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On Premier League’s new media rules

The Telegraph ran this story about a new set of Premier League rules being passed, giving the press and media rights holders wider access to the managers and players.

The gist of the story was:

1. players can be interviewed immediately after a match [ie, players of winning teams only. If it ended in a draw players of both teams can be interviewed right on the pitch once the whistle blows]

2. managers are required to talk to ‘rights holders’ — which means Sky (to whom Fergie already talks to) and the BBC MotD (to whom he doesn’t and sends Phelan instead)

3. it is also mandatory for the manager or a senior member of the coaching staff to give a press conference.

Now I have no access to the actual literature of the rules that have been reportedly passed by the Premier League. So I cannot comment on whether this actually forces the manager into talking to the rights holders — or if he could send his deputy. [Note: I am talking about the post-match interviews to reporters and not the press conference in #3.]

But, since there seems to be a big deal made of this, let’s say we trust the Telegraph story and assume that the new rules will indeed force Ferguson’s hand. Now, this means it will usher in a new age of more transparency between press and the Premier League sides.

Now that’s all well and good. The problem however is it opens up players and managers to more vulnerability in saying things in the heat of the moment, and perhaps higher chances of saying stuff they would normally not say.

This is in light of everything that’s transpiring between the referees’ union and Ferguson — all because he expressed an opinion, albeit a rather harsh one, on referee fitness levels. So with increased media access, are the Premier League also taking steps to define rules on what kind of things a manager or player can or cannot say.

Let’s dispense with the obvious: one cannot eff, or cee, or go bollocks! at the reporter — “it’s a family show,” they would say. But how about defining, to everyone involved, what constitutes ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ behaviour. [As an aside, if they are working on it, good luck to them.]

A simple case in point, why this is very tricky: Geoff Shreeves, I believe, asked Ferguson following the Chelsea defeat, “I don’t want to try and put words in your mouth, but did the referee cost you the match?”

I don’t know, Geoff, but to me you just shoved those words deep into his oesophagus. And I think, Fergie, with all the stuff going on around him, did a decent job chewing those words down, instead deciding to go for some sensible — albeit banal — phrasing.

There is increased press access — some would say, on the lines of how it’s done in North American sport — but if that means there are less shackles on the pressers to put as many crafty words as they can into managers’ and players’ mouths, will there be a relaxation (or a more defined structure to the rules) on the players’ / managers’ side to make this actually work?

If not, we’ll either see more outbursts — and hence, more recrimination from offended parties — or we’ll see players and managers trot out tired cliches, making this whole exercise rather pointless and adding little value.

Further reading — although a bit tangential to this — on United Rant regarding the refs’ union’s threat to sue Ferguson.



  1. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 06:50

    @Jay wire: Bull, he doesn’t have to be inconsistent. He is 22 or 23 now and has had more than enough time and experience to offer the club a lot more than just his curly locks and backflips. If he was 17 or 18 then yes he can be inconsistent, but not now, no way. This is Manchester United mate, not West Ham. We have no room for the vastly inconsistent. So Anderson, Berbatov, Valencia, Carrick, Evra and others who suffer from this malady take notice, you are all on borrowed time. This club is elite and requires players who are elite both physically and mentally and who bring their “A” game to the park 8/10 times, not 2/10. Nani’s growing and learning period ended a long time ago. It’s time for him to man up or shut the fuck up and get out out of town.

  2. Red Ranter

    19 November 2009 at 06:50

    @Grognard: You concluded from what I said that I meant stats mean nearly everything?


    You haven’t even understood my argument.

    All I was saying was that your statement “stats have zero relevance” was ridiculous not the rest of your argument which is about 90% close to my opinion on Nani as well. If you hold onto your fingers a little longer, scroll and re-read my arguments you’ll see that I don’t hold as much faith in the ability of current statistical metrics to describe the game of football.

    The rest of your argument is essentially the same as mine.

  3. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 06:54

    @Red Ranter: “Holistic evaluation” Interesting terminology but basically what I have been trying to say in my usual long winded manner. Stats are only a small part of a bigger whole.

  4. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 06:56

    @Red Ranter: Haven’t got to him yet. I like him but I am not sure he suits my team over at OT. I have plans for Marin, Neuer, Kroos, Muller and Ozil elsewhere. They will be part of my Lyon style management of some German club like Moenchengladbach for example.

  5. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 06:59

    @Red Ranter: Yes you are right, I overreacted in that statement, they do have relevance, but other than striker’s goal rates and goalkeepers save percentage, they really are not as vital or as important as some may think. I’d say they are about 15% relevant. So yes, I was wrrrr, I was wrrr, I was incorrect to dismiss them entirely. 😀

  6. Red Ranter

    19 November 2009 at 07:06

    @Grognard: Nice to see you understand my point. Phew! 😀

    Anyway, this is a good article regarding stats and football — the comments are also pretty good for this. Have a read.

  7. Onkar

    19 November 2009 at 07:40

    @Grognard: I agree to large extent with your views as far as the numbers or statistics is concern. Even though I may not go to an extent in saying that the stats is useless in football i would like to say they are not that important and can be very misleading specially if you are looking at individual stats and ignoring team play as a whole.
    I mean I would like to take couple of examples here to put my point across. The first is Valencia. I know not many here are fan of the player. But, the truth is he won’t be as successful with united as he was Wigan (I know pretty small club) because of a simple fact that he is crosser of the ball. Old style by line winger who needs target man in the center attacking the front and the far post like Becks used to have. Then only he will be successful. If you will see him play and count the potentially dangerous crosses then I am sure he pretty much has them in range of 5-8 in every match. But, who do we have to attack those. None. Imagine our old Rudd would have received those Valencia would have end up being 3 assists a game player Buy of the Season. So, what it suggest that even if he doesn’t have any assists to show for (at least not many) thats not because his inability to put in a ball (all the time)but because of other factors. But the Stats can’t explain that. So gross conclusion is Valencia is Shit.
    Second example is based on someone Else’s argument that stats can be useful if judging the specific position like Striker. WRONG. As they may give you no of goals scored by that striker but will it explain how the overall team shaped up??? NO. The classic example is Rudd (Van the Man). In his time here he scored truckload of goals. But, what we won at his here nothing. Because, even when our striker scoring at unprecedented rate there were other factors like team play adn all which were hurt badly which was not getting reflected in the Stats,. The Stats were showing that he was a champion striker. (Which he still is and I just love him a lot, would have love to see him coming back for couple of mn then Mickey Owen, but alas…).
    So, all I want to say these are the two examples which point to extreme that one player is a shit while other was champion but both were not making to much difference to team play as such.
    All I am saying Stats in Game like FOOTBALL will only be useful when you are talking at Team level and not at individual level. Or else ask EVDS that how he managed to get that Statistical record for clean sheet. Was it his or for the entire defense… He will explain you what I want to say….

  8. Footy4Eddy

    19 November 2009 at 08:11

    @Grognard: Call me dellusional, but again I think you have misunderstood my point. This time conserning Anderson. Why do you think he is my favorite player? Why do you think I want him to play every game? Why do you think I get happy when he does seomthing well? Becuase, my dear friend, I actually consider Anderson a good player. You may say what you want, but in my mind Anderson has the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the game. Wouldnt I want one of our best players to start? Certanly ahead of Scholes… 🙄 He is young, and he is inconsistent. Its usual, even Ronaldo at his age was more incosistent than a teenage girl. But in Ronaldo we all saw some brilliance, we all knew he was destined for greatness. I see some of the same in Anderson, and I want him to play as many games as possible because it will onyl serve him and the team well. If he can become consistenly good he will be one of our top 3 most valuable players, believe you me. You may think otherwise, but I am certain of the fact that Ando will come great. 🙂 You just see, time will tell whether you are right or wrong. So we wont need Gourcuff, even though I would be delighted if we got him, because I think only Iniesta is a better AM than him. But I trust me boy Andy, and when the day comes I will stand here and say I was the one who supported him when everybody was against him. 😎 You just watch…

  9. Footy4Eddy

    19 November 2009 at 08:16

    @Grognard: If I get to Arsenal or United, then I will probably be too lucky. Trust me mate, Im optimistic but being so hopeful can be bad for you. I will consider the options I have, and even though Roma are a great club who will offer me a lot, I am wondering whehter they, or Italy for that matter, are suited for my style. Like I said, the way football is played in the Premier League and Bundesliga is more like me. Fast, strong, techincal… And usually defenders get the better of the 50/50 tackles. But we will see! 🙂

  10. Footy4Eddy

    19 November 2009 at 08:21

    @Onkar: I`ll sum it up with simple mathematics:

    Valencia+Nani+Rooney/Owen/Berbatov= 🙁 🙄 😡
    Valencia+Nani-Dzeko/Huntelaar= 🙁
    Valencia+Nani+Dzeko/Huntelaar= :mrgreen:


  11. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 08:35

    @Red Ranter: Am i frustrating you mate? 😉 😉 😆 😆 Hey, if it makes you feel better I often frustrate myself. If I could only control these multiple personalities in my head. 😀

  12. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 08:36

    @Onkar: Well thought out argument mate. I agree. Stats are a crutch in my book.

  13. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 08:37

    @Footy4Eddy: OK, you’re delusional. 😀 😀

  14. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 08:43

    @Footy4Eddy: Consider this. What made Cantona such a great player? He adapted to the British game but he brought his own style and continental approach to the game. I think learning what Italy has to offer would really benefit your game. It would beat going to a Hell hole like Spurs and being trained and coached by muppets. In the end it’s your life and you will make the decisions, but let it be said, Grognard at least offered you his opinion for what it’s worth.

  15. Dan

    19 November 2009 at 08:46

    Berbato is now the all time top goalscorer for bulgaria, and has the best strike rate internationally in the world. Bulgaria obviously know how to play him in the right system, why dont we?

  16. Grognard

    19 November 2009 at 08:50

    OK, so now I just added Philip Lahm to my FM10 team. What a day of business. Adler, Lahm, Gourcuff and Krasic and I am working on Di Maria. Man Lahm cost me 27 million pounds. Steep but worth it. Like real life Spurs are knocking on my door inquiring about Foster. I told Harry that I’d pay him to take him off of me. 😆 😆 Now I have to find a #3 keeper.

    And finally one last word before I go to bed. Thierry Henry is a fucking snake in a grass and king sized French prick job. Disgraceful and shameful. And then there are the blind referee and linesman and the incompetent Blatter who will do nothing about it. An entire nation is crushed and their dream destroyed by a Larry Biird pass to Magic Johnson for an easy layup. What a joke. And you wonder why my continent looks at the game as something for fags. 🙄

  17. Onkar

    19 November 2009 at 09:02

    @Footy4Eddy: Yeah… So simple.. People just keep on writing post after post and make it so complicated that you need a statistician to solve the dilemma….. 🙄
    But, yeah you are right, we need a target man who will attack the near post or far post on every given opportunity to make our wingers look better… 😎
    And I am sure that if that happens then the 4-4-2 will suit us even better…. 🙂

  18. Red Ranter

    19 November 2009 at 09:35

    Ok new post up. Not exactly United related, but bear with me.

  19. Onkar

    19 November 2009 at 09:38

    @Footy4Eddy: I know you are good to understand this bro that the technical ability and education has no substitute in any sport. I know you are better than me in knowing ins-outs of footy but being the Cricket player in my life and playing it for around 8-9 yrs untill the university level I have come across one fact that flamboyance, brilliance and charisma are fine. These differentiate from great players from good players but for that fundamental requirement is you should have good technique to be a good player. I always felt being player who batted all my life in one of the trickiest position that is No.3 that all the other things like confidence, form etc are temporary the only thing that last with all your life is your technique. So, if I want to put my per cent into it then I would say no matter which country you choose as it is your choice but the choose the place where you will come across coaches and coaching staff who will be technically well equipped to help you grow and be better player as whole.
    Remember one thing (I know you pretty much know it but still) solid technique has no substitute.

  20. Merlinus

    19 November 2009 at 11:25

    @EDDY: ANDERSON will win ballond’or one day!.. definitely.. He’s a genius on the lines of Ronaldo, Maradona :sad:, Pele,.. albeit a CAM…

    @GROGGY: Yeah, I’m all for getting the player who if trained properly can become Zizou’s Reincarnation!

  21. Jay wire

    19 November 2009 at 15:03

    Amazing. How then do people expect to look at whether a player was given enough opportunities without stats? Appearances is a statistic. Okay people help me out here. How else could you tell whether a player was given a fair shot relative to his teammates? How else can you prove a player’s productivity without looking at actual goals and assists? Everyone is willing to jump on about how many assists Berba had last season but if it’s Nani it’s always well he is crap for 89 min and for a split second he manages a half decent cross. Exaggeration of the highest order not least to say he doesn’t even play more than 70 min. But you can’t deny his productivity which is measured in no other way but by goals and assists. If anyone has any other means of measuring or assessing a winger’s productivity I’d be happy to know.

  22. Nukeleus

    20 November 2009 at 05:35

    @Grognard: what continent are you from??

  23. Manchester United

    25 November 2009 at 14:38


    Really liked ur simple mathematics.

    Care to take vectors into the equation? LOL!.. joking…

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