Sam Kerr’s re-signing ruse the antidote to a football world ruled by insiders

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
For twenty minutes, Sam Kerr ruled over all of social media
For twenty minutes, Sam Kerr ruled over all of social media Credit: Chelsea WFC/Getty Images

Early Thursday evening in Australia, social media was briefly in a state of absolute panic after Chelsea Women posted a strange video of Sam Kerr speaking to camera.

She starts her monologue talking about her last four years at Chelsea, the trophies she’s won, the impact the club has had on her, and asking fans to treat manager Emma Hayes’ replacement with respect.

For all the world, it played like a classic “I’m leaving” video. It ticked all the cliche boxes: tears, spaced-out sentences, nostalgic footage.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

The video had a seismic impact – for 20 minutes social media was laser-focused on Sam Kerr’s future at Chelsea. For 20 minutes, sports journalists across the world were writing up an obituary of Kerr’s time at Chelsea. For 20 minutes, the future of Australia’s golden girl was up in the air.

Moves to Real Madrid were proposed. Returns to the United States suggested. Idyllic but not realistic homecomings to Australia mooted.

Then, at 6.20pm AEST, it all changed again.

Another video was posted by Chelsea, with Sam Kerr scrolling through her phone on the pitch at Stamford Bridge, quizzically remarking “Guys, what’s all this? I’m not leaving”.

Cue another outpouring of emotions from across the football world as Chelsea and Kerr revealed their ruse, confirming the Matildas star had re-signed for another two years in London.

The reaction to this saw a real split of opinions. Some called it cruel to play with fans (although it was just for 20 minutes), arguing it’s unfair to put diehards into a position like this.

However, that’s rubbish. This is one of the most genius ways to announce a re-signing seen in a long while.

For 20 minutes, all anyone cared about was Sam Kerr.

But it even before that the hype was building. Earlier that day, several ‘in-the-know’ journalists from England had been teasing “big Sam Kerr news”. It wasn’t just the 20 minutes between the first video and the second video – it was the entire day leading up to that period.

The idea, believed to be Kerr’s, also subverted the dull cliches associated with modern football announcements. Taking the overused tropes and clichés of “leaving” videos and flipping them on their heads — much like backflips Kerr does so well.

She put the fake teardrops in, she perfectly spaced out her words, put emphasis on all the right points, and the editing — arguably the real star of it all — is as good as it gets.

In a footballing age where most big news gets leaked hours or days in advance, this was a breath of fresh air. An antidote to Fabrizio Romano and player agent-led “scoops” on social media.

Had this been leaked, this announcement would’ve just felt like a simple tick of the box.

This is a new benchmark for top clubs to aspire to and will force clubs to think about why they’ve been using the same dull tropes and shorthand for so long, and it should challenge clubs to stop leaking information and reap the benefits of controlling their own stories.

This is what football transfers and news once felt like — actually exciting and unpredictable.

If you’re wondering if it worked or if it was the right thing to do, ask yourself if this would’ve gathered the same public interest if there hadn’t been a ruse. Would Kerr or Chelsea have been trending?

And, really, would it have been a Sam Kerr announcement if there wasn’t a playful element to it?

Comments

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 23-07-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 23 July 202423 July 2024

Australia’s top cyber cop lashes big tech firms for profiting from alarming scourge amid calls for further action on online image abuse.