“THERE are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics,” is a quote most popularised by American author and humourist Mark Twain.
Imagine if he was still around in the modern football era, he might have added a fourth to the list: lies, damned lies, statistics and twitter in the transfer window.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche certainly wouldn’t rule it out, given his own experiences through social media spin at this time of the season.
“It doesn’t drive me round the twist, it’s just modern life. Someone makes a remark on twitter, someone picks up on it, someone then puts it in the paper, that paper story then builds then an agent rings you then a player wants to see you and it’s just some person on twitter that started it. Serious,” he said.
“That’s how it works nowadays. That’s happened several times.
“It’s just part and parcel of it – it’s not just football, it’s modern life. Everyone wants an angle and everyone wants to be the first to tell someone something.”
You only need to look at the case of Sam Gardiner, a 16-year-old schoolboy who masqueraded as a freelance writer for the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times, calling himself ‘Samuel Rhodes’ on his Twitter avatar.
He would take rumours and tweet them as fact, and his growing popularity – with followers reaching the 20,000 mark – led to private message conversations with then Wigan duo James McArthur and Grant Holt.
Some of Gardiner’s claims were picked up by sports websites, including Al Jazeera’s.
His account was identified as fake by a Daily Telegraph journalist and has since been closed.
Closer to home, Clarets fans were in a frenzy when Clubcall reported that Burnley and West Brom had agreed a fee for Danny Ings.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
But Dyche prefers to keep his head when all around might be losing there’s.
When asked if he gets nervous as deadline day approaches, the former Watford boss said: “I choose not to be.
“I’m quite confident with what our words are, how we conduct ourselves with the transfer business, in goings and outgoings.
“I don’t get nervous, it’s the reality of what it is.
“I lost Marvin Sordell two hours before kick-off at Millwall when transfer deadline day was on a Tuesday match night.
“I wasn’t nervous about that because I didn’t have time to be.
“I asked the owner if he could play or not, he said no, I said okay, we move onwards and upwards. We won 2-0.”
The rumour mill is another reason why Dyche also strives to keep a firm lid on his transfer business as much as possible until targets are secured.
He is not in the habit of speaking about another club’s player, and while he does not deny being on the lookout for new faces, he generally keeps his cards close to his chest to avoid alerting rival clubs.
“The challenge of the window is that there are a lot of players that similar clubs will be in for and we can’t always win the race financially because someone will put something more financial into the club, the player or whatever so we have to shop accordingly.”
In contrast, QPR were active on the transfer front yesterday in response to losing Charlie Austin to a long-term shoulder injury.
But Dyche said their preparations for this top of the table clash would not be affected.
“To be fair I think Harry (Redknapp) has a formation that he’s liked which is more or less a 4-4-1-1 so the personnel that go into that formation may change but I get the feeling he prefers that formation,” said the Burnley boss.
“He might twist it and tweak it as we do ourselves, depending on who we’re playing.
“We decide on what we do. We’re aware of the opposition and always let the lads know what we think about them, but it does come down to you delivering your own performance first.
“When we go out there it’s 11 v 11.
“They’re not infallible, they have their weaknesses the same as everyone else. They’re not guaranteed a result - no one is because football owes you nothing.
“I make sure our players go there free of mind to go and play.
“We haven’t got a massive squad but we’ve got a very enthused and energetic squad and I think some real quality.”