Post-match interviews are invariably dull.
Players and managers are systematically wheeled out in front of the TV Camera to pick from a small range of stock phrases in a weird game of interview bingo. “The boy done good”, “Game of two halves”, “Focus on the next game”… Oh my god. House! House!
Let’s not forget that football is an entertainment. We pay massive sums to money to make it appear on our TV’s each weekend and try our hardest to stay awake for Saturday night Match Of The Day (a challenge I invariably fail at) because we want to be entertained.
So, thank the footballing gods for comedy duo Mourinho and Moyes.
I’m not for one moment trying to excuse David Moyes threats to “slap” a female reporter. His comments, all be it made in jest, were outdated, idiotic, chauvinistic and a telling sign of a sport that isn’t nearly as progressive as it should be but they were entertaining. I can’t be alone in being gripped by the released video, enthralled in the backlash and amused by the countless meme’s that sprung up in the aftermath? Watching the arguments erupting on social media between feminist commentators and Jim Davidson-types (one of whom was ACTUALLY Jim Davidson) about who was in the right and who was in the wrong was like watching my very own episode of Eastenders. If the writers were only allowed limited characters and so substituted proper arguments with poor grammar.
To be fair Sunderland in general are pretty good at offering up entertainment when it comes to managerial appointments. Paolo Di Canio was a crazy fascist, Sam Allardyce is fond of a good old English swearword and a good old English tabloid expose and now Moyes is apparently all for violence against women. It all sounds to me like they are gearing up for Donald Trump as the next Black Cats boss! Now, that really would make staying up to watch Gary Lineker and co worthwhile.
If we are going to put the same expectations onto managers as we do onto the game to keep us enthralled then surely the master of that craft is Jose Mourinho. He may not have threatened to give Garth Crooks a black eye because he asked the wrong questions (yet) but the Portuguese is still box office.
The Special One has been much criticised from all quarters for his moody post-match chats, his regular touchline fracas and his personal attacks on players but he is the one manager in the Premier League who’s interviews never get skipped in my household. You never know when there will be fireworks.
Forget his current talent of creating more draws than a carpenter working off a large gambling debt. He is making up for the boring on-pitch antics with his hard work in front of the camera. Take his recent assassination of Luke Shaw. Surely he can’t REALLY believe he is actually the brain inside Shaw’s body controlling his every move? He can’t think that his management of Manchester United is just one big game of Pro-Evo? Surely if he WAS going to take over the mind of a player he’d pick someone who really needs the help, like Phil Jones. Jose is giving the media what it wants. Sound-bites. Talking points. ENTERTAINMENT.
You can call it mind-games, you can call it distraction, but Jose knows the game and he plays the game better than anyone else. He is controlling what is written on the back pages of the papers and what it talked about on radio phone-in’s. He’s entertaining us.
Now, consider this. If managers are all about providing entertainment then which clubs off-field an-tics would you consider to be the most entertaining this season?
The pure anger shown by the fans on Arsenal TV at their exasperation with another failed season has been one of the highlights of the Premier League. If you ask a fan in 5 years time what they remember of the 2016/17 season it won’t be Andy Carroll’s overhead kick, Leicester City’s Cham-pions League run or Oliver Giroud’s scorpion goal. It will be some red-faced angry man shouting “Blud” from a YouTube screen.
Arsene Wenger said after his club’s 3-0 humiliation by Crystal Palace that he was just trying to “Make the fans happy” but he didn’t specify which fans. The defeat wrote another chapter of the footballing soap opera and gave the papers, TV Channels and internet forums another 7 days of hate, vitriol, jokes, banter and analysis.
I’m not saying that Arsenal’s destruction and Wenger’s catastrophic handling of his and clubs future is in any way deliberate… but f**k me it’s entertaining. Maybe Mr Wenger sees the bigger pitcher. The TV rights deals that ultimately pay his wages. Why just keep Arsenal fans happy when you can keep the rest of the football world happy? Like any true entertainer he is trying to reach the biggest audience that he possibly can. What’s more, you don’t need to be a football fan to enjoy the scenes at the Emirates right now. He turned his club’s season into cheap, easy to consume, unchallenging entertainment. Just like Britains got Talent or X-Factor.
Arsene Wenger is the Simon Cowell of football: taking Arsenal’s misery to the masses… Well, either that or he’s lost the plot. You decide… text now.
You can listen to Jim’s satirical football podcast directing the weeks football news here. New episode every Monday.