Reds paid £20m after seeing fake Downing video
When Off the Ball heard this week that Liverpool decided to fork out £20 million for Stewart Downing after being duped by fake YouTube footage of the winger showing off his skills, it was instantly dismissed as a huge steaming pile of codswallop. 'Nobody can be that stupid,' we thought.
But after trawling through numerous reports we stumbled across the following quotes from Liverpool chairman Tom Werner and Off the Ball's jaw dropped so far and so fast that we've had to have it wired back together by a hugely expensive orthognathic surgeon and can only drink soup through a straw for the next two months.
"There was some footage of Stewart where he was, from 30 yards away, kicking a football into five different trash cans and it was brilliant," Werner is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo. "[Liverpool owner] John [Henry] and I said: 'Oh my God, this player is brilliant, we've got to figure out a way to make a deal with him'."
Read that again.
Off the Ball has the telephone number of a good surgeon if you need it.
It was only later that Werner and Henry realised the footage had been digitally enhanced as part of a campaign to boost season ticket sales at Downing's then club Aston Villa. Since moving to Anfield in the summer, Downing has scored no goals and provided zero assists in 22 Premier League games.