It’s time that football clubs started to educate their players on how they should speak to the media. We are tired of hearing meaningless comments by players after a match, often in a form of English that belongs to the darkened bus shelters of the inner city.
Admittedly, a large percentage of players would probably be sitting around in such places if they had not been scooped up out of a hard life of under –achievement, but isn’t it in the best interests of the clubs to ensure their players are representing them in the best possible way?
Last week, Joey Barton spoke to the French media in the sort of accent more associated with the TV sitcom “’Allo, Allo”. It was midly ridiculous, but was he merely “taking the mickey”? I think he may have been. And what about Eric Cantona and his equally tongue-in-cheek “sardines” comment! Incidents like these, however, stand out in a bland sea of cliché and jargon.
Players are not the brightest floodlights in the football arena – otherwise they wouldn’t tolerate the nonsense that goes on around them – and their post-match interviews reflect this. How many “you knows” can you squeeze into two minutes? Other classic phrases include “done well” and “didn’t do nothing”, amongst others.
Let’s not forget that these young men are supposed to be role models for every working class kid who dons the replica shirt. But they are being influenced by people that have little education or grasp of the English language – and I am not talking necessarily about the foreign imports!
The game has never been graced by rocket scientists, but then again, why should it? Years ago, if a player had any sort of academic prowess – and there are some – it was always referred to in virtually every media report or pen picture. I recall West Ham’s Trevor Brooking being highlighted as someone who had a couple of O Levels – it was that basic. Chelsea’s Juan Mata is also an educated man, and it shows in the way he conducts himself (he recently bought into his former club to help save it…decent fellow that he is).
The clubs should spend a little time ensuring that their players give the game a decent image. I say “Let’s kick illiteracy out of football”.