Go easy on the cybermen Neil

The Man In The Stands OUR austere chief executive spoke of the wealth of inaccurate speculation which now surrounds transfer activity this week. He moaned: 'In the past, before the era of online bulletin boards and internet chat-rooms, supporters would read about their local club in the paper - and what it reported would largely be taken as gospel truth.'

The Man In The Stands

OUR austere chief executive spoke of the wealth of inaccurate speculation which now surrounds transfer activity this week.

He moaned: “In the past, before the era of online bulletin boards and internet chat-rooms, supporters would read about their local club in the paper - and what it reported would largely be taken as gospel truth.

“These days however, with so much speculation and chatter flying across the internet, fans can be forgiven for not knowing what to believe…The difference between perception and reality is often quite stark.”


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The Man can understand that it must be very frustrating for Mr Doncaster to read a raft of rumours which are not true, but perhaps he should not be too critical of the “chatter flying across the internet.”

After all, he is a director of FL Interactive, a subsidiary company which provides official websites and mobile services to dozens of football clubs. In effect, the firm, which had a �9m-a-year turnover according to its last set of publically available accounts, has effectively set up a host of message-boards and forums on which much of this “chatter” will be flying around the internet super-highway via the establishment of official club websites.

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If the FL Interactive-hosted message boards are moderated - as Norwich City's is - then you assume the amount of speculation will not be as rampant as some other sites. But there will be speculation none-the-less.

So go easy on the keyboard warriors Neil, especially as you helped give them an opportunity to get their voices heard.

For the record, FL Interactive made a healthy �42,000 profit in 2007, although in perhaps more familiar fashion it lost �40,000 in 2006.Of course, there is nothing in the accounts which suggests that Mr Doncaster receives a salary for this project, a good job too given its sensitive nature.

Indeed the records state that he is a not a shareholder, and that he received no emoluments in either 2006 and 2007, or presumably at any other time.

However, even if there's no cash reward, it is going to be keeping ND busy for a while, as FL Interactive has a licence agreement granted by the parent company the Football League to run the services until 2017!

Given that internet and mobile is at the cutting edge of communication, that seems a staggeringly long deal for Norwich City, and the 78 other participating clubs, to be linked to.

t WE COULD HAVE USED SOME WIND ASSISTANCE

WHEN Dean Windass was made available for a loan move this week The Man's ears pricked up.

Perhaps finally, 14 years after failing to sign him in his prime, we could land the barrel-chested striker in the “autumn” of his career?

Alas, the big man has now signed for Oldham Athletic, and the chances of ever seeing him in the famous yellow jersey are seemingly gone forever.

I am sure there would have been a large number of our supporters who would have been hostile to us swooping for the 39-year-old, in yet another loan move.

But as far as The Man was concerned, Deano would have filled the personality void which Dion Dublin's departure (and add to that Lee Clark) left in the dressing room.

Of course, The Man has no real insight into the atmosphere within the four walls of the dressing room at ten minutes to 3pm on a Saturday, but you get the sense from watching the team on the pitch that there are no genuine leaders.

I have liked Sammy Clingan since his first game at Coventry, and I think he is one of the few players to emerge with credit so far this season.

But it's a bit much to expect a 24-year-old to be a leader of men in the midst of a sapping relegation fight.

If there is one signing I would like to see Glenn Roeder make this January, it would be someone who can rally the troops.

Fozzy has performed this role in the past, but if you don't deliver on the pitch it's hard to command too much respect off it.

I'm sure it's easier said than done to find such players though. Oh for another Iwan, Flem or Malky…

t AT LEAST WE WERE SPARED SHEARER'S ANNUAL SERMON

THE FA Cup was not on the BBC this year, so we were spared Alan Shearer's annual sermon about how the competition is “special” for Geordies.

However, this didn't stop one Talksport presenter from admirably stepping into the void to inform the rest of the country exactly what was at stake as Newcastle headed to Hull for their third round tie.

I forget his name, but he said: “Perhaps more than any other set of fans in the country, the FA Cup has a special meaning for Newcastle fans. It means more to them.”

The Man assumes the Kevin Keegan award for Telling the World How Great Newcastle Fans Are will be winging its way to the intrepid reporter as we speak. As a point of detail, Newcastle United opted to take a reduced allocation for their match at the KC Stadium, which meant they still had a respectable following of 2,000 for their game in Hull. It was about 1,000 less than a certain down-at-heel club took for a dire clash with a similarly down-at-heel club in south-east London. If only we were as passionate as Newcastle eh?

As a footnote, be aware that Liverpool, the finest exponents of historical revisionism since Stalin, are gearing up to win the FA Cup this year as a “fitting tribute” for the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough.

Expect everybody to again get the blame for the tragedy, except themselves.

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