It seems a shame that Tottenham’s best performance in recent weeks has failed to make the headlines. AVB went some way to answering his critics on the pitch last weekend, Spurs seeing out an enthralling 2-2 draw against the Premier League Champions. But this wasn’t enough to deflect attention away from AVB’s now infamous attack on the press and the Daily Mail in particular.
A man of undoubted principle, AVB felt that these weren’t just footballing criticisms but an attack on his personal integrity, something of a targeted vendetta against his tenure. People can take from his outburst what they want, for me he appeared calm and restrained, a calculated response rather than anything else. Whether his outburst will affect him detrimentally only time will tell, but in my opinion he had every right to face his critics and give them his view.
There is a definite agenda amongst certain areas of the media against AVB. He isn’t your typical media darling; he is professional in everything he does, there are no Redknapp one-liners or stoic Mourinho-esque addresses. AVB doesn’t capture the imagination of the countries media, but then again why should he?
Personally I think his reaction was admirable for a manager in the footballing world, maybe not the shrewdest move but one that should hopefully give him some of the respect he deserves.
Sam Allardyce doesn’t see it this way, the West Ham manager weighed in on the debate with his views whilst speaking to TalkSport:
“You have to use the criticism as a motivational drive to show these people that they are wrong, you’ve got to take it on the chin.”
“You, and your players, have got to do your talking on the field. I think he’s just showed a little bit of immaturity. It can get under your skin, but you’ve can’t let that happen because you’re not going to win.”
Whatever Allardyce thinks about AVB’s comments he should know as much as anyone that it isn’t his place to comment. There is a general unwritten code in sport that personal matters and indeed specific club issues should be left be. We had it in the last couple of weeks during the Ashes, David Warner castigated for his comments about the England team and in particular Jonathan Trott. Now I understand both sports are entirely different, but for me in both cases neither individual had a right to comment on that specific matter.
Allardyce did level some support for AVB ahead of tonight’s Premier League fixtures:
“However disappointed you may feel about what people say in media terms, it’s still much better keeping your powder dry. I admire him for having a go, but I don’t think it will do you any favours in the end unfortunately. But I’d admire him for sticking up for himself and having a go for what he believes in. In all honesty, he’s probably right.”
The problem though isn’t with what Allardyce has said, more the fact he has said anything at all. A lot of what he has said is probably right; AVB is no doubt a little immature, something to be expected from the youngest manager in the league. But his comments are unnecessary and actually quite harmful to a fellow manager. Allardyce should by now understand the weight of the British media and the way in which they can undermine a manager, so why add fuel to the fire?
Allardyce is from the same footballing school as Harry Redknapp, two men that love to talk about everything other than their own issues. Allardyce isn’t in any place to comment on another manager, West Ham sit precariously in 15th and don’t look set for anything better than a relegation dogfight this term. I can only assume he has weighed in on the AVB debate simply to deflect attention from his own struggles.
Sam Allardyce isn’t the spokesperson for football managers everywhere, if AVB wanted a father figure in football I think he would be looking elsewhere. The fact he has got himself involved says a lot about him, very few of the classy top-level managers would go anywhere near another manager’s woes. Even Mourinho who doesn’t shy away from the media would show some respect in this regard.
AVB’s battle with the media is one for him alone to fight.
I suggest Allardyce focuses on his own shortcomings before getting embroiled in other peoples.