdinand to publish and work a story around.

Whilst I don’t agree with a private message being branded around, it will serve as a reminder to these footballers that anything they say on twitter can and will be used against them.

Holt had proof of what Ferdinand said and used it to his advantage. Twitter is an excellent tool for fans to have an insight into players’ lives, but the written word is a dangerous tool and i’m sure we will see plenty of footballers fall foul to it.

Follow me on twitter @Blanchy7