by Rupert Insider
Insider and I received a letter today from Toby – the SOLE OWNER of Kraptalk
He told us that he has pointed his site at this blog so that all Kraptalk traffic will be diverted to here.
It’s a pity that he no longer has the time to maintain Kraptalk, but an honour that he has named the blog its heir. It’s a gesture worthy of a public thank you from us to him.
You may not know it was Toby who introduced the term “kraptalk” into our vocabulary.
Some of you may not have been around the net when he started his site around 2001 (?). In my view, it was that site which began the break-up of the almost monolithic Koptalk. Given the circumstances then, it was a far bigger and braver task than Insider took on when he started this blog in March 2006.
Consider that back in 2001 Koptalk was by far the largest LFC-related site. Its forums were packed with thousands of passionate, funny, articulate LFC fans – all much cleverer than Oldham. In fact in those days he was just learning to spell and was still struggling with phrases like “towing the line”.
It was the Koptalk users who had established the site and gave it any legitimacy it had.
But even in those early days, Oldham had begun to show his hand, as he tried to convert this enthusiasm and passion for the club into money for himself.
And even then he had started to exploit children – his own and others – and to exploit the sick and to lie about his connections and influence at Anfield, and he had begun to muck rake about the private lives of players in order to sell the lies for money. And he was already in bed with the S*n.
And even then he started to put himself front and centre so that the site became less and less about LFC and more and more about Oldham and his dysfunctional life.
Toby decided that the way to tackle it was through humour. His site was like a MAD Magazine. If you visit it now (oops – you can’t) you will still see some good old visual jokes and some semi-defunct forums. But back then, when it started, it was hopping. The jokes came thick and fast – as did the hilarious photoshop visuals. There were satirical articles about all aspects of the Oldham con. And the forums were buzzing.
Oldham, himself, visited the Kraptalk.com forums to beg for a truce. He also went unto the forums of other sites to try to counter Kraptalk’s effect. He wanted it to stop. He was willing to talk. Later his Ma paid a visit to Kraptalk but her language was less ladylike than Oldham’s. Come to think of it he got such a public roasting then, it probably explains why he won’t visit the blog now.
After that initial burst Kraptalk struggled a bit because the visual jokes become a bit old, and because the serial spammers started. They flooded the forums, gumming them up. It was an effective Oldham counter-offensive.
But Kraptalk had shown the way. Within months the disaffection it expressed began to show up on the Koptalk forums as members sent private messages to each other . It was like someone had said “the emperor has no clothes”.
Oldham did not like dissent, even then, and he badly handled the genuinely constructive criticisms as he badly handled Tom’s 10-point Manifesto in 2006.
And there was a wholesale exodus from his site. Many former users started new sites which now exceed Koptalk in traffic and far exceed it in quality.
Toby took down many of the pages from Kraptalk.com and barely kept the site ticking over. Yet during all the intervening years, it still gets traffic.
I was one of the early contributors to Kraptalk.com. I dashed off a few pieces and was active in the forums under various user names – not Rupert. And I well remember being at home in Liverpool about 10 pm one evening and being visited on AOL instant messenger by a caller who had a number for a name. He/she/it informed me that “they” knew who I was and were I lived and I could expect a visit. It was a forerunner of Oldham’s hitman threats in 2006. I copied it and reported it to AOL who said they would inform the police because of the threat involved. But I heard nothing further.
The connection for me between Kraptalk and the blog goes further. Earlier in 2006 , I paid a rare visit to Koptalk and saw that Oldham had made several references to “some numpties who are writing a blog about me……it doesn’t bother me I could do with the publicity”.
I assumed it was Toby up to his old tricks again at Kraptalk and went to his site. But when I got there I saw a poster advertising this blog and the next day started to post here.
I happen to know that Toby was the first to tackle News Now about its dirty deal with Koptalk a few years ago. News Now tried to suppress his complaints. The Koptalk money for special access and the Koptalk hits were more important to them that the principled complaints of an LFC fan.
So I hope Toby enjoys News Now’s recent letter to the blog that they have now de-listed Koptalk permanently. It is his victory as much as anyone’s.
Toby has been very supportive to the blog in the Comments section and behind the scenes. It’s nice to know that he will continue whenever he has the time.
A last look at one of the Kraptalk originals:
“Kraptalk Insider Section at Melwood”