09 July, 2008


These days, a transfer saga can be as complicated as a David Lynch movie, with what seems like weeks of misinformation and caprice finally bookended by a sly frame of two millionaires clinking glasses of champagne together on a luxury yacht. Prick-teasing the press is something that you learn with age though; just look at how masterful the likes of Frank Lampard are when it comes to theatrical misdirection these days. They really should start covering this stuff earlier in Football 101 however, because a young Crystal Palace player made a complete fool of himself by posting details of a proposed move to Fulham on his Facebook page at the weekend. By now everyone should know that Facebook is good for stalking people and occasionally having a sly toss over the girl that sits opposite you at work, but for communicating relatively private information? Yeah, not so hot.

So meet Ashley-Paul Robinson, an 18-year-old winger who has been with Championship high-flyers Palace for five years. The hyphenated first name should be a warning sign of the idiocy to follow. You see, Mr Robinson wrote a message on the circle-jerk website announcing that he was having a trial with Premier League outfit Fulham, but the intended audience of his 194 Facebook friends were not the only people able to read his exciting news. Unfortunately, the message could also be seen by all 2.7 million members of the site who have joined the London network, unwittingly breaking the story to supporters of both clubs, as well as to anyone else in the capital with a lot of time on their hands.

The remarkably lucid Ashley-Paul updated his status on Saturday with a message which read: “Ashley-Paul is goin fulham on monday. If i pull dis off im on dis ting.” It should be pretty clear what he meant, but here’s a quick translation for our less ‘street’ readers: “Ashley-Paul is hopefully being transferred to Fulham on Monday. If I’m able to perform to the best of my abilities and impress the necessary people, then I shall be really rather pleased with myself.” On Sunday he added: “Ashley-Paul is travling 2 Bath With Fulham Fingers Crossed,” but the comment yesterday, after news of his faux-pas spread, topped it: “Ashley-Paul has been very naughty lol!” I don’t think I’m alone is thinking the actual use of the term “lol” should be punishable by a swift kick in the happy sacks.

Palace, however, have surprisingly not been as impressed by our Ashley-Paul’s openness, and a source at the club described comprehensively that it was not a laughing matter: “It's pretty embarrassing for the club that this guy is telling the world he's looking to leave…perhaps someone should tell him to be a bit more private about what he's putting on the internet.” Quite cutting, but one can only imagine how perennial hot-head Neil Warnock responded to this debacle behind closed doors. Having made his first-team debut late last season, Ashley-Paul was offered a new contract by the club’s manager, but today Warnock candidly offered this understatement: “We feel it's probably better that he looks elsewhere to further his career.” In other words, you better hope you got some good GCSEs son, because you sure as hell ain’t getting another contract as a footballer in this lifetime.

Thanks to the Spoiler for the hijacked photo.

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