SPORT

Fake Football Journalist, 16-Year-Old Samuel Gardiner, Fools Twitter

25/01/2014 16:18 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:59 GMT
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You might recognise the man above as Samuel Rhodes. The twitter football pundit who predicted that Chelsea would sack their manager Roberto Di Matteo in November 2012.

But do a quick Google search and you'll confusingly discover the blond-haired chap actually spends his time enticing men to join the sales team of jewellery company Origami Owl.

Well, the mix-up is easily explained once you know the story of Arsenal fan Sam Gardiner, a 16-year-old who decided to set himself up as a football journalist on Twitter, borrowing his avatar from a Google image search and his inside information from his imagination.

According to the Financial Times, Gardiner claimed to write for their own newspaper and the Daily Telegraph, after his first attempt to fake it as a sports reporter for Goal magazine was rumbled.

Retweet from footie fan site of false rumour spread by Gardiner

In an interview with the FT, Gardiner (now 17) admits that his report that footballer Mohamed Salah was finalising a £9m move to Liverpool (above) was "made up in his living room".

At the height of his powers, the teenager from north London had 20,000 twitter followers and began exchanging messages with professional footballers who were fooled by his fake persona.

However, earlier this year Gardiner's game was finally up when the Telegraph revealed that the young man's reports were fraudulent and his account was suspended.

Telegraph employees push out news of fake account to Twitter

Many have tweeted their responses to the story, relaying both their frustration at Sam's guile as well as a grudging level of respect for his charismatic entrance into the world of sports punditry.

“It was the only way to get big,” Gardiner told the FT. “Everyone has opinions, not everyone has access to the transfer market.” Adding that he now wants to be a real journalist.

Twitter responds to reports about @SamuelRhodes_