featured Opinion Striking the Angle

Striking the Angle: U-turns, photoshop signings and the 85 million – 20 minute flop

Bryan is back, and he is once again exasperated at the warped world of modern football with clickbait, photoshop madness and flop-shaming in the firing line.

Heart of Football Performs Dramatic Double U-turn With Clickbait Malarkey

You won’t believe the depths that modern publications will go to get you to click on their claptrap articles. It is a massive blow to our intelligence and it’ll shock you to learn that it is only getting worse. The clickbait article has been with us since the inception of the internet. The first iterations were easy enough to spot. ‘Van Dijk worry, centre back ruled out for 6 months’ – the key here was the comma. The article leads you to believe Van Dijk himself is out injured, but in fact the two parts of the sentence are unrelated. Van Dijk has lost his cat during his recent house move, and some 18 year old Bolton defender has a minor injury – neither story would probably receive the same number of clicks on their own merit. 

The most recent iteration of the clickbait article though is becoming impossibly difficult to decipher. The ‘u-turn’ article is a highly confusing mishmash of utter nonsense that can only be pre-understood by keeping up with the whirlwind of codswallop articles produced hourly by once respected publications. They normally fall under the following template: “random player performs a dramatic transfer u-turn as something unrelated also happens”. The headline doesn’t mention which club, or the origin of the so-called ‘u-turn’ or what these things have to do with the unrelated thing. “Christian Eriksen’s transfer U-turn as Antony offer falls short”, “Rio Ferdinand performs alarming U-turn after predicting next …” 

The clickbait article is where journalism goes to die. Hopefully criticism, if not altruism, will force these publications into a dramatic u-turn. This very website was created out of the desire to see fewer of these rubbish articles on our news feeds, you won’t believe what happened next…

The Photoshop Phenomenon 

There was a time when a new signing wasn’t official until a photo appeared on the back of a physical newspaper. Your club’s new player leaning on various parts of the training facility, jersey proudly in hand. As physical newspapers’ popularity began to wane, the official excitement could only begin once the yellow banner appeared on Sky Sports News. The same photos would soon follow, the new player, in your team’s kit holding a scarf above his head, declaring his desire to win trophies for his boyhood club.

Then things changed. In a world of fake news and alternative facts, the clarity of the official announcement has been clouded. Now a new phenomenon has overtaken the simple ‘x announce y’ articles. That phenomenon, the photoshopped images of player x wearing team y’s new kit. With technology improving, and skills getting ever more impressive – the jersey swap has become something of a staple in the rumour mill.

There is, of course, a joy to the concept of seeing your club’s star target in your kit before it is signed and sealed. But the other side of it ruins the big moment. Seeing the summer’s marquee signing in the kit, scarf held aloft is the down season equivalent to scoring a championship winning goal. The photoshopped image is akin to VAR taking all the joy out of celebrating said goal as you wait for it to be delivered.

More Millions than Minutes

The expensive flop, it can happen to any team. Chelsea re-signing Lukaku was seen by most as the final piece of the next great jigsaw, only for the puzzle to fall foul only a few months into his return. Middlesbrough breaking the bank and showing true ambition, forking out £12.5 million on 45-goal man Afonso Alves was a sign that they were a team to be reckoned with, but it wasn’t to be. Chelsea breaking the bank for the most expensive goalkeeper of all time couldn’t possibly go wrong, but it did, and the various array of clubs all thinking they will be the one to truly get the most out of Álvaro Morata couldn’t believe they would all be wrong, but they were. 

Hindsight is always twenty twenty, well maybe Morata aside. But inevitably some deals are going to fail. Players are human after all and they may not suit the set up, they may not enjoy their new city. But when is it possible to know when a deal has failed? When is it acceptable to label a player a flop? Some will never work out, but some come good. Peter Crouch, infamously, went 18 games before scoring for Liverpool, but is now kindly regarded by Kopites when they think back on the tall, robotic genius. Mo Salah only scored two goals for Chelsea before becoming a world icon at Liverpool only a few seasons later. Diego Forlán never hit the sort of form with Manchester United that would later have him regarded as one of the best Uruguay has produced. 

But it is another Uruguayan that has broken a record that even the annals keepers hadn’t realised until they’d noted it down. It took a total of 27 minutes and 36 seconds of a mishmash, humdrum Bangkok Century Cup Final for Darwin Núñez to officially become the latest expensive flop to add to the above list before, naturally, smashing four past RB Leipzig days later. That’s some evolution.

Football. Photos. Travel. In that order. Football since my first trip to Anfield aged 10, Photos since my first camera aged 13, Travel since I first lived abroad in Spain aged 18. I always angle for an angle in my writing. You can only see, if you know what you're looking at.

1 comment on “Striking the Angle: U-turns, photoshop signings and the 85 million – 20 minute flop

  1. Pingback: Round Table: 2022/23 Season Predictions – Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League – Heart of Football

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