One man who is happy to have John Terry stealing the back page headlines will be Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager has been in a bad mood with the press recently over what he claims as “completely unfair” treatment in the way they have been reporting his interviews.
Wenger had angered his neighbours Chelsea after the 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge with the words “we didn’t get a demonstration of football”. It was a comment that even angered Michael Ballack who responded by claiming that the Frenchman “always says things like this when he loses to find an excuse”
Wenger was aggrieved by the way in which the media chose to portray his interviews and is most definitely top of the Premier League hand-bags league after angering Martin O’Neill the week before. Wenger responded by saying;
“I would just like to say that I was full of compliments and praise for Chelsea after the game and I find it completely unfair from the press that you take one word of my press conference to turn it in a kind of probe every time.“
“You did that at Villa (where Martin O’Neill lambasted Wenger for criticising his team’s tactics), you did that at Chelsea and every time. If you look at the intent of my press conference it was positive towards the opponent.”
The recent frolics of footballer’s will have taken the limelight off him for the time being but should Arsenal slip up again, the questions will pop up once again.
Of course there is one option. Known in the media as ‘The Alex Ferguson I’ve been doing this job for too long that I can’t be bothered anymore treatment’. Well not really but Wenger could always take the Fergie route and selectively block certain parts of the media. After all, Ferguson has not spoken to the BBC since 2004 when Panorama ran a documentary which portrayed his son, Jason, an agent, as using his father’s status to gain influence in the transfer market.
Unfortunately for Wenger, It may not be such a viable option as he would only have about 4 months off from speaking to them. The Premier League passed a motion in November stating that post-match interviews with rights holders will become mandatory. So for Ferguson, as well as Harry Redknapp, of Tottenham, and Sam Allardyce, of Blackburn, this is bad news. All three will be forced to speak to Match of the Day and Radio Five Live as of next season. I can’t wait for a lot of one word answers and absolutely no substance to make anything of.
To be honest, I don’t think Wenger really needs to alienate himself from the media. After all, in doing so he will lose the power to use the press in a positive manner. Take Jose Mourinho, whether you hate him or love him, he was a perfect example of how to use the media to benefit your team. Mourinho would make clever comments to show confidence, inspire players or simply to play games with the journalist’s in front of him. Even at Inter he has continued this tradition. He recently criticised striker Mario Balotelli. Inter’s young prodigy is a player who has world class potential but has been known to throw his toys out of his pram on a number of occasions.
By using the media to vent his frustration with a player, Mourinho is providing him with a carrot in the hope that it can spur him on to improve. It usually works.
So, instead of taking a leaf out of Ferguson’s book, Wenger should probably look to the book of Mourinho and see how well he used to media to help his Chelsea team to consecutive titles. With a young squad and a lot of talent, you never know, it might be the inspiration that his team needs right now!