Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Press Coverage or Press Cover-Up

It would be best if I could avoid writing about football. Unfortunately, it is not always possible. For those not in the know – which probably represents the vast majority of the populace – Norwich City FC finally agreed to sell their most valuable asset, Mr Dean Ashton, to West Ham United this week – for 7 million and a bit. Fine, but now the press frenzy is on the find some replacements for the team - with all that lovely money fuelling press speculation.

Of course, this has led to letters of dismay to the local papers from outraged fans. I make no comment regarding the wisdom of this sale. What surprises and confuses me is the kind of press reports we have suffered as the club attempt to mollify fans' criticism. It only confirms my “belief” that the people who write local football reports are either very poor journalists or in the pay of the club.

This evening ,Rick Waghorn of the Eastern Evening News was, apparently, so moved by the latest exciting developments in the transfer market as to produce this headline and sub: Canaries pull off a double loan swoop – Transfer raid – Johansson and Rehman set to report for City duty against table-toppers. In other words – leaving out what most people might assume was the important, sad fact that the local team is not actually doing very well and can find no other use for the 7 million received from the sale of Mr Ashton, Mr Waghorn can still manage an upbeat, hyperbolic headline to describe what is really a non-news story. Why?

While the football authorities are frantically running around trying to quieten speculation about illegal payments to players, agents, et. al., perhaps someone would like to find out how many journalists are also in hock to their local team? I can't for the life of me think why we would be so ill-served by the press unless they were receiving a nice bung for their lack of insight. Someone please explain!

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