Early Doors

Dempsey gaffe? The joke’s on us

We love to laugh at Americans.

Maybe it's their burger-scoffing obesity crisis, their penchant for invading countries that can't possibly defend themselves or their skyrocketing level of gun crime.

They're just so different from us, aren't they?

Well, no.

And another area where the UK rivals the States is in our ignorance of each other's sporting landscape.

We delight in poking fun at American commentary, whether real or not ('He top-bodies the sphere into the score bag!'), while simultaneously ignoring our own bone-headedness.

In fact, we are worse than the Americans. Rather than making clumsy efforts to pick up the lingo, like a tourist trying to order a full English breakfast in Bratislava's old town, we are instead haughtily dismissive.

American sports are for girls. Baseball is rounders; basketball is netball; American football is touch rugby with pads and helmets.

So imagine the Americans' mirth when a combination of blind idiocy and knee-jerk twittering led to yesterday's reports: 'Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group announce the club has signed Clint Dempsey.'

On inspection, it transpired to be the flimsiest piece of nonsense ED has seen all summer.

On the New England Sports Network website (owned by FSG), there was a short video of a TV news report about Liverpool's pre-season tour to Boston.

Below the video was a hastily-written blurb saying, "the team has added Fabio Borini and Clint Dempsey".

Among the several things suggesting this may not be true, perhaps the most obvious was that the accompanying news clip made no such claim, instead citing English sources as saying he could sign by the weekend.

It was immediately, obviously, balderdash. Only a cretin would see it and conclude Dempsey was a Liverpool player.

Worse came in the reporting of this titbit as 'an FSG statement'.

NESN is a TV station and website, 80% owned by FSG. It is not John Henry's official press office.

To claim otherwise would be to believe that Rupert Murdoch sits down every afternoon and writes an entire edition of The Sun - and that everything contained within can be reported as an official News Corp pronouncement.

"Rupert Murdoch announces that Page 3 stunner Claire, 22, from Bromley, is the breast of British."

Yet sheer brainlessness, coupled with dumb unfamiliarity with American sports institutions and media saw exactly this scenario play out.

Even if it had been an FSG statement, which it wasn't, why would anybody reveal a transfer in a short scrawl below a largely unrelated video?

Despite the glaring obviousness that this was not a done deal, news spread quickly that Dempsey was Liverpool's, without anyone bothering to check the source.

When it eventually became accepted that it was simply a mistake by a befuddled NESN website scribe, and the offending sentence disappeared, the internet reverted to its default position - mocking Liverpool.

What a bunch of muppets to announce a signing, only to make an embarrassing volte face! And while we're at it, can we get them for tapping up?

Now, ED, has had plenty of digs at Liverpool, most obviously over the PR armageddon that was the Luis Suarez affair.

But this time they were blameless. Not only was the Dempsey affair not Liverpool's fault, it was NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM! NOTHING!!

More galling still, ED entered the office this morning to see the Daily Express's Mick Dennis doing a paper review on Sky Sports News.

He recounted the Dempsey tale, including Fulham's denial that they had sold the player, and Brendan Rodgers's subsequent declaration that he was merely interested.

Dennis said this was "an example of what journalists have to deal with from clubs", even though the confusion was ENTIRELY the creation of journalists.

Liverpool, their owners, and Fulham, did nothing wrong. An NESN journalist wrote something incorrect, and everyone else idiotically and unquestioningly took it to be true.

Then they had the temerity to blame Liverpool. Incredible.

Journalists? Scum.

(ED punches self in face)

DISGRACEFUL NONSENSE OF THE DAY: On the subject of reprehensible journalism, here's the LEAD STORY from today's Daily Star.

'RYAN Giggs and the GB football squad have been bunked up alongside a squad of sexy Scandinavians and Americans.

'Team GB, captained by the play-away Manchester United star, have been handed a plum spot in the athletes' village.

'They share their block with a bevy of blonde bombshells competing for Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as well as the US.

'But the news will not go down well with the footballers' wives and girlfriends , particularly after randy athletes vowed to turn the Games into the "Sex Olympics".'

(ED punches self in face again)

(ED take screwdriver to own eyeballs in an attempt to unread Daily Star story)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: With customary humility, PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits he does not know much about Ligue 1 players: "I'll have to learn about them but, for sure, they know who I am."

FOREIGN VIEW: France's Socialist government denounced the size of football pay as the big-spending club Paris Saint Germain celebrated the arrival of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

PSG did not go public with the financial terms of the deal that lured Ibrahimovic from AC Milan but media put the annual pay at 14 million euros net of tax, in a country where incomes upwards of one million are soon set to be hit by a new super-tax of 75 per cent.

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said: "Between you and me I think a lot of people are shocked by the income the player you are talking about will make."