Guest writer Chris Manning has a look at ‘ITK’ types online and whether they can be trusted…..
So Alan Nixon of the Mirror has yet again dipped into his ‘hat of footballer names` and plucked out our latest transfer target – Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace`s Australian midfield enforcer.
Ordinarily this wouldn`t bother me, as Jedinak is a competent player with experience both in his homeland and in Europe with the Turkish side Glencerbirgli, not to mention 37 appearances with the Australian National Team.
Yet what bothers me is that the link came from Alan Nixon. When Coyle first appeared, Burnley supporting friends of mine would comment that transfer exclusives were being broken online by Nixon, a man who had no previous links to the club. This was followed by Nixon becoming a regular contributor to the Burnley matchday programme. Nixon would also frequent a message board run for supporters of Blackburn Rovers. He was supposed to be a close contact of Coyle, and would often give fans snippets of inside information regarding the goings-on at Burnley and especially regarding transfer dealings.
So, being a great believer in everything I read online, I was delighted that as a fan we would have someone on the ‘inside` giving us access to information that we otherwise might not receive. Therefore when Coyle was appointed in January 2010 I followed Nixon through his Twitter account and looked forward to hearing all about transfer targets.
However it soon seemed apparent that Nixon might not quite be as ‘In The Know (ITK)` as we first thought. Names were mentioned, fees were discussed, and more often than not he would leave cryptic messages on forums and on his Twitter account which had eager fans hanging on to his every word – sure that some fascinating bit of information was about to imparted – only to check back later in the day to find that the thread had been dropped completely and Nixon had moved on to another topic.
This continued on a daily basis, with supporters bombarding him with questions “Any news today Al?”, coupled with the more savvy supporters starting to realise that Nixon was, in fact, full of hot air. Whilst undoubtedly he would have some knowledge of the inner dealings of the club when his mate Owen was in charge – it seemed apparent that he was filling in the gaps himself for the majority of the time.
You see, the trouble with having an ‘Oracle`, is that by the very definition of the word they are prophets. Prophets have, according to my limited knowledge, stuck to topics like predicting war or famine, not whether an Irish Scotsman is moving desks a few miles down the down.
In this day and age of football fans wanting 24/7 knowledge, and the saturation of online blogs and transfer-rumour websites anyone with even a slight passing claim to being ‘ITK` is therefore jumped upon.
Mr Nixon also appears to be a bit touchy. From speaking to other users it seems too that he is all-too-happy to block non-believers. There are as many people who can see through his smokescreen as are blinded by it. You need to pander to his ego, to his vanity, to ask him daily questions about topics that he can provide vague answers to – then you`re fine. Otherwise don`t bother.
I would have thought proper Oracles would be a bit more friendly.