So in the summer of 2008, he invented a player. He would be a promising 16-year-old from Moldova, a country distant enough that his fictional roots might not easily be exposed. And his name would come straight from the statue of Ó Conaire. After all, the plot of his short story centers on a character who “knows his donkey is useless, but tries to sell it to the highest bidder,” Varley said. “So there is a correlation with the transfer market.”
His player would be a phonetic rendering of Ó Conaire’s title: Masal Bugduv.
Long before the ascension of President Trump made the phrase unavoidable, soccer provided the most fertile ground imaginable for what we have come to call “fake news.”
Now, Trump tweets and speaks about “fake news” relentlessly, often whenever he reads or sees something he does not like. Politicians across the world use it as a pithy put-down to dismiss any accusation they find uncomfortable. Sports stars and celebrities increasingly reach for it as a defense mechanism. (When Arsenal’s Mesut Özil had his Instagram account hacked this month, he pleaded with people to stop spreading “fake news.”)