Those of you who are on Twitter will know that ITK (In The Know) accounts have dominated this summer’s transfer window.
These accounts claim to be “in the know” about the club’s transfer policies/activity and spend hours everyday feeding fans with the latest news from their ‘source’.
There’s no denying that some of these ITKs are tweeting the truth and that they do have genuine sources within the club. Others are arguably claiming to be in the know as a form of seeking attention and being popular amongst the Twitter community.
Such behavior, legit or not, has been met with anger and confusion. Some accounts have been closed down after receiving angry tweets from fans who have had enough of the lies they believe they’re reading. Others spend more time trying to convince fans that what they are reporting is true, rather than actually reporting on the club’s transfer targets.
So why is this all relevant to West Ham’s transfer window as we edge ever closer to our return to the big time? Well, there’s around 10 players who have been reported to be “having a medical” at West Ham, only for them to either sign a new contract at their club, sign for someone else or just plainly stay where they are.
All of these players’ prospective moves to Upton Park were first reported by ITKs on Twitter. No official news sources reported the moves as even interest. This, of course, will have got thousands of fans’ hopes up as they get excited at the prospect of seeing Eljero Elia, Nathanial Clyne and Milos Krasic. These moves never happened and the ITKs got the blame.
Those players, as well as all the others, were all probably on the wish list of Sam Allardyce. Some may have even had their medicals but either failed them or couldn’t agree personal terms. After all, Big Sam told TalkSport’s Moose earlier this week that the club had failed to secure 95% of their transfer targets so far, around 10 of which slipped under the radar of the press.
This is alarming, and it makes you wonder how the club’s negotiating strategies and transfer policies could have been so bad on so many occasions during the summer window. What is also alarming is the false hope the fans have been given on Twitter this summer.
False hope brings disappointment. Disappointment brings negativity. Negativity brings booing. Booing affects the players. The players’ performances are affected, and the club struggles to improve.
This is obviously an extreme way of assessing the situation. We all know transfers are complex and it’s not just a case of having a bid accepted, the player passing a medical, signing his contract and then joining up with his new team mates. Agent fees, personal terms, perks for the player, add-ons for the selling club and lots or other things need to all be agreed on before a player signs on the dotted line. A proposed transfer can fall through at the very last minute because the club refuses to give the player a new car and a house as part of the deal.
This is where the ITKs come in. They claim the club is interested in a player. The fans either believe him or they don’t. The ITK claims the player is about to have a medical. Those that believe them get their hopes up. Those that don’t abuse the ITK or ignore them. The player ‘fails the medical’ and the deal is off. The ITK claims they were only reporting speculation in order to save their reputation and the fans hoping for a new signing are left disappointed.
There’s no real way of getting away from this, especially as Twitter expands as the world’s social network of choice. It’s the first place many people now go for latest news.
One thing we do know, though, is that ITKs and accounts claiming to be agents have dominated the current transfer window with their claims, and ‘false’ reports. They have done so mainly because people have listened and people have reacted.
Such reaction has led to a slightly negative attitude amongst Hammers as we approach Saturday’s game with Villa:
“Will we struggle?” “How will we play?” “Big Sam hasn’t signed the right players.” “Gold and Sullivan need to spend more money.”
Instead, it should be:
“We’ve got a squad that can compete.” “Looking forward to seeing these new signings.” “There’s a couple of areas we need to improve, but the club will surely strengthen before the window closes.”
So lets ignore the ITKs you don’t believe, and even those you might trust, and concentrate on West Ham’s first season back in the Premier League. Let’s the people behind the scenes get on with bringing in new players while we concentrate on getting behind the boys and building on the success of last season.
Here’s to a POSITIVE opening day three points. James Collins to get the winner (if he’s fit), because he will have read the script.