Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A

The Questions We Would Ask

By Paul Daly :  01/02/2009 :  Comments (29) :
It?s a shame that unlike the Italian or the Spanish press, when English reporters have a chance to ask questions of football managers they bottle it. Just listen to any of the post-match or pre-game interviews conducted at any of the Premier league clubs. English reporters prefer soft ingratiating chats rather than flow-blown question and answer sessions that address tactics, substitutions or the progress of a match. There is never a proper post-mortem of what happened in the ebb and flow of a game. The height of intellectual curiosity from the average football hack is ?David did you think when Lescott went over in the box it was a penalty??

This seems to be especially true of Everton where a compliant and complacent press pack seem more concerned with preserving their access than with digging up some hard news. There is also the feeling that none of the hacks want to risk the kind of fallout that has frequently occurred with another volatile Scot. Watch the Everton Manager interact with the press. For Moyes part you can almost feel his contempt for these pesky placid penpushers. Behind the bulging eyes you can see him formulating the words ?Youse know f***ing nothing abou? fitba, youse are jes? livin? off the backs of Everton football club??..?

So the press aren?t doing their job- surprise surprise. It should be easy enough- all they need to do is troll ToffeeWeb or Bluekipper for a handy list of questions that need addressing. We do their job for them. Pity we can?t access the manager on a weekly basis as they do and ask the kind of things we want answered. At a press-conference in front of say thirty Toffeeweb readers DM would be faced with questions about his substitutions, his formations, his tactical adjustments during a game, his willingness to blood youngsters. There would be questions about how the club are operating in the loan market and they wouldn?t be of the ?there?s talk of you bringing in the lad from CSKA Moscow, any truth in that David?? variety to be answered with ?What talk??? I can easily imagine a supporter/questioner saying ?Leon Osman has looked tired. This has happened every January/February he has been a senior player. How do you address that?? Or how about ?Victor Anichebe, David. One goal in seventy odd premier league games. At what point do you decide he can?t cut it as a premier league striker?? I suspect after ten or twelve well put pertinent questions we might have an explosion. And that?s not just a suspicion about Moyes. I think having to answer to a group of supporters would probably elicit the same response from most premier league managers. Witness Gary Megson basically insult his set of fans and tell them they know sfa.

?Course that?s all a pipe dream. It?ll never happen. But you have to wonder sometimes if the powers that be sometimes look at the Everton websites and see the disparity between what they are asked by the Fourth Estate and the questions Evertonians really want answered. You wonder if they come on here and dismiss us with ?well they don?t know what they are talking about?. You wonder if they reflect on how lucky they are not to have to pay too much attention to the paying customers. You wonder if the secretly give thanks that they can get away with insipid answers to non-questions all mediated by their supine friends in the press. You wonder if Bill Kenwright says ?Memo to Self: No press credentials for any website?? And sometimes if you?re an optimistic type you wonder if they sometimes don?t say ?that?s a mad intense shower over at ToffeeWeb, but maybe they have a point. Maybe we should give Gosling and Rodwell an extended run??..?

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Anthony Dyer
1   Posted 02/02/2009 at 04:40:53

Report abuse

Someone said recently that the match going public make up a less than significant proportion of a club?s revenue. Whereas the media coverage is the new life blood of the game in England. Therefore the questions that most loyal supporters want answering are never going to be addressed.

Questions like why is there an elite group of referees, why are they paid £75k a year and who the hell are they answerable to?

As a fully paid up member of the ?working? man?s game, I am becoming greatly disenchanted with the sport with each passing season. It is easy to forget that even Evertonians are paying hard-earned cash to watch Millionaire players and staff, whilst the goons who run the game are so detached from reality they make politicians and bankers seem decent salt of the earth human beings.

The whole game has become a circus of pundits, hacks and managers/playesrs who swap clubs and insults quicker than an assistant can raise his flag. I can handle most of that until I realise that I am paying for this product and therefore supporting the liars and the cheats who are involved in the game. Most of them represent nothing more than a shallow self-serving bunch who are as far removed from the spirit of the game as it is possible to get.

If I won the lottery I would attempt to buy Goodison Park and start a new Everton similar to FC United and leave the PL to its own devices, but the chances of that happening are as remote as Everton FC winning the League in our lifetimes.

An indication of how stupid the game is becoming was seen today when Lampard got sent off for tackling. I?ll never understand in a million years how or why Riley sent him off and in point of fact I thought that Alonso was more guilty of an offence in that instance...

At least the majority of fans who post on TW do so because they love the club they support and inform us how they see it good and bad, which is more than can be said for the self-satisfied pundits who don?t care if something is right or wrong as long as they get their salaries and first-class treatment from whichever organisation they work for this week.

Dick Fearon
2   Posted 02/02/2009 at 04:57:15

Report abuse

@Paul Daly, I completely agree with your comments. How often have we watched a reporter dance around a question that is on everyones lips? I find myself muttering "Ask THE bloody question, why don?t you?!"

The session usually ends with mutual back scratching platitudes between questioner and questionee, both gushing with ingratiating unspoken undying love for each other. The supposed reporter should be blushing with shame at yet another prostitution of the journalists code.

The late Henry Rose, a genuine football reporter who died in the Munich disaster, would be squiming in his grave at the insipid piss weak hacks who are now his successors.

Dick Fearon
3   Posted 02/02/2009 at 05:30:50

Report abuse

@Anthony Dyer, you have quite excellently put into words what most thinking supporters think about the garbage currently passing as informed reporting. Gate money may play a minor role in a club's finances yet without an exciting crowd atmosphere the the game would soon lose its appeal to TV and commercial sponsors.

As an aside, I also agree with your interpretation of the sending off but with Alonso and Riley being involved I am not in the least surprised.

Anthony Lamb
4   Posted 02/02/2009 at 13:17:59

Report abuse

Paul, spot on... and like Anthony and Dick, I agree with you. You have pinpointed one of the obvious examples of the corruption that pervades the whole of the professional game especially the Premier League. The visual media especially are beyond contempt.

Ludicrous "interviews" as players or managers leave the pitch together with the banal brainless "questioning" so often exhibited brings the whole lot of them into more than disrepute. Just look at the comfort zone of MOTD.

In our own area, the local radio "commentators" on City or Merseyside are perfect examples of this embarrassing, ingratiating tendency that is truly pathetic and infuriating. It carries over of course to the standards of officiating at games where many referees and linesmen too often are likewise seduced by their proximity to "stardom" and "celebrity" and enjoy being able to "join in" with the whole vacuous circus.

THE prime example here of course would be Mr Riley. Can this appalling excuse for a referee ever be allowed to referee a match again, together with the creature on the line who somehow failed to intervene in one of the most appalling incidents at the corner flag when it took place less than 6 inches from his face? I leave alone the failure to take action against Gerard and then his sending off of Lampard for fear of revealing my bias!

In any normal enterprise he would be removed ? but not in soccer. We have a growing clamour that these guys should be subject to some public scrutiny. I totally agree but who in the name of all that is holy would we trust to elicit some genuine significant response from them ? journalists??

But well done Paul, with the honourable exception of those such as the outstanding James Lawton in the Independent, so called sports journalists are beyond the contempt of even the most likely suspects that we could all name!

The whole circus will drive many of a certain age and disposition away from the game and leave those who continue with their loyalty to do so with deep frustrations, no little anger, and not having to look very far for outlets for their contempt.

Nick Heady
5   Posted 02/02/2009 at 16:09:24

Report abuse

Unfortunately the interviewing journo would never get another interview again if he dared question tactics etc with most prem managers.
I also could not believe my eyes at Boswinga's attack on one of the shite. The lino saw it and did nothing, Lampard makes a good challenge ? wins the ball then gets fouled and sent off. Joke... It was Boswinga, wasnt it?
Steve Edwards
6   Posted 02/02/2009 at 20:23:34

Report abuse

Excellent article Paul and I totally agree with the sentiment expressed by Anthony Dyer. I can?t help thinking that the whole Premier League circus and the parasites who pray off it reflect the politics and the political classes that run the very country we live in so I suppose, what can we expect.

As a life long Evertonian who has witnessed four league championships, I find myself becoming more disillusioned everyday. I sometimes think I must be mad for still having everything to do with it... but like a lot of others I still can?t walk away, it has been so much of my life and for some reason still is.

Dick Fearon
7   Posted 02/02/2009 at 21:28:58

Report abuse

@ Anthony Lamb, the sentiments you express about glory hunting officials mirrors what I said in a recent but unpublished TW post. When their pathetic egos are stroked by worldly wise old hands, they almost wet their pants and grin like baboons. They have particular favourites so it would be wrong to label them as wannabee everybody's friend. Gerrard and Alonzo for instance can commit GBH in front of 40,000 witnesses and there is more chance of the innocent victim being sent off.
Brian Garside
8   Posted 03/02/2009 at 01:39:22

Report abuse

Thank you Paul.
I suggest you send this letter to every sports editor in the land and every team's website in an effort to get the ball rolling in a crusade in the cause of Journalism. We the paying public should be told!!!
Eric Myles
9   Posted 03/02/2009 at 01:48:25

Report abuse

I didn?t see the sending off offence as I fell asleep by the start of the second half but on a positive note for the ref, I did read that he booked Gerrard for diving. Seems to be the only ref in 10 seasons that has spotted that Gerrard is a diver. I?m still waiting for one to recognise that Torres and Mascherano are too, but they?ve only been with the RS for 2 seasons so far.
Michael Hunt
10   Posted 03/02/2009 at 04:59:50

Report abuse

Yep, the pussy footing around the real issues is a big part of the problem. If blatant cheating was not frequently swept under the carpet the game would be much the better for it.

Still, for considerations sake, let?s assume we get a fair ref in tomorrow?s Cup Replay derby at Goodison (a very large assumption based on past derbies!) Well, that could mean the joke officiating of the RS vs Chelski game could work right in our favour. Reason being, Stevie Gbh got away with just one booking in 90 mins when he should have had 2 bookings (the other for the kick out into Malouda?s bollox while he was lay prone on the ground), plus a straight red (when very clearly he should have got a straight red for the dangerous and cynical ?over the top?, studs up, viscious and cowardly lunge (for which he did not even get booked!)

With that kind of ridiculous behavious unpunished, by complete ref incompetence or bias, I think he must think he is above the law. Maybe god will decree that justice is summarily served at GP and in the 1st half send off Stevie GBH, Cuntish Carra, Arsewipe Alonso and Mental Mascheatano! We can then stroll to a 10-0 win and bring those classless twats down a peg or three....

(OK, I?m certifiably insane... bring on the white coats!)

Tony Marsh
11   Posted 03/02/2009 at 11:05:03

Report abuse

Osman isn't tired, Paul ? he is plain old crap, simple as that. Too slow, too small, has no pace, and can't tackle ? sums the lad up really. If Leon was up for sale, which clubs in the Premier League would be in for him? I don't think any at all. He would end up in the Championship so why is he ever-present in our side when he reeks the place out every time he plays? They would be my questions...
Rob Foy
12   Posted 03/02/2009 at 11:04:29

Report abuse

Superb original article there and loads of good replies. Can't really add anything worthwhile. Does anyone know who the ref is for tomorrow? Does Bennett get carried over from the first leg? I personally hope Phil Dowd is given the game. He is the only referee I have seen this season to stand up to one of the Sky 4 when we played Chelsea.
Ray Roche
13   Posted 03/02/2009 at 11:31:15

Report abuse

I believe it?s Alan Wiley. So no cause for celebration, eh?
Rob Foy
14   Posted 03/02/2009 at 11:55:15

Report abuse

Sickener. After Blackburn last season and Stoke this season he should never be allowed to ref an Everton reserve game, let alone a derby!
Robbie Muldoon
15   Posted 03/02/2009 at 12:23:49

Report abuse

Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. Natural Selection. All these relate to evolution of the species. And in the evolution of this Everton side we need to replace the runts with fitter, stronger, better players. Osman is a weak link, he is the runt of the pack and Gosling is the answer. Easy.
Michael Dempsey
16   Posted 03/02/2009 at 14:03:12

Report abuse

Yes, it’s quite true. 30 Toffee Web readers would be likely to spend hours moaning and whingeing at the best manager we’ve had since Harry Catterick given half a chance. Thank heaven they will never get even a quarter chance.
Mike Gaynes
17   Posted 03/02/2009 at 14:28:00

Report abuse

Thank you, Paul. Outstanding article.

As a longtime US sports journalist ? I covered major sports here for CBS and ABC ? I?ve always been bemused by what passes for football journalism in the UK. On the one hand you have the mushy-soft questioning Paul describes, and on the other hand the hysteria and scandal-mongering of the back pages, but nothing in between. What?s odd is that it seems to be exclusive to football. Reporters covering tennis, cricket and rugby seem to be as sharp in their questions and professional in their attitudes as my former baseball and basketball colleagues in the US ? when a tough question needs asking, they ask it.

So Paul, as a faraway fan who has never seen a Prem game in person, I?d like to ask you why you think this situation has evolved. Are the reporters stupid, lazy or fearful of losing their access? Why don?t their editors press them to ask firmer questions? I can understand why some journalists are intimidated by the likes of Ferguson ? there are famously fierce coaches in the US who have cowed the press ? but why do UK reporters apparently fear to question even the most accessible managers with anything tougher than a marshmallow? What do they fear Moyes doing if they ask him those excellent questions about Osman and Anichebe?

Brian Waring
18   Posted 03/02/2009 at 15:24:24

Report abuse

This was a really intresting thread, then you have a knob like Michael Dempsey, who comes along.
Paul Daly
19   Posted 03/02/2009 at 16:20:13

Report abuse

It was great to see so many people respond so positively to this- I appreciate it ? and especially the people who connected the dots between the general corruption that surrounds the game and the increasingly erratic behavior of officials in it.

To Mike Gaynes:- I think the hacks are terrified of losing their access. In a world of 24/7 media, the tv and print journos are frequently outmaneuvered by the new media; we no longer need rely on them for a version of events. Their only trump card is that they have access ? the price they pay is that they become a part of the propaganda arm of the club.

However, the football pages are so profitable advertising-wise for papers, and football is such a cornerstone of tv programming that editors, publishers and tv execs see the loss of truth, independence and investigative reporting as a small price to pay against the revenues generated. Anything remotely controversial would get ?spiked?.

To Michael Dempsey:- I look forward to your article expanding on your comment that ?David Moyes is the best Everton manager since Harry Catterick?. I feel certain that the ToffeeWeb editors could hardly resist publishing that and I hope the ?wingeing moaning? (your words) ToffeeWeb readers will be as kind to you as they have been to me? but I suspect not.

Michael Coffey
20   Posted 03/02/2009 at 18:42:32

Report abuse

1. The journalists don’t ask questions - they just put question marks at the end of statements ("That was a disappointing result, David").

2. The whole BBC-Ferguson thing is absurd. I simply do not know why Lineker can’t say after each United game on MOTD "We asked Sir Alex for an interview but he’s refusing to talk to the BBC after that Programme we did on his son the football agent" . A few weeks of that might have old rednose reaching for the bottle with even greater frequency.
Graham Youley
21   Posted 03/02/2009 at 22:31:17

Report abuse

1 word - Clattenburg!
Mike Gaynes
22   Posted 04/02/2009 at 08:02:47

Report abuse

Paul, thank you for your response... that’s what I suspected.

And Michael Coffey, I’ve noticed your #! point as well, and it always makes me wonder why managers don’t respond to that the way coaches do over here: "So is there a question in there somewhere?"
Denis Richardson
23   Posted 04/02/2009 at 12:26:18

Report abuse

Slightly leaving the topic but I read a very eye opening book on corruption in football. It’s called "Foul!: The Secret World of FIFA - by Andrew Jennings" and once you read that you really start to think twice about the whole Football world in general.

Another great book more geared to the premiership is called "Broken Dreams" by Tom Boyer.

The whole game is one mighty pit of corruption with everyone in it out to grab as much of the pie as they can before the train leaves the station.

Anyway, after reading the above I’m simply a lot more cynical than ever before but will stil carry on supporting the blues.

I hope we send the RS packing tonight and then knock the villa out in the next.

Brett Bradshaw
24   Posted 04/02/2009 at 14:12:31

Report abuse

It seams to me that a team has to earn the right to be at the top, but ’just’ need to tick along in order to stay there (having that protection we are speaking of)

So it is harder to get to the top than stay there that’s for sure, but you know, when whoever get there, they will have the momentum and all, of a ’small’ club run on fractions of the monies, and generating a whole lot more. This of course puts the ’big’ clubs run on mega money, not earning enough!

Efficiency will prevail! Our time will come
Trevor Lynes
25   Posted 04/02/2009 at 14:48:34

Report abuse

I have a question ... How is it that the papers link us with a selection of crocks and has beens as prospective signings.. eg; Smith and now FFS Glen Little... this guy is over 33 years old, could not get a game at Reading and was loaned to Pompey where he played just five games since he has been there.

My question: What about the quality we are supposed to be always holding back for??? The rest of the above is what everybody already knows. Jeremy Paxman should be asking the questions, he would get them squirming!!!

Stephen Graham
26   Posted 04/02/2009 at 18:58:23

Report abuse

Adding to Mike Gaynes’ comments, in ice hockey (NHL) we often see the players interviewed at the end of periods and posed direct questions about tactics, performance, team spirit and they most usually respond articulately and meaningfully. Coaches are sometimes interviewed during breaks in play and these are seldom ’touchy feely’ questions. btw, commentators in North America are very often expert in the game, whichever game, and debates between pundits is VERY entertaining, as well as informing.

I also vote that referees be subject to post-match interviews and invited to explain THEIR decisions.

There is everything to be gained by transparency.

One last thing: Give it mouth today, lads and lasses, loads of mouth! COYB, forever!
Robbie Muldoon
27   Posted 04/02/2009 at 23:20:21

Report abuse

Have a look at my post on Monday about 12 comments up.

I fucking knew it! Get in there, Gosling ? you beast!!!!
Michael Hunt
28   Posted 05/02/2009 at 03:53:46

Report abuse

Fair play Robbie, I have massive faith in Gosling the Great too :-)
I won’t mention that, but for the width of a post, Ossie would have knocked home the winner 45 minutes earlier than the great Gosling winner! ;-)
Robbie Muldoon
29   Posted 05/02/2009 at 12:30:42

Report abuse

Fair point Michael, but you can also argue it the other way that is exactly those fine lines which make the difference!

Anyway, what a night! After a nightmare start to the season finally something to cheer about and play for - the FA Cup!

© ToffeeWeb

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.