Why do managers and football players hate the media? A look at today’s newspapers in England offers a lesson.
A little background: I’ve now spent about ten days in England in now, and seen almost a game a day. That’s a good eight games, between sixteen and twenty press conferences, and more seats built for midgets than I can count. Every day, I’m surprised to open the papers the following morning and find out that I apparently missed the press conferences. The ones I was at bear little relation to those that made it into print.
To wit: a survey of Monday’s Guardian, the Mail, the Telegraph and Sun present a rather different picture of how Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers acted at their press conferences Sunday night.
Most papers led today with a variation on the following: “Rodgers fumes over ‘blatant’ penalty denied by ref Webb” (that’s the Guardian.) Except, Rodgers wasn’t fuming, or raging (the Mail) or doing much else of the kind. Yes, he thought it was a penalty not given and said so. But he was also laughing and joking with the press corps and had the air of professional resignation about him. This, perhaps, was due to the fact that he knew he was lucky to finish with ten men on the field after one of his players unwisely put his hands on the ref’s chest and another committed a second bookable offense.
Then there was Wenger, said to be “furious” over Jose Mourinho’s statements last week. Was he? Maybe, but that’s supposition. He showed signs of it, as he too was joking with the media – even during the one truly uncomfortable part his press conference, when he was forced to address Olivier Giroud’s apparently acknowledged infidelity. (Courteously, the Mail ran a series of photographs of the young woman in question today alongside pictures of Giroud in action.)