4000 Holes

BLACKBURN ROVERS' FIRST OLYMPIAN?

Thursday, 16 May 2024
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Semir who? Let’s face it, no Rovers supporter had ever heard of Semir Telalović before his deadline day transfer from Borussia Mönchengladbach last August. So naturally everyone immediately Googled the name and jumped straight into Wikipedia for the lowdown on the 23-year-old. 

In the brief career summary, an interesting fact stood out that he was a talented sprinter in his youth and recorded a time of 10.01 seconds in the 100m. This was the trivia we needed to build hope and expectation – and present ‘knowledge’ of what to expect from our new striker. 

Anticipation reached levels not seen since 1996 when George Donis – ‘The Greek Train’ – arrived in England ready to outpace every left back in England.

However, a quick sense check of the ‘fact’ would find you placing him in sixth position at the men's World Championship 100 metres final just the previous week. 

Of course, the appeal of a football career is much greater than the athletics track to a lot of people. Why spend 2023/24 gearing up for the most prestigious event at the Paris Olympics when you could be living the dream and sitting on the bench for Rovers in the Championship?

Where did it all go wrong for Telalović then? Well, with Wikipedia shenanigans. Whilst always a valuable resource, since every edit should be backed up with a solid reference, it obviously needs to be used with caution. 

The ‘fact’ had actually been given a citation ‘[3]’ to seemingly strengthen its credibility, but a click on the external link showed that no reference to his speed was even made in the German article. 

Andy Bayes of BBC Radio Lancashire quizzed Telalović about the accuracy of the stat in his first interview. The cryptic reply was: “Me?! Yes… I think I become very fast, I wasn’t the fastest guy, I’m sure I’m already not the fastest guy, but I think, as a striker, I’m really fast. This is my main strength – to play with my speed.” 

The damage had been done though – the myth spread like wildfire through social media and found its way onto the terraces. Ewood was then perplexed to discover that he was “not quite that fast” when he came on as sub for his debut against Middlesbrough. 

Telalović made 20 appearances in the season, mostly as substitute, and has yet to open his Rovers account. The erroneous claim has since been removed from his Wikipedia page.

 

This article was originally published in Issue 110 of 4,000 Holes. Please consider buying a zine for just £2 here to help support this long-running piece of Rovers history. Cheers.


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