The general consensus among most fans within the Premier League is that it has been one of the most exciting seasons on record. It is fair to say that there are no foregone conclusions in the league with ten games to go, with plenty of twists and turns still in the offing and arguably on the pitch they may have a point as the league continues to be as unpredictable as ever. Unfortunately off the pitch things haven’t been so enjoyable to watch, as the written and broadcast media stoop down to even lower depths.
I have to admit I saw it coming, as over the years we have seen a growing rise of sensationalist drivel. Neil Ruddock once said to me that the modern day journalist no longer has access to the players, or socialise with them therefore haven’t got anyone feeding them any sound bites and the stories they need. They now stick their finger in the wind and make something up, in order to provoke a reaction, therefore giving them two potential stories out of one. It is lazy journalism at its very worst and the unfortunate workings of the modern media.
Why the football has been entertaining on the pitch for the large part, the media choose not to comment on it as their new buzz word of the season is ‘crisis’ and generally be negative. Rather than deem the plight of Glasgow Rangers and Portsmouth in such a bracket, it appears losing two games on the bounce is the new found crisis in football. Chelsea and Arsenal have had column inches of negativity all season, while now it appears to be Tottenham and Manchester City are the latest teams to be on the receiving end, despite currently sitting 3rd and 2nd in the league respectively. I even had to listen to Jason Cundy on TalkSport suggest that Manchester United are an average football team, despite the fact they are sitting 4pts clear at the top of the Premier League and have had an obscene amount of injury problems this season. The football reporting in this country has become something of a circus and in truth adds very little value to the sport in general. There are the exceptions of course, but who can blame football clubs from keeping the press at an arm’s length.
It is their general negativity that grinds me down the most. Our Chelsea Podcast presenter Chidge went head to head with Darren Lewis on a TV show and criticised the Mirror journalist for the negative reporting against Andre Villas-Boas. Lewis argued that if Frank Lampard claimed that he and the manager had fallen out then why shouldn’t that been the main report. What Lewis failed to acknowledge is the other positive contributions that Frank made in the same interview that insisted the team are showing signs of working well together. I suppose with the modern media it is wise to turn a blind eye to positives and instead work towards to destabilising a football club and create divisions within it. The problem is that supporters bite and believe everything they read, so subsequently the journalists get the anarchy they crave on the back of their writings.
Whether we will ever see a return to the days of sensible football journalism in the main remains to be seen – as even the broadsheets now tend to adopt a tabloid approach to push their stories – but I for one fear that the horse may have already bolted and the media-induced anarchy in football is only going to get worse in years to come.