May 21 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
And there was me thinking the football season was over...
The plan was: survival, comfortable Carrow Road viewing, a testimonial, sunshine, the Euros and the Olympics. Talk about getting your ducks in a row only for someone to come up and pepper them with a punt gun.
First it was Aston Villa sacking their manager and then it was Grant Holt putting in a transfer request. I swear my laptop began to smoke as City fans took to the message boards and Twitter to express their views.
It’s fine, it’s a free world, everyone can say what they want, but the speculation linking Paul Lambert to Villa – not just the job but the reasons behind any move out of Carrow Road or, alternatively, the factors that will make him stay – and the theorising over Holt’s decision has sent my faith in some sections of the great football supporting AND football reporting world seriously dwindling down the believability ladder.
I do need to get something off my chest: there is no way I can give any credibility to anyone who professes to know the real story but utters the words “it is my understanding” or “I am told that...”. You either know, or you don’t know. A national radio station asked my views of the Lambert-Villa story. I had to say I didn’t know, because I don’t. And nor do most other people. Yet some cannot resist the urge to show off. There are some reporters who give us all a bad name, and when I see some of the rubbish written and spoken I despair.
Lambert was upset by a question after the testimonial match for Adam Drury; his point is that he has answered the question about his future, that it isn’t up for discussion. The fact that he didn’t take kindly to being asked it doesn’t mean in any way that we are to blame if he did decide to leave the club.
Take this missive from a reader called Steve as an example: “I heard his interview last night and have never heard him lose his rag until then, this being caused by the interviewer.
“Is everyone in the media thick when a question has been asked and the person being interviewed clearly states leave the subject alone but the interviewer continues pushing the subject it is not surprising the interviewee gets annoyed. Leave the man alone or you will force him out. Idiots.”
And yes, the writer confirmed he meant all of the media. It seems that the “unrest” that some claim exists is our fault. I doubt there is unrest and I refuse to accept it is our fault.
It’s not just the media, local or national, written or broadcast, which has speculated about Lambert or Holt. Some have gone to extremes, some are clearly not informed, others – and I would like to think Archant is one – play a straight bat and report the reports. And the facts.
What our detractors need to understand is that there are some authors with wild imaginations among the keyboard warriors. There are people who use social networking to spread messages that are completely untrue. The majority air their views, but some peddle in untruths because they need their egos massaged. They feel better if someone regards them with something approaching respect. If you want an example, go to the football rumours website. Honestly, it’s hilarious.
Somehow, this minorioty becomes the media. Somehow we are blamed for their ridiculous stories that make people like Paul Lambert and Grant Holt and, I’m sure, many others, sick and tired of the rubbish they read. Which is why we play the aforementioned straight bat: because if we start throwing in stories that are concocted without the foundation of fact then we are feeding them.
I thoroughly enjoy reading message boards when postings are constructive, interesting, observational. But I can spot rubbish at 10 paces – and the authors are ruining it for the genuine.
• IT’S NOT AS EASY AS YOU THINK TONY
West Ham are going to find the Premier League a doddle, apparently.
I hope their former player Tony Gale doesn’t mind, but I will paraphrase what he said in a radio interview: “I watch two or three Sky games a week for work and I didn’t see a lot to be worried about.
“Outside the top six or so, it’s all much of a muchness. I don’t think the three promoted teams from last season (Norwich, Swansea and QPR) were up to much. West Ham have enough about them and with the addition of a few more players I think they will do well. They’ve got Robert Green and Carlton Cole, two England internationals.”
I would have recorded the interview, but I was driving at the time. I was also in a state of shock that someone should be so blase about promotion.
West Ham I believe, were a little lucky to get past Blackpool in the play-off final. They have big debts, so can rest assured that a chunk of their prize money will go to paying some of that off.
They intend to move to the Olympic Stadium at some stage so they can play to bigger crowds, albeit crowds that will need binoculars to see what’s going on.
And they have a manager whose future isn’t entirely assured because he doesn’t appear to play the West Ham way.
Stating that they have Carlton Cole in their line-up is also not really solid evidence to support a claim that they will be able to survive next season.
I sort of hope they do, because I have always rather enjoyed West Ham, but Gale was doing them no favours with his comments.
• WHY ARE WE ALL OFF TO UKRAINE?
Saddest story of the week? Gay England football fans travelling to Ukraine for Euro 2012 have been warned to keep a low profile for their own safety. We have Saudi Arabia going to the Olympic Games despite not allowing women to compete and now we have football fans being warned about their safety because they are gay. Amnesty International Ukraine campaigner Max Tucker said: “Gay England football fans will have extremely good reason to be concerned.
“Not only will they have to deal with violent football hooligans who deliberately target gay people and people of ethnic minorities, they will also face an extremely corrupt police force who have a track record of beating and mistreating people because of their sexual orientation.”
It begs the question: why was Ukraine ever considered an acceptable host nation?
Theo Walcott doesn’t want his family travelling there because of the threat of racist attacks. Sounds like Ukraine is a breeding ground for far right thugs. I have a horrible feeling about this one.
• GET RIGHT PEOPLE TO CARRY TORCHES
Can anyone tell me why Didier Drogba and Zara Phillips were involved in the Olympic torch relay?
The event itself doesn’t do much for me, but I do understand why it is a joy for those people involved and why they deserve the privilege of carrying out the duty. Frankly, if they asked me, I’d have jumped at the chance, although I might have preferred a stiff 50-yard walk to any of that jogging and running stuff.
If Drogba was asked on the back of his incredible charity work, then I have no argument, although I’ll bet there were other options available involving people who weren’t famous.
But Zara Phillips? I’m sorry, but it didn’t sit comfortably with me.
On the same subject, I see the Games organisers, Locog, are under fire for their over-protective attitude towards sponsors.
An entertainment company in Brighton was told they couldn’t use the words Olympics and London 2012 in an ad for its variety acts which it supplies for corporate functions. The blurb now reads: “Sports themed acts for 2012.”
I was in London last week and advertising for the Olympic Games was everywhere. Or should I say, I was in the big city 120 miles south of Norwich and saw lots of advertising for an event that is held every four years and which will cost this nation an arm and a leg?
A magnificent solo goal by midfielder Jonny Howson clinched a notable victory for Norwich City as they wrapped up their season by beating Premier League runners-up Manchester City on their own ground.