It was the summer of 93, in the McAvelia household it was a day like any other. As I sat down for tea the front door slammed and in walked my Dad, throwing his bait box on the kitchen bench and a rolled up Evening Chronicle onto the table. He sat with a wry smile, I glanced at the paper to see “YURAN”.

Like Charlie Bucket opening his Wonka bar searching for the golden ticket I slowly unrolled the paper with expectation and excitement –

“SERGEI YURAN SIGNS”

Sergei himself was pictured, his granite chin and 1980s wet perm made him look more like a member of the Russian mafia than an international footballer. The name was unknown but apparently Yuran was banging in goals for Benfica, this lad was the next Keegan.  It didn’t take long for word to spread and in the following days kids were screaming “Yuran!” in playgrounds across Tyneside.

Much to our disappointment, Sergei Yuran would never play in black and white. Rumour has it Sergei wasn’t happy with the car Newcastle offered him and we pulled out of the deal. Whoever offered him a Ford Fiesta rather than a Sierra Cosworth saved Keegan’s blushes as Sergei signed for Millwall shortly afterwards and proved to be a total flop.

Before the days of Sky Sports, social media and 24-hour news we relied on the Evening Chronicle, Look North and Ceefax for news on player signings. Rumours were spread in schools, pubs and clubs but rarely did the media get it wrong as speculation on transfer dealings was certainly not as rife as it is today.

Fast forward almost 25 years, the most recent transfer window has been pretty disastrous for Newcastle United. Ashley’s promise of funds raised our expectations and I found myself checking Twitter for updates every hour of every day. We craved news, we craved a story, we craved a signing but all we got were rumours, fake news and journalists struggling for the headlines to fill their pages. We hit the web with vengeance and in doing so added fuel to a social media fire that Ashley had lit when he said there was money to spend.

The transfer window was frustrating not only due to the lack of spending but also the total social media meltdown that ensued. Fans not knowing who to blame or who to talk to bashed their keyboards and posted their feelings into a vacuous cyberspace, others took it upon themselves to create fictitious postings to goad us all. So what caused the NUFC social media meltdown? I’ve found a few culprits.

The Liars

Years ago transfer rumours would typically start with the immortal lines “My Uncle is a taxi driver and he’s just collected (insert name here) from Newcastle Airport”. For years we fell for this gem, along with “My Uncle’s mate works in Gosforth chippy and (insert name here) was there buying battered sausage and chips”

These rumours have now been replaced by a generation of fan boys craving Likes, Shares and Retweets with their photoshopped images. About as funny as gout.

sergei yuran

The Speculator

When there’s no news, make something up. This seems to be the logic behind 99% of the social media postings I’ve read this season. If Rafa had signed every player that social media linked us to we’d have a squad big enough to fill the empty seats at Sunderland on match day.

sergei yuran

Rafa isn’t happy

Working for Mike Ashley isn’t easy, ask anyone at Sports Direct about that. But let’s be honest, nobody knows what Rafa is thinking other than Rafa, possibly his wife, maybe his hairdresser and potentially his favourite waiter at El Coto. With a shortage of signings and therefore headlines we’ve seen speculation, mind reading techniques and witchcraft used to force a story into the press. Journos have a tough job pleasing us Geordies, but I’ll kick my phone into the Tyne if I read another “Ooh Rafa isn’t happy!” story.

sergei yuran

Can’t we just sign everyone?

I wouldn’t tell Stephen Hawking about my big bang theories or question his quadratic equation calculations, I certainly wouldn’t tell Rafa Benitez who he should be signing. However, as other clubs throw their money at the market and players slip through our fingers we all get very excited over players who couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t sign for us.

sergei yuran

Merson

The only thing that could make Merson less popular amongst Newcastle fans would be if he appeared on Soccer Saturday wearing a Sunderland kit. I’ve never heard anyone spout such utter drivel as this bloke. Sky roll out his nonsensical cockney gibberish at every given opportunity. Can someone gag this bloke?

sergei yuranAs it stands Rafa is still our manager and for that we should be grateful. Who knows what the future holds but I won’t be checking Facebook or Twitter to find the answer. After another tedious transfer window I’m going to sit in a darkened room, away from social media, the doom merchants, the liars and the speculators. I may log on to retweet a funny video of a cat every now and again but my nerves can’t take this any longer.

I’ll be picking up the daily news from The Chronicle from now on, waiting for the day that Sergei Yuran replaces Rafa.

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  • Leazes Ender

    The problem with rumours is that they fill the space where facts haven’t materialised…. step forward the leading exponents of the art….. journalists.

    The ‘legendary’ reporter Alan Oliver was wrong so much of the time with his page fillers that he used to fill up the following days page with half ars*d apologies about the rumour being ‘wide of the mark….. two days worth of polyfiller speculation and nothing new found…. pages filled, job done.

    …I stopped buying it years ago.

  • ghostrider

    Rumours and speculation, plus wind ups and fantasies are all part and parcel of being a fan of any competitive sport.
    If everything was to the point and on the nose, then it would quickly become mundane.

    Having the ” my uncle got hit by a taxi on the Tyne Bridge and he told me that (insert superstars name) was in the back.”
    Same as the transfer window. It’s set out to keep fans fixated and in a state of apprehension and excitement.

    Imagine is all clubs who weren’t doing deals made it clear they weren’t?
    Exactly.

    • David McAvelia

      Fair point mate, you can take much of my frustrations with a pinch of salt. However, the old “a source close to the player” or “a source revealed” smacks of lazy journalism and typically spells “bull sh!t”. These are the comments that frustrate me the most.

      • ghostrider

        Some comments frustrate me as well so I do know where you’re coming from.
        The thing is, with nearly every smooth there will be rough x2 or more, but generally always a rough with a smooth.
        For instance, what appears to be lazy journalism or wind ups, can also be anything but and actually come out as a truth.

        I generally try to take any positive out of any negatives to do with the club.
        I do it because my entertainment in football with Newcastle United hinges on the feel good factor and not the peed off, feel bad factor.

        I normally weed out anything bad within a short space of time, because it gives me a clearer head to see a bigger or better picture, rather than dwell on a bad tabloid article or hearsay at the club or a disgruntled ex player, etc.

        Just remember, in the world of journalism, bad news travels fast and spreads like an epidemic.
        Good news spreads like a misers buttered toast…..very thinly.

  • Double Carpet

    Please tell me you realised the Russian one was a pi55 take. Please?? From your piece I don’t think you did having listed it with other ‘real’ rumours bout real players.

    Benalin 😳😳

    Maybe Benilyn for chesty cough ………..

    • David McAvelia

      No mate, along with Dutch player Hertz Van Rental it’s one that’s done the rounds before. I’ll give him 8/10 for comedy effort, my article gets a 4.

  • Steve Pearce

    So did you know we also failed to sign the great striker Shuvvi Tupyars in the same transfer window?