First of all I’d like to take this opportunity to end speculation about my future as a columnist for Nottingham Forest Football Club. You may have seen reports in the tabloids linking me with a move to bitter rivals Derby County, but I must implore you to ignore this pure fabrication. I’m totally committed to this club and wish to end my career here, when such time comes to pass.
Photographs of me sat in a seedy underground tavern with Nigel Clough, Nathan Tyson and Shaun the Sheep have been taken completely out of context. Furthermore, rumours about contract negotiations stalling because I demanded to have a programme stand named after me are grossly exaggerated.
With that in mind, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be returning to the helm of ‘The Red Revolution’ next year, with more obscure Jonathan Greening/Jesus references than ever before. I can’t wait.
Despite the fact that it’s been a disappointing season, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing for the programme this year. Regardless of this, I would never have left my beloved Forest, not even if Barcelona had come in for me. No matter how the team fares, us supporters aren’t afforded the privilege of jumping ship.
Unfortunately, with regard to the modern footballer, there is no guarantee of such loyalty. The harsh reality is that those who have shone in the Championship this season could well be prized away from us by the lure of the Premiership. Even if we manage to hold onto our star players, it’s almost inevitable that the squad for the 2012/13 season will be much changed from the one we have now.
This begs the question … when it comes to rumours about arrivals and departures at the City Ground this summer, how can we separate truth from fiction? How can we know which stories to believe?
Luckily, help is at hand.
Once the season is over I shall be casting aside my notepad and feathered quill, replacing them with a deer stalker, pipe and magnifying glass. Despite the advice of loved ones and paid professionals, I’m quitting my day job in order to start my own detective agency. The solitary aim of this venture is to scrutinise every single Forest related rumour that rears its head throughout the summer, filtering out reality from the vast sea of shameless fantasy.
Throughout my twenty-odd years as a football fan, I’ve never endured a pre-season without being subjected to a minefield of lazy journalism. Unfortunately now, with blogs, fan forums and social networking sites coming to prominence, it’s worse than ever before. It only takes one flicker of conjecture and before long a fully-fledged rumour has manifested across every available channel of information.
That’s not to say that there aren’t a few noble journalists out there, trying to get the truth about our football club out into the public domain. Unfortunately the informed voices often become mere whispers amongst a gabble of guesswork and deceit.
But fear not … here are some tips to help you in your quest for the truth:
- As sad as it is, the vast majority of national newspapers don’t really care about Nottingham Forest anymore. Their attention is focussed solely on the clubs at the top of the Premiership. You will occasionally see the odd two-line transfer rumour about us … but such fragments must be treated with caution.
Language and content are very important. If the story is completely unsubstantiated, using jelly-like phrases such as ‘are thought to be interested,’ with no quote or justification to back it up, then it’s probably just been placed there to humour us attention-deprived Championship fans. You’re better off relying on local newspapers as a source of reliable transfer/takeover information.
- Beware of rumours that seem altogether too convenient. If the story is one that you could have conjured up yourself, then it might just be that somebody else has done exactly that, and simply published it somewhere.
- As entertaining as they can be, fan forums are full of sensational lies. Rumours that start with lines like ‘my mate’s mum is a cleaner at the City Ground and she heard …’ or ‘I saw Andy Reid in PC World and he told me’ are most likely to be utter tripe.
- Twitter can be a great source of news. It’s often where stories break first. Follow local journalists, Forest players and players who we are linked with … but beware of fake accounts!
- As boring as it sounds, nothing is official until it’s formally announced by Forest. Sky Sports, BBC Sport and the Nottingham Evening Post are very reliable sources, but sometimes you are best to ignore everything else and just wait for things to appear on the official website. It can save a lot of heartbreak.
I’d like to close by wishing you all an excellent pre-season. Thanks to all those who have used my Twitter account to pass on kind sentiments or suggest ideas for ‘The Red Revolution.’
Keep the Red flag flying high!
Follow me on Twitter: @Dave_Abbiss