The transfer window is a frenetic period and in many ways I am glad when it is over as following up stories and keeping up developments takes up more time than I like. However, speculating about signing new players is part of the excitement of supporting a club.
Many fans say they will 'wait for the official site', which is perfectly reasonable, but often they will have to wait a long time. Of course, a new player has to complete a medical before the contract can be confirmed. However, sometimes I think that one is waiting for him to get an Oyster card and temporary accommodation in the Swallow Hotel. In practice I think what often holds things up is the photo shoot. In the meantime, however, reputable sites run by major media organisations have published the story.
As the composition of the staff at Charlton has changed, sources within the club have diminished (indeed, at one time, I was sometimes used as a mechanism to 'kite fly' stories). Nevertheless, sometimes things do leak out.
In general, however, first I check rumours for plausibility. For example, I have ignored summer rumours about Scott Parker on those grounds. Second, I look to see what various sites are saying - and some of them have a better track record than others. Increasingly that means looking at French sites and my reading knowledge of French is just about good enough to read them. (Like most English people my accent is appalling: oddly I have been told that my German accent is that of someone from a small town in East Germany). I face a dilemma about whether I should try and improve my French when I had been planning to learn Portuguese. Unfortunately, I can't read Flemish/Dutch and relevant stories rarely appear on German or Italian sites. Where there is a site link, I give it, even if it is in French.
The other route open to me is to talk to contacts in the media I have made through covering football stories for them. However, I have to do that sparingly and it is most useful for stories involving Midlands clubs where I do most of my media work.
Quite a few of the stories about players coming to Charlton this summer published here have turned out to be correct. Others have been overtaken by events.
Later in the month I have to spend a few days working in a country that I find very challenging, in part because my command of the language is very limited. However, I am starting to look forward to having a few days away from the internet and the rumours!