BCFC: Transfers and Misdirection

Birmingham City wrapped up the signing of Cheikh N’Doye on Friday, with news first breaking of the potential for the deal only the day before. In a time when rumours are rife and with a manager who is eminently quotable, how are Blues pulling these under the radar deals off?

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The three signings Blues have made this summer have arrived at Blues with relatively little fuss. Despite Harry Redknapp complaining of the deal to sign N’Doye “dragging on”, the first time the press seemed to get wind was the day before – pretty much as N’Doye arrived in Austria for his medical.

We’ve seen the discussion online of Blues transfer targets. I’ve written six transfer newsletter emails myself – there is a lot to talk about. However, while much of the discussion has been about players like John Terry, Robbie Keane and Ashley Cole, nothing has happened to see Blues sign those players.

A good friend of mine put the theory to me that while Harry was happy to talk in the press about these targets, it was all misdirection.

Smoke and mirrors designed to deflect attention away from the players he actually wants.

Couple that with the current situation where all info seems to be bound up tight¬†… and presto, under the radar signings are much more possible.

It has to be said, even the thought that this is possible impresses me about Harry Redknapp. We all knew he was a canny operator – but this is next level, am I right?

I have to admit, I’m a believer in this theory because I’m cynical about the state of the media anyway.

We all know about clickbait.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seems more important these days than depth in reporting – and so the logic follows that it makes sense to push stories about big names to draw in more hits and clicks.

This is where I actually feel sorry for proper journalists.

I think the majority¬†view of journalism is that it’s about writing things for people to read, but I don’t believe that is true.

For me, the fundamental tenets of journalism are to ask questions to find out the facts of the story and then to report on that… and thus the best journalists are the ones who not only write well but ask the right questions.

If the media are robbed of this investigative process in the name of SEO and clickbait, then surely all we’re ever going to get are transfer rumours designed to get us to click rather than the truth.

Think about it. Rather than a well-crafted story that takes days to produce as contacts are chased down and pieces of information are pieced together, is it easier for the press to ask Harry Redknapp if he thinks Ashley Cole is a “triffic player”?

It’s not all the media’s fault though. It’s us too.

To quote a knowledgeable friend who works within the football sphere:

I’m always amazed that so many fans care more about the next player than the ones they’ve got and who’ve served their club well.

It is, I believe an extension of consumerist society, a desire for simple answers (ie this guy will solve all our problems) and the football manager generation.

Is our continual thirst for news on new players an indictment on the throwaway culture we’ve become?

Is the desire for 24/7 news slowly drowning us in lowest common denominator stories as editors scramble for anything that will bring in potential ad revenue?

Maybe Harry is a canny operator. However, it’s easy to hide things when people aren’t looking properly anyway.

And the only way to end these non-stories? Don’t click the links.

And yes, I appreciate the irony of me saying that.

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