I heard Chesterfield are signing Reuben Reid, Anthony Gerrard and some guy from Salford.
It was on Twitter.
Ah yes, that NonLeagueFormerAgentITK account with 57 followers, no profile picture and six tweets that grown adults still, for some unknown reason, retweet and subsequently attach belief to.
A news vacuum, even one as short as a week, will soon be filled with the dust and debris of social media nonsense.
There is, in the vast majority of Twitter rumours, no substance.
The lightest breeze of scrutiny blows them to pieces.
What these accounts do isn’t all that clever or complicated.
They scan social media and fora looking for names that fans profess to want at their club.
They pick up on players being linked to clubs by reputable media sources.
They grab a Google image and state with the utmost certainty that the deal is on.
And if you throw a hundred darts, there’s a chance one might just hit the bullseye.
Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking there’s any skill involved.
No phone call has been made, no contacts book has been opened, no sources has been consulted.
The Spireites might sign Reid, it’s likely he’s on John Sheridan’s radar, having scored plenty of goals for him in the past.
It’d be a move you could see happening, if the wage demands fit within Town’s budget.
But no one – not the player himself, not his agent, not his current club, not Sheridan, not the Chesterfield CEO and not a single journalist – has picked up the phone to give EFLTransferWhisperZone the heads up.
It’s harmless, let them have their fun, you might say.
I’d say it’s a grand waste of everyone’s time.
There’s enough half truths to wade through, with agents coyly suggesting the club you cover might well be one of those eyeing up their client and Chinese whispers from those within the game, without having to shoot down outright lies.
As a journalist I’ll always want to find out what’s going on before it actually happens and I’ll ask questions of the people who actually have that information.
Sometimes they’ll tell me and I can break a story, sometimes they won’t.
Sometimes another journalist will get the scoop.
Ultimately, when a player is holding a blue scarf above his head on the Proact pitch and saying this club belongs in the Football League, it’s a done deal.
Or, at the very least, when he’s spotted going up the Tesco Extra escalator.