I’ve always been a hard worker with an insatiable appetite to be the best I can be. Whether it’s serving customers or reporting news, I believe that the more you put into your work, the more you get out of it.
This is the mindset that I had when I started the IndyKaila Twitter and Facebook accounts. The intention was to tap into the growing popularity of social media and use it as a platform to become a respected football reporter. It hasn’t been easy, especially at the start when I was learning how to juggle my normal, every day job with developing my reporting skills, but I’ve now learnt how to use that experience to my advantage.
I don’t like to talk about my life away from reporting but I must say that the KFC stuff is funny. People mock working at KFC as if it’s something to be ashamed of, they tweet me about it as if it is some kind of insult. They want to know if I work, or worked there, and I can neither confirm nor deny it … But what I will say is that every Employee of the Month certificate that I have hanging up on my office wall fills me with pride!
In truth, without that fantastic organisation, much of my success today would not be possible. You see, the popularity of fast food cannot be underestimated and let me tell you, it’s amazing what some people are willing to do for a free Zinger Box Meal or Boneless Banquet! Most professional footballers are forced to stick to strict diets, however we’ve all got our guilty pleasures and the lengths that some of these guys will go to to get their hands on some finger lickin’ goodness is crazy.
To give you an example, there’s a Scottish footballer (I respect his privacy so will call him Adam Charles) who spends so much time in one of the restaurants that he’s got his own private booth! When he comes in, usually having had a skinful in town, he loves nothing more than spilling the beans on any transfers that he is aware of in exchange for a a complimentary Bargain Bucket. I always make sure that he is well looked after, even if it means someone being on hand to clean up after him when he spews in the street. It’s a small price to pay.
But he’s not the only one, and it’s not just limited to KFC. We have an entire fast food transfer network that we rely on to bring us the latest gossip and the inside track on some of the biggest deals around. I remember one of my sources getting the inside track on Remy Cabella signing for Newcastle United from a disgruntled Hatem Ben Arfa while he was chowing down on a Bacon Double Cheeseburger.
The key to my success is making sure that my finger is on the pulse and that I have as many bases covered as possible. If I haven’t got a source in a particular town, city or county, then I have someone who knows someone there. All bases are covered. I talk about fast food outlets but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
My team are virtually undetectable as a result of their expertise and abilities to be masters of disguise. From hotel doormen, waiters, masseurs and barbers, we are never far away from the next bit of breaking news. Knowing club staff can be very helpful too – in fact, some of my biggest scoops have come as a result of a cleverly positioned laundry basket – thank you to Jose Mourinho for the inspiration!
That’s not to say that we always have to dig for news though. As most people know, when a player becomes unsettled and is looking to move on, then his agent will ask the press to link his name to clubs to help generate interest.
Steve Sidwell’s agent is a regular Skyper and I’ve had so many calls from Darren Bent’s agent I’ve had to block his number for a bit of peace!
My mobile phones must always be charged and at my side, because I never know when the next exclusive is about to break. I can’t allow myself to get complacent and I can’t afford for my credibility to be damaged. There was once a time that I was lazily lumped in with the Twitter ITK crowd, however that time has long since passed and I have earned the respect of some of the most highly thought-of journalists in the game.
In fact, many of them call me on a regular basis to help them meet their deadlines and drip feed them transfer information. I help where I can, but some have unfortunately broken my trust by taking cheap shots at me to make them look clever. It’s a shame when that happens, but I have to remind myself constantly that not everybody can be as professional as me.
In the world that we live in today, people demand to know everything. There is a real hunger from football fans to be kept updated with the ins-and-outs at their club. And as long as that demand is there, I will continue to lead the way in bringing them breaking football news and transfer updates.
As a matter of fact, I’ve just got back from a meeting with a very high profile football agent on his private plane, where he gave me information on a potential £70m transfer. Which player? I’ll save that for another IndyKaila exclusive.