The Original Fake News: Soccer Transfers

In a sport known for its post-truth propagation of transfer rumors, a journalist created a fake phenom to see how much traction his story could get. A lot, it turned out.

Down the road from Declan Varley’s office in Galway, Ireland, is a statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire, a prolific Irish essayist and author. He is regarded as the first great fiction writer in the Irish language. Among his most noted works is the short story “M’asal Beag Dubh,” or “My Little Black Donkey.” It was that story which gave Varley his idea.Though he lives on Ireland’s picturesque, windswept west coast, Varley describes himself as an “avid” fan of Arsenal Football Club in London. A few yea...