Saturday, 7 March 2009


AS a club, we've got more issues than Amy Winehouse right now.

Not a week goes by it seems without an off-field matter popping up in the press - from potential new owners to Rick Parry's much-anticipated, and bizarrely protracted, departure.

Then there's contract negotiations - Daniel Agger's, Dirk Kuyt's and, of course, Rafa's - all being played out in the media.

Bubbling under the surface is the lack of progress with the new stadium, speculation about who will be the next chief executive and rumours of senior players rowing with the manager.

Meanwhile, more and more fans beat themselves up about the raw deal we get from the media. I agree, to an extent, but let's face it, we're a good story.

Yes, there's the myths - like the one that Rafa has blown a load more money than his rivals on crap players (excellently dispelled by fellow blogger Paul Tomkins here.)

But on the whole Liverpool, and the surrounding circus, have been a great way to fill newspapers, websites (and blogs) all season.

The frustrating thing for me is that it wouldn't take a massive effort by Rafa, and in the club in general, to generate some positve press.

For Rafa, answering questions is a good start. Blanking them or batting them away isn't good enough - in the case of his contract negotiations it was him who put this in the public domain in the first place.

If Rafa's plays ball with the media he might get something back - but the more he goes into his shell, clams up and looks narked, the more the press will speculate that something is not right.

Look at Harry Redknapp - he's still walking on water as far as the media are concerned despite being in the thick of a relegation battle.

And that's because he always give the press a story, has a bit of banter and fills their notebooks.

It's not groundbreaking stuff either - this week he said he was banning ale until the end of the season. Big wow - most players hardly drink anyway.

Another one is Arsene Wenger. He has "flopped" spectactularly this season.

From a team that was regularly challenging for the league, he sees his team battling it out for fourth.

And yet, until recently, hardly a bad word said.

Again, the Frenchman feeds stories to the media pack at his press conferences, deflecting their focus from him.

This week he had his say about Cristiano Ronaldo and suggested a new panel is set up to deal with dangerous tackles.

That kicks off a debate, gets other managers involved and fills the space that might have been reserved for 'Is it time to sack Wenger?'

Rafa should take note - because until he changes his approach, the paper trail of negativity will continue.

Not only that, while most us have the good sense to take most of what we see and hear with a pinch of salt, there are a lot of people out there who actually believe what they are told by "experts".

Perhaps, may I suggest, the same people who boo at footie matches at the drop of a hat?!

1 comment:

Dave Molyneux said...

Good points mate, but I think a lot of managers who just so happen to work outside Old Trafford are constantly fighting an up-hill battle against the press. If I were a Man u fan I would be fucking embarrassed by the amount of cock sucking sky manc news & the daily mirror do towards them

Take Rafa’s Rant (as it has now become known as in the press) Now I know Rafa didn’t back up what he said with the results on the pitch, but say for instance that was the bitter faced Scottish twat who came out with what Rafa said, it would have been portrayed in the press as a battle cry or a call to arms with some sort of gladiator style body with Taggart’s head photo-shopped onto its body and Rafa being portrayed as some frightened Christian.

Going off on a slant here, but I remember the last time Everton won the league (yes I am old enough to remember) the back page of the daily mirror was a full page spread of Bryan (drop ye trousers in the bogs to unsuspecting female television reporters) Robson signing for the mancs with a small sub-headline story of “Everton crowned champions” underneath. Now if you can’t tell me that isn’t being bias I don’t know what else is.

This also may seem like a horrible thing to say here, but since the Munich air disaster many many years ago United have had the un-conditional sympathy of every corner of the sports press in this country. Would be interesting to see how bias they would have been had there not been that air crash don’t you think? Now, compare that to the quite disgusting come members of the sports press portrayed some Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster. Different kettle of fish don’t ye think?

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