BROWNE ON THE BALL: ‘Mystery’ solved as rivals are given the heads up

Dennis Greene.
Dennis Greene.

In this job there are few things more frustrating than a manager telling you he’s making a new signing.. and then adding that he’s not going to name any names.

Just as you think you’re about to get a juicy tidbit, it’s swiped away from you.

But no matter how much it winds you up when a manager refuses to tell you who his new target is, you have to respect their decision.

After all, if you’ve got an ace up your sleeve you don’t show it to the rest of the players at the poker table.

When Dennis Greene refused to reveal the identity the goalkeeper who had received international clearance were he needed to play for the Pilgrims in Saturday’s Vanarama North clash against AFC Fylde, he was asked a second time... and then a third.

But when he refused to flinch you have to shrug your shoulders and accept it’s in Boston United’s best interests to keep schtum.

That’s why I was so taken aback when I saw the headline PILGRIMS ‘MYSTERY’ KEEPER REVEALED crop up online on Monday.

Had it been a rival newspaper I’d have had to suck it up and grudgingly congratulate them on going back, asking the question again and getting the answer they wanted.

But this story had actually appeared on the official website of the Football Conference, under whose umbrella United play.

So whoever updates the website’s news section must have seen an online story about Greene refusing to name his new goalkeeper, checked the recent registrations and decided to make the big reveal.

As sleuthing goes, it’s not quite Sherlock Holmes. It’s not quite Scooby Doo.

But this is a decent scoop, certainly in Boston, but a bizarre step for the league to make.

Taking it upon yourself to announce the unnamed keeper, and doing so with a self-congratulatory headline which suggests your skills of deduction have outwitted one of your managers is very odd... especially when you are the body which is meant to fairly represent all 87 of your football clubs.

Why on Earth are you giving one team an advantage over another by revealing secrets in the build-up to a match?

It doesn’t particularly strike me as fair, or professional.

The club and the Conference have previous when it comes to this.

Back when United signed Leon Constantine United chose not to make the move public knowledge... until it appeared on the Conference’s website, much to Jason Lee’s chagrin.

Of course, if it is the Conference’s wish to update all transfer activity on their website then that’s fine, that’s their perogative.

Their news section is, indeed, packed with talk of recent transfers.

But in the case of this story, the headline directly references the manager’s refusal to name his player, breaking with its own convention to produce an article which could also be viewed as an antagonistic approach of one-upmanship to one of its members.

Can you imagine the scandals that would be created were the Premier League to break the news every time a club chucked some paperwork their way?

Transfer deadline day would kill the internet.

Jim White’s head would blow up.

Perhaps the Pilgrims would have announced the registration of Draper later in the week anyway.

However, that decision should belong to the club.