Sunday, March 26, 2006

Put the tabloid garbage where it deserves

Chelsea today issued a statement denying a story in a Sunday newspaper that Sven Goran Erikkson was set to replace Jose Mourinho as manager this summer, and that Mourinho has fallen out with chief executive Peter Kenyon.
Funnily enough, the website of that paper has both the story itself and then a story with the statement, saying the story had come 'from a Sunday newspaper', conveniently ignoring the fact that it was their own paper and the story was still on site!!!
More than three times this season now Chelsea have been forced to issue statements denying newspaper stories. These stories have ranged from building a new stadium to a fall-out between Kenyon and Mourinho over Beckham and two stories that Mourinho will be replaced this summer. All this stories have things in common. They come from 'sources within the club', or 'people close to Kenyon/Mourinho' or just 'it is well known' or 'it is understood'. No direct quotes from any named sources. Any quotes regarding these issues over the season, quite apart from the denials themselves, have suggested the complete opposite in fact.
Chelsea call these current stories an attempt to destabilize the club. They have a point. The media don't want Chelsea to dominate because they are not one of the traditional big clubs (see my piece on 'the divine right of big clubs' below) and while they welcome them breaking the duopoly of United and Arsenal they would like nothing better than to bring them back down to earth, because on the pitch they are nigh on unbeatable at the moment and because of the attitude of the manager.
The funny thing is the more Chelsea denies these statements the more the newspapers look like people out to make a quick buck out of a fictional sensationalist story, and the less people will believe them. This story like the last few will now die a death and the papers will find something else. They will never stop though, and will continue to humiliate themselves. All we can do is ignore it or not even read it to start with. If people stop buying the papers then they'll stop printing the rubbish (in theory).
What's even funnier though is that either they in the media are either so stupid they don't realize it or have if they do obviously have no shame, dignity or self-respect, so lose out anyway.
Here is a true story which proves this point. Last spring, quite by chance, I bumped into some tabloid journos at Stamford Bridge from the red-tops (I could name them, but won't as I could get into trouble!!). They were in the Shed Bar on their laptops, innocently writing up their stories after the pre-Barcelona press conference of last season. All of them turned around and asked me questions about football and Jose Mourinho in particular, things about his career and his history at Barcelona that that any serious football journalist would already have known. I went away laughing, having had the obvious confirmed. These guys knew nothing about football, and were just rubbish journalists trying to get a story and making a living writing about a sport they didn't really have any knowledge of. Not for love of the game, not to tell the truth, but to get a story and make a living without care for anyone's feelings and without any shame, self-respect or humility.
I have no sympathy for them whatsoever, and neither should any of us. We should also not further their careers by buying and reading any more of this stuff. If you want to read it, read it for free online. What they write clearly isn't worth the paper it's written on.