For the first time Newcastle are being linked with those who will take up a position of authority. Like the rumours about which of the 100 players we will be signing in January, links to possible Directors of Football will be as much the talk of the Toon as player recruitment. This sees the first time in a long while that Newcastle seem to want to have a proper football structure to the club.

One of the names linked was former Chelsea man Michael Emenalo. Multiple journalists would have us believe it was pretty much a done deal. Yet an article in the Telegraph, and subsequently picked up by other outlets, would have us believe the former Nigerian international had turned down the club, as the ‘ambitions’ did not match.

In the past, the club would let these rumours fester, and let fans take what was written as gospel. At no point would the club step in and say what has been written is bollocks. Yet this is a new era at Newcastle, things are done differently now. So up steps board member Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who would use his twitter account to release an ‘official’ reply to the paper rumours.

In his tweet he wrote:

“Contrary to a newspaper report, Michael Emenalo was never offered the job of Sporting Director or Director of Football at Newcastle United. #NUFC #FactsMatter” 

The question then comes, was Mr. Ghodoussi right to respond in this way? There are two ways from which to look at this. There is the Newcastle fans point of view, and the Journalistic point of view.Being the former for as long as I can remember, and being qualified in the latter (well I’ve got a degree from Northumbria university) I will try and look at this objectively.

When you look at the original article, it clearly states that Emenalo had turned down the role of ‘Director of Football’. Something that since the tweet was released, has changed by the journalist, to now an ‘advisor to the board’ with the view of becoming a ‘Director of Football’. Another omission that stands out to me from the original article is no mention of the club being approached for statement. Whether they were or not, we will never know, but it does seem strange to at least not try and get both sides.

My first reaction to Mehrdad’s tweet was one of a ‘right to reply’. If the club had not been approached for comment, and there is no set rule to say they should have been, they have used this opportunity to respond in a public forum. The fact it has not come from ‘official’ club channels does not matter. Tweets put out into a public forum can be used as a source for a story, although sometimes you will chase up on that tweet to authenticate what is being said.

The same can be said for a tweet of this nature. It can be used as an official statement given the source of the tweet. With Mr. Ghodoussi’s standing within the ownership structure a response can be seen as official, and not just a throw away tweet to discredit a story. That is my understanding anyway.

The job of the journalist is not to be a mouthpiece for the club, nor is it to write what the fans want them to write. It is to get a story that is well sourced, and out it out into the public domain. Similarly the role of the club is to make sure their integrity is not being called into question. What we have here is a simple example of claim and rebuttal. Yet in a very public forum.

As a fan, it is yet another example of communication from the club, to keep us abreast of what is happening within the corridors of power at St James’ Park. The response also works better for the club than issuing a press release to the various publications. It makes the message from the club clear, and no chance of it being muddied in its delivery.

Gone are the days of going to get the local paper, a copy of the Pink or memorising the right page on Teletext to get all your football news. We live in a world where news is 24 hours. So are the reactions to each piece of news put out to the public sphere.

While the journalist in question credibility been questioned by the fanbase, I do not believe this was the intention of Mehrdad. It was simply a public statement about a report that had been picked up by various other outlets. It is a form of communication the world will need to get used to. We no longer need official club statements. If a statement comes from someone in a position of power, then that can be taken as such.

CARL RICHARDSON