I certainly think football gossip has to have some effect,be it on the players who are talked about and the managers whose futures are constantly discussed and analysed. Their every move is talked about both in the press and on fan boards (owlstalk mainly for Swfc). Now don't get me wrong I am certainly not against freedom of speech and certainly not against fans having somewhere to discuss their beloved team,however we must all remember that anyone can post on these boards no matter what their agenda. During the time of Lee Strafford, Swfc's ex chairman, the club but mainly him reached out to fans on message boards. I would argue that this accessibility did neither him or the club any good, He became increasingly paranoid, often accusing people of being FUDS (basically causing fear,unrest and disorder) there to cause problems. I'm sure there are people on there who were intending to do exactly that, but he seemed to think every 3rd person was there to cause issues and I honestly think he was wrong.
Unless anonymity is taken away you will never stop people joining message boards to plant rumours and hope to affect their rival team. This has been very clear in the last 3 days with owlstalk being inundated with new members who claim to be ITK (in the know) about Gary Megson about to be sacked. Yesterday the rumours spread to some of the press with talksport and a few other sports journalists commenting after being emailed about it. This is hardly surprising as Swfc have lost 3 league games and a very,very big game against the blunts on Sunday. We all know that it makes sense for blunt fans to try and cause issues in the Wednesday camp as this will help them even more. Owlstalk has actually reacted quite well (for owlstalk and these people can OVERREACT beyond belief :) ) and seems to be acting fairly level headily. I assumed this was all over yesterday but I open owlstalk today to find that The Sun newspaper has printed an article about Gary Megson titled "Doomed Megson heading for Hills" which can be found here. Basically they have reprinted all the usual rumours (Megson and Mandric dont get on, Megson is going to be sacked etc,Paul Ince is lined up for the job) and say they have it from an inside source. What we have to remember is 1) you can write anything in the name of an anonymous insider to cover you backside 2) I could call The Sun or any tabloid and say I work at whatever club and I know for example that Danny Wilson is an agent for the owls and will let them win on Sunday. This obviously is not true but if I say I want to remain annoymous then that's what will happen and nothing can be traced back to me.
Is this unique to football? Of course not, it is amplified because football is the national game and there are so many millions of fans. You just need to look at trending twitter topics for the last year,how many RIP celebrityname(who is alive) have we seen? This is just an extreme (and very macabre) form of what happens on football forums all over the world, no matter if you support Swfc,Man City, Real Madrid or Barca.
Lets say for a split second that The Sun really have a credible insider (sounds like an oxymoron right!) and that Manderic really is upset with the recent form and him and Megson don't get on. Firstly, I wouldn't be surprised if they don't get on and I actually don't think it would matter for a split second provided they can work together. Megson isnt known for being the easiest man in the world and neither is Manderic but so what? Secondly, you would hardly be surprised to hear that Manderic is annoyed at loosing 3 league games on the trot, if he was I would be worried. Yes,Sunday is a very big game,there is no beating around the bush or ignoring this. Should we lose on Sunday there will be mounting pressure on Manderic as promotion will start looking much less likely,even through the playoffs. Should we lose badly (please no!) then I wouldn't be surprised if he was sacked pretty much straight away. Is this all Megsons fault? I would argue not. Since January we have had a weaker team than from August to January. We lost Ben Marshall and to be honest we really haven't replaced him,certainly not with someone who can do the same job as him. We also lost James OConnor and no matter what you think about him he had a fantastic win ratio and he always tried damn hard for Swfc. I've seen him play badly but I've never seen him not try. I think it is appalling ( I know I have likely written about this already but I still irks me) that when Megson said he wanted JOC to stay and JOC said he wanted to stay that Paul Aldridge decided not to offer him a new contract. I realise we probably couldn't do anything to keep Ben Marshall but to bring Mike Jones and John Bostock in as replacements has been a huge failure. I cant help but think that perhaps we should be looking at Milan and asking him why he hasn't fully backed his manager.
Should Megson go and I sincerely hope he doesn't as I respect him and believe he can get us promoted no matter how annoyed I've been recently. Can we please have Mick McCarthy as he is talented and not boring or a stroppy little sod like a certain ex-Huddersfield manager. Alternatively you could really shock people and hire me, be the first male British league club to hire a female as a football manager, you should see my record on football manager and you think Megson has a loud voice wait until you here mine (JJ beware!).