There is only one thing worse than Newcastle transfer ‘exclusives’ inside the Summer and January windows.
And that is…Newcastle transfer ‘exclusives’ after a window has closed.
After this latest January 2018 window closed on Wednesday night, we then saw a sizeable number of reports that followed, claiming Newcastle would be moving for such and such now in the Summer.
Some of the players claimed to be Summer 2018 definite targets that will be ‘moved for’ are the likes of Nicolai Jorgensen and others who were linked with Newcastle during January.
Whilst there have also been other ‘transfer targets’ named, who weren’t even mentioned when the January window was still active.
Many Sunday newspapers have a dedicated page(s) each week for transfer ‘news’, so they have to put something in it.
This is despite for over two-thirds of the year clubs aren’t allowed to buy anybody.
After countless newspaper exclusives in January claiming Newcastle would be buying such and such a player in the next few days, it would take a brave (foolish!) man to believe a newspaper exclusive naming a player that is allegedly going to be signed in five or six months time.
The power of online and fan access to overseas journalists/newspapers and indeed UK journalists/newspapers, as well as the players themselves in many cases, has taken away all/most of the mystique that individual newspapers, especially regional ones, had when it came to transfer stories.
This is especially true when it comes to Newcastle United, long gone are the days when the Chronicle did indeed have full control of proper NUFC transfer ‘exclusives’.
Back in the day, the only way you did find out any transfer news was by buying the Chronicle.
Now though they are simply scrabbling with the rest, whether it is other newspapers/journalists, blogs, or indeed just individual fans spotting something online first.
With Mike Ashley’s cosy arrangement with Sky Sports, it is they who are usually first with news on transfers as they are simply handed the story by the club, just as the Chronicle used to get them, when they were indispensable to NUFC.
However, it is now Sky Sports who are in the driving seat, as they are happy to give Mike Ashley and his minions (Dennis Wise etc) a platform to push out the Ashley PR/propaganda, supposed interviews that are in reality just giving free rein to the Newcastle owner to say whatever he wants, unchallenged.
The reality of any Newcastle transfer exclusives at this point is that they are laughable.
At this point nobody knows who is going to be owning the club in the Summer, or which division the team will be playing in, or indeed sadly whether Rafa Benitez will be willing to stick it out any longer if the Fat Controller is still here and undermining him.
So how can you take seriously any story claiming Newcastle will be signing a particular player to play next season?
Whilst it was incredibly frustrating and annoying, the transfer windows of Summer 2013 and January 2014 were amusing in one sense.
Mike Ashley didn’t allow a single player to be bought for over a year and so every Newcastle transfer exclusive in that 12+ months period, claiming the club were buying whoever, was just a joke. Journalists using them to fill a space and/or get the clicks, Ashley never had any intention of buying anybody in those two windows and employed Joe Kinnear as Director of Football purely for the reason of trying to convince supporters/media that JFK’s incompetence was the reason for no players bought in.
The power of the Mike Ashley PR spin was seen to amazing effect in January, as his minions spread the story that the owner was backing his manager to buy a £20m striker and was happy to smash the ridiculous 13 year old club transfer record.
For that story to dominate all the headlines and then the reality being that Ashley never intended to spend a penny on buying players, just shows where the power now lies in putting stories out in the media.
It is all a game for Mike Ashley and his friends at the likes of Sky Sports (who have most to gain from the endless transfer speculation), the newspapers simply watching on hoping for crumbs to fall their way.