The Rise of Social Media ‘Journalists’ and Fanbases

Social media has transformed the way that supporters engage with football, providing them with the platform to stay engaged with the sport.

Fans now have two-way lines of communication between clubs and players, thus helping them to feel more connected than was previously the case.

The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also changed the way that news is disseminated, particularly with regards to transfer stories.

In days gone by, fans would have to wait for their morning newspaper to find out which players their club were interested in signing.

Social media has changed the landscape, sparking a rise in the number of ‘transfer experts’ who claim to be ‘in the know’.

Some have proved to be hugely reliable sources of information, while others are often dismissed as ‘frauds’ who have no clue what they are talking about.

This new wave of social media journalists are sometimes subjected to ridicule by individuals in the ‘traditional media’, generally as a result of jealousy or due to their own inadequacies.

However, many of the new breed have built up loyal fanbases who trust them implicitly and regularly defend them against such criticisms.

Read on as we look at three of the most prominent journalists who have built up massive cult followings on social media.

Fabrizio Romano

With more than two million followers on Twitter, Romano is rated as one of the most reliable online sources of transfer information.

He writes mostly about news in Serie A, as well as covering the biggest signings in Europe, and has regularly posted transfer rumours that have come to fruition.

His ‘Here we go’ tagline has become synonymous with transfer windows, although those three words have rubbed up some of his rivals the wrong way.

Romano was accused of lacking integrity by the managing editor at news aggregator site Sport Witness. However, his fanbase felt that claim was somewhat ironic given where it originated.

Gianluca Di Marzio

The Italian journalist has more than 1.2m followers on Twitter and has established himself as a ‘brand’ within the world of transfer stories.

He famously broke the news that Pep Guardiola would be joining Bayern Munich rather than Manchester City in 2013, forcing the Bundesliga club to reveal their hand just 48 hours later.

Di Marzio was also ahead of the game regarding Liverpool’s pursuit of Alisson in 2018, proving once again that he is generally a reliable source.

His colleague David Amoyal also tends to be on the ball regarding transfer stories, further highlighting Di Marzio’s dependable nature.

Mohammed Bouhafsi

Bouhafsi has become the ‘go-to’ source for fans looking for transfers to and from Ligue 1 or involving any French players.

The Chief Editor at RMC Sport famously broke the Anthony Martial to Manchester United story, in a deal that looked pretty unlikely when it was first rumoured.

He also proved to be bang on the money with Fabinho’s move to Liverpool, drawing plenty of praise from a fanbase who are often cynical about online transfer rumours.

Engagement levels go through the roof whenever Bouhafsi posts information online, underlining the esteem in which he is held.

Guillem Balague

Balague was one of the first wave of social media journalists to arrive on the scene, and it is fair to say that he divides opinion.

Many fans believe that he is a fraud due to the large number of transfer predictions he has made that failed to come to fruition.

These include claiming that it was false that Luis Suarez was on his way to Liverpool from Ajax and that Mesut Ozil had rejected Arsenal.

However, with more than one million one followers on Twitter, the Spanish journalist clearly must be doing something right.