‘Gary’s furious at having to play out of position,’ said an insider. ‘His best position is on the inside back page where he links up speculation about discord in a football team with fanciful projections about players ‘wanting away’ or ‘slamming in a transfer request’. But despite being one of the best schemers in the game, Gary’s been asked to play ‘in the hole’ recently – ghost-writing columns by ex-footballers that nobody ever reads. It’s no wonder he’s asked his agent to tell other sports editors that he’s ready to move.’
If O’Shea does become available, a host of other tabloids are likely to be interested. The Daily Star is thought to have already tabled a bid which Sun Sport rejected as ‘laughable’, while The Star is known to be desperate for a creative playmaker to conjure up a steady supply of baseless footballing transfer stories. The Daily Mirror and The Guardian are also said to be watching the situation closely. The Mirror’s Brian Reade has apparently been given a massive budget and told not to come back without his man, while at a recent team talk at The Guardian the head of news gave his transfer speculation writers a rollocking and threw a tea cup at the wall.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Shea ended up moving to the Daily Mail sports pages,’ said one pundit. ‘That would allow him to renew his partnership with Big Neil Ashton who he played with at The Croydon Guardian. He would also provide the ideal foil for Martin Samuel who likes to play off someone else’s news story. O’Shea could unsettle the clubs and Samuel could feed off the chaos. He might not net so many exclusives, but he’ll notch up the assists.’
With January fast approaching, sport editors are desperate to get their most creative story writers in place for the crucial transfer window season, but O’Shea’s agent is adamant he’ll move. ‘There’s been a complete breakdown in the relationship between Gary and the management. Their failure to sign world-class journalists to write alongside him shows the paper’s lack of ambition. But Gary’s a pro. As long as he’s a part of the team he’ll be giving it 110% week in, week out and taking it one piece of transfer speculation at a time.’
ronseal (hat-tip to Midfield Diamond)