Media look, media stare

By strongbowholic, Mon 02 April 2012 17:09

Media look, media stare

It’s been an interesting few months being a Blue. We began going through a bit of a sticky patch but still gained points and at home have been imperious. Away, not so true as we try hard to get behind teams and get the points we need. Teams now set up to defend deep to prevent City the space to play anything like the decent football we saw at the start of the season. It has been a source of concern that we have failed to break teams down on a regular basis, but such is life challenging for the top and it’s a conundrum we have to solve.

What has been strange, for me at least and I’m sure a few of you out there, has been the reaction to Manchester City Football Club from the media. I know there are plenty of United fans amongst Fleet Street’s finest and the press are noted for building you up and knocking you down. Amongst the hacks, this is known as tall poppy syndrome yet bizarrely the press haven’t even given City the courtesy to grow and flower before unleashing the secateurs.

Patrick Vieira took a sharp stick and poked furiously at the hornets’ nest during the last couple of weeks and this has seen the Press Pack stung into action. Even just today as I write this (2nd April), there are numerous stories again of rifts, fights, improbable tests of character where Italians feign collapse, contract renewals and Jose Mourinho taking over. Laughably, Edin Dzeko has been labelled a £27 million flop at City – despite scoring 18 goals this season (and curiously, no mention of Messrs Torres and Carroll).

City have essentially become the sports writers’ equivalent of Chris Jeffries.

Never in the history of the game has a team been so vilified in the press. I have hunted high and low and can find no tales of City taking money out of orphanages or slaughtering kittens and puppies at will (although with Mario about, I’m sure those stories are no doubt being prepared). Is it fear? Is it Islamaphobia? Is it jealousy? Only they can answer in earnest.

Television has jumped on the City bashing bandwagon too. Alan Hansen has oft cut a demented figure of righteous indignation at how City have performed. Paul Merson sinks his false teeth into us with both relish and monotonous regularity. Phil Thompson sneers down the long nose of Scouse ‘izztree’ when talking about us. Martin Tyler regularly works himself to furious orgasm as whatever team grabs a goal against us as countless, repetitive dull stats are trotted out, couched in trite clichés of how Peter Crouch has a nice touch for a big bloke. I find rather than enhancing the live-game-on-tv experience it is more a case of treating the viewer as an imbecile. The single most important qualification of the TV commentator is, to paraphrase Basil Fawlty, to state the bleeding obvious.

The only thing worse than all that is listening to perfectly reasonable and normally rational people trotting out, almost verbatim, the same claptrap in the pub, at the game or even in general conversation. Saturation coverage of the beautiful game has led to a real dumbing down and a dearth of intelligent debate.

If ever there was a time journalists need to behave impartially and scrupulously, now is it. Sadly, I can see no Swiss Ramble, or some such, on the horizon to elevate the standards of a profession so thoroughly in disrepute.