This is a mea culpa. Ball Control, too, relied on a single source for its recent piece on the scam ‘Dream Football League’. The exclusive in The Times was taken at face value though, in hindsight, the satirical nature of the mooted 24-team league lay barely below the surface of the story; seen most obviously in the almost-comedic title of the non-event.
A retraction has finally been elicited from Rupert Murdoch’s august organ and Ball Control strongly feels it is right to do likewise. I AM TRULY SORRY.
So, while our source moves on to rebuild its reputation (and justify its online paywall), their source is (rightly) being hounded out of football altogether. The other man at the centre of the storm, The Times’ Chief Football Correspondent Oliver Kay, recently resurfaced on social media and, given the circumstances, has been given a fairly easy and sympathetic ride – consider, for instance, that his first tweet accompanying the report suggested he had doubts as to its veracity at the time: Often, when you write a big story, you’re desperate for it to come off so you “look good”. Not so sure this time.
The ire of the keyboard warriors has been focused not so much on the botched research of the story/reporter, but in the newspaper’s vehement denials of malpractice when it was all too clear that details of the DFL (including the logo used in The Times’ report) had been previously published as a work of fiction by Cahiers du Football. This seemed to many observers like the haughty actions of a professional media class unconditioned to admitting mistakes. Add to that the closed ranks of other journalists eager to defend one’s own so soon after the Leveson report and you get ample fuel for the fire.
Predictably, the guerrilla army of amateur bloggers were swift to pounce. Driven by jealousy towards those who are paid to do what they do for free, and buoyed by what they see as an arrogant ‘old media’ reeling in its death throes, the soldiers of the WordPress and Blogspot brigades trained their guns on Fleet Street. Whenever a journo popped their head above the parapet they were caught in the crosshairs.
Thanks heavens Ball Control will never garner the scrutiny that comes with monetisation (and/or a readership). If my actions at work were under the same level of public interest I would be a quivering wreck, rocking back and forth in my ergonomic office chair.
Instead, dear reader, you get to read this guff with no means of redress whatsoever.
As ever, comments welcome below the line.