Liverpool's communications director, Jen Chang, last night defended his position after he was accused by the user of a Twitter account of threatening him and his family and accusing him of costing the club £300,000 by tweeting news of striker Fabio Borini's signing.
Chang, who took up his position in June, pointed out that he has increased access to the club to bloggers and media supporter groups, with a dedicated session with the midfielder Lucas Leiva for them yesterday. But the user behind @duncanjenkinsfc account, whose real name is known by The Independent, claims Chang was infuriated when he ran transfer items, telling him when they eventually met that he would have "dog shit coming through your letterbox", would have to take his Facebook page down and "might even have to move house" because "football fans are crazy".
Chang did not comment on the claims, which he considers to be nonsense, nor on the issue of whether he met the anonymous writer. The club said they were aware of the allegations but had no statement to make.
The blogger claims Chang, a former Sports Illustrated writer contacted him on his private Twitter account in August after he tweeted through @duncanjenkinsfc that Nuri Sahin was certain to sign for Liverpool. Astonished that the executive had managed to establish his real identity, he claims Chang then told him that the cost of tracking him down had come from his budget – money that would otherwise have been spent on charitable projects for the disabled in Toxteth.
When a number of email exchanges led to a meeting in Manchester's central Deansgate, Chang said that Roma had asked for complete discretion over the Borini deal and that their distress about the tweet – which the blogger claims was based on a Liverpool Echo article – led them to up the fee. Chang told the blogger that the club's managing director Ian Ayre was aware of him. "He claimed Ian Ayre was well aware of Jenkins and that he hated him for making his life and transfer negotiations more difficult," the blogger alleges.
It was when Chang asked the blogger to issue a tweet denying any in-club contacts who had knowledge of Liverpool's transfer market that threats were attached, he claimed. "He told me that if I didn't tweet as requested… that he would hand over all of my info [from the dossier compiled by the people hired to find me] to… journalists and ask them to do their worst, to run smear stories on me in the tabloid press. He said 'they will make your life hell, and will turn all Liverpool supporters against you. The papers will say you cost the club you claim to love serious money, that you wilfully damaged the club'.
"'You know how crazy football fans are', he said, 'You'll have dog shit coming through your letterbox, you'll have to take your Facebook page down, you might even have to move house.' He then said the papers would also 'ruin your Dad's online business'."
Borini out until the new year
Liverpool look likely to have to limp to the January transfer window with one recognised striker in their squad after Fabio Borini was confirmed as having fractured his foot playing for Italy Under-21s. The Italian Football Federation yesterday confirmed that the 21-year-old suffered the injury to his right foot while preparing for the match against Sweden in Pescara on Thursday.