Is no news good news?

Last updated : 17 January 2006 By Rick Lamb
The internet is a wonderful thing. Information can be disseminated at a rate unheard of 15 years ago. Minority groups, some worthy and some crackpot, can give the masses access to their opinions and beliefs without having Tom Cruise or Madonna as a mouthpiece. The bring and buy sale has been moved out of stale church halls and rejuvenated under a new name, ebay, and on a slightly less wholesome level, you can buy pornography without any need for a brown paper bag. Unless you like that sort of thing.

But I digress. Along with 24-hour rolling television news and sport channels, the internet has made current affairs, be they political, entertainment or sporting, a far more organic thing. While there used to be a slot for the morning papers, evening papers, and television and radio bulletins several times a day but principally in a big programme in the evening, all the gaps there were have now been filled in.

What this means is that there is no rumour unreported, no question unasked. There is, quite simply, nowhere to hide. Every public figure is held to account one way or the other.

Football, as ever, is both ahead of and behind the times. There are countless websites relating to the beautiful game, some of which seem as old as the internet itself, that report every bit of information they can get their hands on. Where things fall behind, however, is in substantiating much of what is reported and re-reported down the grapevine.

Norwich City, as a modern club run by sensible people, have made a point of late of being pretty honest about things. Generally, if Nigel Worthington is asked a question, he will answer it. The same goes for figures higher up the club. They even volunteer information, with Worthington and Neil Doncaster writing regular articles from within the club and even Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones issuing the most eloquent and considered vote of confidence in history through the club website not too long ago.

Of course, what people really want to know at the moment, in the crazy world of the transfer window, is who is coming and going. Our esteemed Chief Executive Mr Doncaster informed us last week that we would know all the intricate details of what bids have and haven’t been made once the window closes. What use is that? Of course it was nice to know that we nearly got Francis Jeffers on loan, but ultimately we couldn’t get excited about it because we didn’t know. In any case, we ended up with Kevin Lisbie instead, which was no good.

The situation surrounding Dean Ashton and Robert Green’s futures doesn’t exactly have more light shed on it by proclamations that there haven’t been any offers that excite the club. Does that mean there haven’t been any offers, that there have been some reasonable offers, or that there have been massive offers from several clubs but the club are adamant they will not sell?

When Ashton signed a new contract in the summer, it came as suddenly as if he had been unveiled as a Wigan player. The indications now are that the player isn’t demanding a move, and that the club doesn’t have to or want to sell, but the continued assertion that everybody has a price is unhelpful. Andy Johnson doesn’t have a price, and Simon Jordan has made that clear.

With Green, the dreaded agent has become involved and blabbed to the media, requiring a comeback from the club. Of course what was said between Worthington and his goalkeeper should remain secret, but explicitly saying so makes it sound like there’s much more to it. There might be, but we don’t know yet. Maybe in February.

It is understandable that the club don’t want to slap a price tag on their players or suggest what calibre of clubs have made offers for fear of something going amiss, or more rightly the club not getting the best of the deal. Cardiff City chief Sam Hammam, however, has done exactly that.

We know that Worthington is interested in the Bluebirds striker Cameron Jerome. He said so. What we don’t know is whether he is still interested at a potential £3.5million. You might think that we wouldn’t have that sort of money, but I thought that about the purchase of Ashton, and look what happened there. It just goes to show that, in football, you never know.