Ian Herbert: Transfer talk getting you down? Then it's time to go for a long ramble online

The Way I See It: Bloggers and websites deliver original, hard facts and they are not simply a platformfor elegant writing

There's some self-deprecation in the title of the erudite football blog, Swiss Ramble. The writer behind it, Kieron O'Connor, has said it's an appropriate name because he presents his thoughts "in a rambling fashion". He also happened to be on a long walk, listening to the Football Ramble podcast, when the idea of writing it came to him.

This modesty is unnecessary. The blog, typed from O'Connor's base in Switzerland, has become an essential part of the landscape of football journalism for tens of thousands of people and its precision and articulacy won O'Connor the best blog award at the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) annual media awards, on Saturday night.

O'Connor, who discovered there was interest in what he wrote when he posted a piece on whether Everton were a good investment on a fans' forum and found 8,000 people had viewed it, has drawn on his background as an LSE-educated economist to unravel football finance, but there is more than the dissection of balance sheers to it. There have been few better extrapolations of the nuts and bolts of a transfer than the Swiss Ramble blog about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's transfer from Barcelona to Milan. A recent examination of Liverpool's future strategy and why Wigan Athletic's survival was particularly improbable were both equally fine.

O'Connor isn't alone. Not all of consequences of the democratisation of football writing delivered by the internet are positive – more on that shortly – but O'Connor belongs to a new school of blogs and sites, including Andy Green's Andersred blog (strong on Manchester United, though much more besides), the Zonal Marking tactics website, which was voted website of the year by the FSF, and the most authoritative guide to Liverpool FC on the internet – Paul Tomkins' Tomkins Times. The Sporting Intelligence site won the former Independent journalist Nick Harris the Sports Journalist Association internet writer of the year award in March.

Conspicuous by its absence on all of these sites is that running commentary on the twists and turns of transfer stories or the latest players' quotes, which have both flavoured our summer. This is no-one's journalistic cop-out: all of the websites mentioned deliver original, hard, previously unpublished facts and are not simply a platform for elegant writing. The question, ahead of another week which will be dominated by the will-they, won't-they sagas of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Wesley Sneijder, Sergio Aguero and perhaps Carlos Tevez, is whether you'd all prefer a Ramble than to know the incremental shift in a transfer story.

It's cripplingly difficult to ascertain an answer to that question because to countless fans it doesn't seem to matter whether the latest shift is true, significant or neither. The BBC's daily morning website transfer story round-up, which once listed the stories of national newspapers and their websites, now breathlessly chronicles the hunches of every website going. My mates tell me they just don't read these stories until a deal is nearly done – but what's the first thing they ask me when I see them? The green Ubersocial Twitter light usually signals a message when I stagger towards the Blackberry at 7am. It'll be a follower asking about the balance of probability that a player will sign, not the shape of the balance sheet.

A story of one surreal day, last week, captured the priorities in this rather wild summer of football news. I had reported on a club worth £250,000 – Stockport County – being taken over by a 27-year-old businessman who won't name his backers and insists the fact that his last business went into administration is inconsequential, and a player who earns £250,000 a week. The Carlos Tevez story was far less significant. It was just his representatives making a veiled pitch to Internazionale. A "come-and-get-me" plea as Swiss Ramble wouldn't say. But Tevez dominated the "most read". Stockport? Didn't make the list.

Player quotes are barely less popular, by the "most read" gauge. The provenance of these quotes might be foreign journalists – continental players are more comfortable sharing their thoughts with their compatriot writers – and because they are being re-interpreted and re-translated, the player's original meaning can get mashed. But such is the demand for the easy material they offer that they are picked up and recycled across the internet within minutes and will dominate any club's profile on the NewsNow aggregator. A study on the American media by the Project for Excellence in Journalism in 2006 found that 14,000 Google News stories described the same 24 news events. Couldn't have put it better.

I assure you that keeping them safe until the papers roll off the presses is a job. Last Monday, Paul Scholes provided one of the most absorbing interviews given by a Manchester United player for years, to eight or so national daily newspaper reporters whose pact it was to release none of it to online editions until midnight. The Independent's back page, emailed to the BBC to help its paper review, was subsequently photographed and tweeted as a sizeable picture. By 9.30pm, the quotes were doing the rounds of fans' sites. It's a minefield out there.

Kieron O'Connor may contradict me when I say that his fine weekly posts are not subject to this re-publishing, though their revelations are often far more significant. So time to blank the "best read" and head for Edgeley Park, then? Maybe it is. But while I start the car, I should mention that yes, Samir Nasri probably will sign for Manchester United.

A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn