You can call me algorithm
So you’re a mildly successful football website and you know that a massive chunk of your traffic comes from transfer rumours. And yet you can’t bring yourself to actually make sh*t up because you’ve managed to convince yourself that you’re on a par with the BBC and other supposed ‘journals’ of record. What do you do? You need an ‘in’; you need an excuse; f*** it, you need an algorithm.
And so Sky Sports have entered into a ‘partnership’ with Football Whispers (2,000 Twitter followers and rising), who ‘have developed a unique algorithm to take all of the transfer rumours from across the globe and calculate the likelihood of them happening’. Except, well, they haven’t. What they’ve done is develop a uniquely useless algorithm that calculates how much a rumour is being discussed. This absolutely does not ‘calculate the likelihood of them happening’; we cannot make this clearer.
‘Like most algorithms there are plenty of elements taken into account when calculating the eventual score for each Whisper,’ say Sky Sports, helpfully explaining the concept of an algorithm. Thanks for that.
‘Which are the most credible Manchester United transfer rumours right now?’ is the question then asked under the SEO-tastic headline of ‘Manchester United transfer rumours: Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey linked’. That exasperated, gutteral cry is the sound of Mediawatch screaming “Most credible? Most credible? Is it f*** the most credible” while simultaneously attempting to come to terms with the consequences of Brexit.
So ‘the most credible Manchester United transfer rumour right now’ is not about Zlatan Ibrahimovic – crucially, not now ‘credible’ because hardly anybody is currently talking about it – but Aaron Ramsey. Aaron sodding Ramsey.
Oddly, a nonsense transfer rumour involving two of the Premier League’s golden trio of clubs (when it comes to internet activity, at least) has scored highly in the key algorithm component of ‘Volume of Whispers’, defined as ‘the number of blogs, articles, posts and tweets across the internet talking about a specific transfer rumour’. Who would ever have thunk it?
And that – ladies of gentlemen – makes the concept of Arsenal selling Aaron Ramsey to Manchester United more ‘credible’ than a Zlatan to Manchester United transfer that is so inevitable that you can no longer place bets.
Mediawatch is long past the point where we are depressed by internet hits being hoovered up by bullsh*t transfer rumours, but please have the balls not to pretend that this is science; the only numbers that matter here are the ones on Google Analytics.
Hey Michy, you’re so fine
‘West Ham have made a €35m bid for Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi, according to Sky sources,’ it says here.
So let’s check the ‘credibility’ of that Sky Sports transfer story with Football Whispers because, after all, they are now the official arbiter of these things.
So a search for Michy Batshuayi reveals…
‘LINKED WITH NO TEAM SO FAR.’
Putting words in their mouths
Even Sky Sports have to admit on their website that Aaron Ramsey potentially joining Manchester United is not the biggest news story. That is reserved for this pretty sexy headline:
‘Vardy: Arsenal style put me off.’
That’s quite sensational. Let’s see these quotes then.
‘Jamie Vardy snubbed Arsenal over reservations of role under Arsene Wenger – Sky sources.’
When you know it’s a slow day for football news…
This was the top story on the MailOnline’s football page at 12pm on Friday:
‘Roy Hodgson’s side take on the Scandinavian minnows in Nice on Monday, but the weight of expectation from the England fans didn’t appear to be taking its toll on the squad as they left their hotel just north of Paris.’
Yes, England’s footballers left their hotel and some (but not all) of them were smiling. That, folks, is the biggest thing in football right now.
Labouring under the illusion that Wayne Rooney was rested for England’s final group game with Slovakia?
Then read The Sun. Apparently he was ‘ludicrously dropped’.
One of a kind
Headline in the Daily Mirror: ‘SIGURDSSON: STOP ROO, WE STOP ENGLAND.’
Opening paragraph in the Daily Mirror: ‘SWANSEA’S Gylfi Sigurdsson has told his Iceland team-mates: Shut down Wayne Rooney and we stop England.’
Actual quotes from Gylfi Sigurdsson: “Rooney is one of the players we are going to have to stop if we are going to stop England from playing and win the game.”
‘One of’. Five letters really can make a massive difference. Much like Leave.
In the dark
The Daily Mirror’s John Cross is not allowing this whole Euro 2016 lark to get in the way of his Arsenal fanboy work so he ‘exclusively’ brings us the news that ‘ARSENE WENGER last night claimed he still has “respect” for Jamie Vardy – but then warned N’Golo Kante is set to leave Leicester’.
Except he didn’t, did he? What Wenger actually said: “Kante is on the list of many clubs. We will see what happens in the next two or three weeks. It looks like Leicester have bought a player from Nice with similar qualities to Kante, so whether they envisage to lose him or not I don’t know.”
See that John…HE DOESN’T KNOW.
Football story of the day
‘Jamie Carragher spotted running on the streets of Liverpool on Dash Cam’ – Daily Mirror website.