LONELY and desperate for attention? Bored while you wait for the Clearasil to take effect? Completed Modern Warfare 3 on Veteran setting twice and looking for a new challenge?
Fear not, for soon you and thousands like you will have the ideal opportunity to feel your life is in some way meaningful.
The transfer window is but weeks away from yawning open, bringing with it hordes of eager rumour-mongers whose impeccable insider knowledge is really quite incredible considering much of their research time is spent eating Chipsticks in front of Crystal Maze repeats.
To become one of these In the Know newshounds there are a few basic requirements.
You must possess an ingrained hatred of actual working journalists, based on your assumption that they ‘make everything up’. You must also see no irony here.
It’s also helpful if you live more than 200 miles from Anfield, preferably in the Home Counties. Your Twitter avatar should be the ticket stub (restricted view) from your uncle’s trip to Anfield for the massive Mypa 47 clash in 1996.
Apart from your ITK tweets, populate your twitter timeline with jokes about Gary Speed, borderline racism and tweets about ‘avin it large down Maidstone tonight’. This lends real authenticity and gravitas to your transfer-based pronouncements.
Now you’re a fully-fledged ITK, ready to unleash your exclusive insider knowledge on the world, it’s time to think about the kind of stories you wish to report.
This window, there are three very much on-trend LFC rumour categories, together with a couple of perennials which will work season in, season out. Let’s look at the new ones first.
The Ligue 1 General
As an ITK you will very likely have a heightened sense of racial difference. You use the term ‘playing the race card’ and can’t see anything wrong with a bit of ‘banter’ based on skin colour. There’s a black lad at work who laughs along with all the jokes and definitely isn’t just using it as a coping strategy.
This finely-tuned sensibility will have led you to notice Liverpool don’t at the moment have many non-white players. This should immediately set your ITK radar twitching.
The next crucial element here is the recent injury to Lucas. You’ve had to admit you were wrong about him lately – well, not wrong as obviously Lucas was absolutely terrible with no redeeming features until last week, but now you’re prepared to admit he’s alright really.
Liverpool may well be looking for a Lucas-a-like. French football, the current source of about 75% of ITK rumours, is replete right now with combative midfielders, many of whom have African heritage.
It all fits.
A word of warning – given the initial brief for said midfielder may be to tide us over until Lucas returns, think carefully about whether an African international likely to be away at the Nations Cup for a good quarter of the Brazilian’s recovery time is a good choice as the subject of your rumour.
Names to go for: Lassana Diarra (handy tip – use just the surname, hedging your bets in case we end up with Alou, Mahamadou or any of a number of other Diarras); Yann M’Vila (note tricky apostrophe, doesn’t work in hashtags like #buym’vilakennyyoucluelesstwat).
Do tweet: ‘I’m hearing Doumbia had a medical last week. Big mates with Momo Sissoko who said join #lfc #fact’
Don’t tweet: ‘Christian Poulsen still has a house in Dingle’
We’ve got a couple of these already. We like them. Maybe we should get some more. Over to you, Mr ITK.
Names to go for: Edinson Cavani (drop the N from Edinson just like you add an S to Charlie Adam); Emiliano Alfaro (already plays for the Uruguayan Liverpool – makes sense).
Do tweet: ‘Mate works at the airport, just seen Suarez holding up a “Godin” sign at arrivals’
Don’t tweet: ‘Since when was there a South America?’
The One We Already Own
The half-life of a number of Liverpool players’ careers has been extended in recent years by a kind of background radiation provided by the international loan system. Now an on-loan player need not be a constant reminder of past mistakes like your old Sega Dreamcast, but can safely be shoved in the attic or one of the less televised European leagues for seasons to come.
Though the pickings would have been richer this time last year, there’s still plenty of scope here for wild rumours which defy logic and contractual terms.
Names to go for: Alberto Aquilani (he’s the one that idiot Rafa bought and that idiot Kenny didn’t keep around); Joe Cole (smashing lad, traffic player etc).
Do tweet: ‘Cole quitting French lessons, his teacher tells me he won’t need them after Friday #cominghome #ecoutezetrepetez’
Don’t tweet: ‘Anyone know where Degen is these days?’
The Returning Hero
An evergreen category which has been going since people were sending ‘Raybould unhappy at Woolwich Arsenal STOP wants Anfield return STOP’ telegrams, this ITK favourite was given a shot in the arm by Rafa Benitez’s signing of Robbie Fowler in 2006. Plenty to go at in this window.
Names to go for: Fernando Torres (might have to piece together the remains of that shirt you burned for this one); Xabi Alonso (see also below – The Ludicrous One)
Do tweet: ‘Press conference at Melwood today. Can’t reveal details but a big one! #nando #elnino #formerlfcnumber9 #fernandotorres’
Don’t tweet: ‘Titi Camara just quit as Guinea sports minister. Training with us this week #shockreturn #legend’
The Ludicrous One
Warning: only attempt this once you are experienced in other categories. This is the big one, your piece de resistance – you don’t want to waste it early in the window. Ideally wait until deadline day itself to unleash your masterstroke, your ITK moment for the ages. You have info which could change the course of football history – use it wisely.
Names to go for: Think big (not in a Yakubu sense). You’re looking for a deal so outrageous it simply has to be true, even if it’s a product of your own fevered imaginings after knocking back six cans of Relentless in front of the Television X freeview. Go for Messi or Ronaldo and you might be over-egging it slightly but there’s definitely room for a Welsey Sneijder or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while anything Xabi Alonso-related will score you points in two categories.
Do tweet: ‘My auntie’s an estate agent in Southport – Scottish fella just rang up to pay cash for ten-bed mansion with cabinet for this year’s CL trophy #clue’
Don’t tweet: ‘I’d actually prefer we bought good young players who fit within our wage structure for a sustainable future, and if none are available perhaps we shouldn’t waste our money at this stage’.