Date: 23rd July 2008 at 9:41am
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Newspapers are both abusers and abused. To listen to some footballing figures the newspapers are the founts of all misunderstandings about their clubs and players. Some players do have a more honest grip of what the media is all about as Gael Clichy demonstrated when interviewed by Arsenal magazine. “?Journalists have a job to do, and in my opinion, if you want to be in a newspaper you will be in a newspaper; if you don`t want to be, then you won`t be” he has said.

The veracity of stories distorted by the media is easier to check by seeking out the source of the stories, original interviews, magazine articles and the like. It is less easy to check the stories that are planted in the papers by players, agents and managers for their own ends. This summer, as much as any, has seen clubs shamelessly use the media to ‘tap up` players. The more cynical among us may even see Levys announcement to the press that he is lodging a complaint against United and Liverpool as using the media for his own ends. Possibly to speed up deals he wants to go through sooner rather than later at prices he is happy with so that he can use the funds before the transfer window shuts. Just conjecture of course but whether that`s the case or not why does he need to make it public? He can file a complaint with the FA and have it handled discreetly but presumably it suits him to use the publicity for his own ends.

Adebayor isn`t the only example of a player using the media to carry out contract negotiations with his club. He isn`t the only player to have miscalculated the extent to which he can use fans fears of team changes to try to put pressure on his club. He most definitely isn`t the only football figure to claim, like an indignant motorist caught for speeding, ‘It weren`t me guv`. That 99% of the newspaper stories were untrue without revealing which parts were true. The media will distort and manipulate what they are told but then don`t plant the seeds appears to be the message from our left back. Newspapers have a use in promoting certain causes but most contractual objectives are best served and secured in less public forums.

Gael is clear on the right way to deal with that “?For me being in a newspaper would be difficult because I don`t like that, I prefer to do things right and as calmly as possible”. He might even be seen as taking a swipe at certain players as he continues “?for other players it is different. If you want to stay you stay and if you want to go you go. When you are right in your head about what you want to do then it`s easy.”

Football fans complaining about the media are like sailors complaining about the sea – it goes with the job. But you would expect more industry professionals to show similar professionalism to that displayed by Clichy.

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