Chelsea victims of pranksters again as fake image fools the media and fans

The internet has already played one hoax on Chelsea football club and their fans this week. The incredibly widely spread Rafa Benitez quote - "I’d never take the (Chelsea) job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me, there is only club in England and that’s Liverpool." - was never actually said and we did a full article laying out the reasons behind that on Friday.

It has become one of those things that got so out of hand that the false quote is now perceived as factual and will probably be referred to for years.

Today there's been another internet trick. PSG have been widely linked with Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole and comments yesterday from Benitez, which said Cole and Lampard were likely to be leaving, have only served to increase that speculation.

Today, according to Twitter, the French club's official Twitter account posted a tweet saying Cole would be joining the club next summer. Before we look at the actual tweet, it's worth pointing out that Cole wouldn't be able to agree a contract with PSG yet and therefore the club wouldn't be announcing anything publicly at this time.

Here's the screenshot which has been picked up by newspapers and other outlets in this country and overseas:

Translated, it reads "England left back Ashley Cole will be a player this summer Red and Blue."

Firstly, the French is awful. It's like translation engine French, as if an English speaking person had put what they wanted to say into a translation engine and then took the text given back as gospel. That's ok and it gets the point across but it's not how a native French person would type or speak.

Secondly, the timing of the tweet is also odd. It's stated as being 4 hours after they Tweeted an Ancelotti quote. PSG's account right now (17:30) says that the Ancelotti tweet was 21 hours ago, making it 20:30 here and 21:30 in France. With the Cole tweet being 4 hours after that, it takes the time to 01:30 and it's odd in itself that PSG would be sending out official tweets at that time. 

We've searched back to see how it started and this is the first tweet about it:

On their biography they say '5 members of the European press who cover the world's greatest league. Anonymity ensures no editorial agenda..' 

Interestingly the account doesn't even follow PSG so for them to see the tweet 16 seconds after it was posted and for nobody else to mention it first, or take their own screenshot, would be pretty impressive. Theirs is the only screenshot doing the rounds, nobody else got an image or RT'd it. The @PremLeaguePass account has been going for less than a week and as we enter the transfer window run-up it does seem like an early ITK (In-The-Know) effort has managed to fool the European media. 

For those of you familiar with Twitter ITK accounts, these claims from them will bring back memories of the summer:

The account has spent today bragging about being the ones to break the big news and talking about their 'French compatriot' being 'all over' the story.

There are further clues that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax, including that on the 'screenshot' there is the option to 'view summary' at the end of tweet, this isn't available unless there is a link in a tweet because there is obviously no summary to view. A small error in what is a very good Photoshop mash-up.

An early hoax ahead of ITK season which has well and truly fooled most of the media both here and overseas. Well done indeed. 

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