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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Why you shouldn't believe transfer rumours - ever

Dodgy rumours and transfer deadline day go together like weasels and hammers - very well. We've all seen the ludicrous rumours doing the round as that all important deadline looms. In fact, the speculation is often half the fun.

But where do these rumours come from, and how quickly can they spread? Our Lakes decided to see if he see if he could start a rumour that would capture the imagination of the national press - with interesting results.

Now, as you all know, I'm a big Preston fan. What's more, I'm a bit of a sucker for a good rumour, and a staple on the North End rumour mill is the return of prodigal son David Nugent to Deepdale.

It's done the rounds more times than I can remember - and with Nugent on the verge of leaving Portsmouth, this year seemed a great time to bring it back with a bang.

For some reason, the media love stories about players returning to former clubs. They always have. Maybe there was a degree of added probability of likeliness given Nuge's recent form.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I set about single-handedly spreading this most innocent of rumours - and making a mockery of the entire transfer rumour system. Here's the timeline of how the day's events unfolded.

First posting of rumour on the BBC's 606 messageboards.

Written in an upbeat style designed to match the BBC's transfer deadline day updates, the seed was planted. Now all I had to do was sit back and hope they picked up on it. I wasn't entirely hopeful, as the volume of rumours flying out of 606 was substantial.

Hook, line, and sinker - BBC transfer pages picks it up

The BBC's transfer deadline duly took the bait.

Forumites spot the post

And we're away! Almost instantly, fans on the PNE forum are rubbishing the rumour - as any sane North End fan would. "Just seen this bullshit on the BBC," bemoans the first poster, correctly. Another highlights the 'cock' in my surname, groaning "sums them up."

Honestly, some people can't take a joke. But it doesn't stop there. People are picking up on it. Some people actually think it's going to happen. "Just had a phone call from a mate saying the same. Dare we hope? Surely not?" states one, hopefully.

One goes further, confidently stating: "Just been speaking to Nugent. About to have a medical and is signing on a six month loan deal, with the option of a further six months."

Oh dear.

10:30am Football365 pick up on the BBC's update

In the space of a minute, it's all kicked off! The Football365 forum has gone into overdrive and the rumour's been picked up on across the board.


TalkSPORT announce rumour

This is getting a bit out of hand now. TalkSPORT pick up on the rumour and state on air that someone has spotted Nugent at Deepdale and there's talk of a possible loan move to bring back the former North End star.

There's a gap. Forums across the Championship and Premier League are picking up on the news and are discussing the possible implications. Would Nugent set the Championship on fire again?

10:44am One such forum is the Nottingham Forest forum

Some Forest fans think Earnshaw is the twice the player Nugent is, it turns out. Not much more to see here. No sign of Turls.

12:16pm SportingLife are all over it

After a short recess, SportingLife becomes the latest site to take the bait, and are koined swiftly by WalesOnline and Sunderland Press Talk's round-up.


Sunderland Press Talk:

Things are hotting up, that's for sure.

BBC Stoke announce story

"Randomly my dad is driving through Stoke and BBC Stoke came on. It said on the news that Stoke target David Nugent is on the verge of re-joining Preston. He just rang me as soon as it was on - about ten minutes ago saying that. God knows if it's true, but it's reached BBC Stoke," says one PNE fan.

But then, disaster strikes. Sky Sports News are at Fratton Park, and who should be there but none other than David Nugent, scuppering my rumour and stopping it dead.

Not all is lost, however. The reporter says he tried to get a word with Nugent. Could it be he was going to ask him if there was any truth in the rumour? Had my rumour been on the verge of making it to the man himself, and onto television? I'll never know.

One thing I do know, though - never trust internet transfer rumours!


N.B. Nugent went onto join Preston's neighbours Burnley on loan for six months, with the option of a permanent deal. So he was returning to Lancashire after all...

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