As part of our celebrations marking our tenth anniversary, our editor, Simon Paul, takes a look back at some of the hits and misses of NSNO and player transfers. Strap yourselves in…
In the days before Twitter opened the floodgates to a million and one bogus accounts claiming to be “in the know” (or ITK as it’s been wonderfully shortened to) it was down to people passing information to friends and colleagues through actually speaking to them. Face to face. Imagine that. How very old fashioned!
If you couldn’t manage face to face encounters, then there was always the phone, or text, or email. Oh for the days when people used email and text messages to conduct private conversations instead of clogging up Twitter timelines with their witterings.
Eventually, once a weak link in the chain of communication had been found, this titbits of info would find their way into the hands of someone like me, who would then put them onto the website for people like you to read. And we’d all celebrate our wonderful new signings before they’d actually happened. Or we’d moan about them. And then we’d be proven right or wrong.
For those reading from Everton Football Club computers, I’m not about to name names here, but do keep reading, it gets better, I promise!
NSNO gets it’s information from all over the place. Some people we trust implicitly, some we watch and wait and see what happens. In the past, though, we’ve trusted people when perhaps we should have waited to see how things panned out. Who can forget the time we were told that Kieron Richardson and Kevin Nolan had been spotted outside Bellefield, only for it to turn out that Nolan was abroad with Bolton? Or the Jimmy Bullard story that took 3 years for it to come out that he was actually on his way to have talks but got a better offer and turned his car around? There was also the Niclas Anelka saga.
I’d been told that we’d made an offer of £5m for him from to Fenerbache. But I was in work, so I passed a message to one of our other writers at the time via a mutual friend which got transformed into us having actually signed him by the time it reached the “typing it dead quick to get it on the site” stage. By the time I got home the server was leaking smoke and it took six hours to clarify the story.
But then there was the time when we had the news that Mikel Arteta had signed a permanent deal with Everton, half an hour before Sky Sports News, and a couple of hours before the official site.
Or the time we told you that Andy Van der Meyde would be signing for us the next day, before most people inside Everton knew.
Or the time that Steven Pienaar came back on a permanent deal from Spurs after having been named as a sub for them on the evening of deadline day.
Those pieces of information were from people we trust implicitly. So we passed them on. That’s pretty much what we do, and it’s something we’ve got into trouble for in the past.
When Victor Anichebe was about to make his home debut against Chelsea, we knew shortly after the team sheet had been put out on the Thursday evening before the game on Saturday. So we told you. David Moyes, who was manager at the time, thought we’d probably also alerted Jose Mourinho, so we took it down. I’ve no idea if Jose Mourinho has ever heard of NSNO, but we didn’t want to risk harming the team’s performance. We agreed not to release team information that early again, should we be given it.
Our sources have ranged from taxi drivers, hospital porters, first team players, and even the club chairman over the years, and it’s always exciting to hear news of Everton signings, whoever tells us, and however true it turns out to be. But over time you learn who to believe and who to smile and nod politely at. We’ve had meetings arranged outside Goodison Park to be handed documents by people with their faces covered in relation to the proposed move to Kirkby, and we’ve met people who want their picture on the front page of the site (for some reason!) claiming their information is spot on. The football world is full of people who want to seem “in the know” while those who genuinely just want to share information are dwindling in number. We will always aim to find them, though, and pass on their wisdom.
As one of our podcasts was entitled a few years ago, our situation at NSNO is simple, “we hear stuff, we pass it on.”