How much of what we read can we take to be true? I read with some concern the comments allegedly made by Sir Alex Ferguson last week when he talked about his belief that Dimitar Berbatov would become a Manchester United player. This was despite the fact that Tottenham had refused permission for Berbatov to leave.
How can he possibly have the nerve to use those sort of tactics after Manchester United had reported Real Madrid to Uefa for doing the exact same thing? I was amazed by Sir AlexÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s apparent hypocrisy. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was even more horrified and took the understandable action of reporting United and their manager to the Premier League.
Levy did not hold back with his opinions. “The public comments by Manchester United’s manager, announcing that he has made an offer for Dimitar and is confident that the deal will go through with time working in their favour, is a blatant example of sheer arrogance and interference with one of our players.”
He went on to accuse Fergie and co of total and utter hypocrisy. Well said Mr Levy, I thought, about time someone spoke out about this sort of thing.
Now, I read that Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he is surprised by what has happened because he has never said what was attributed to him in the newspaper report last week. He has said that he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know where the journalist involved got his quotes from but that it certainly wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t from him.
This leaves everybody in a state of confusion. We either have the leading manager in the English and, at the moment, European game, lying through his teeth in a terribly underhand way or we have a journalist simply making up comments and reporting them as being said by someone who had said no such thing.
Whilst there are many people with a low enough opinion of Sir Alex Ferguson to believe the worst in him and I am by no means his biggest fan, It is difficult to accept that he would have said such controversial and hypocritical things to a reporter and then deny saying them when they are reported.
Sir Alex can be called many things but stupid is very definitely not one of them. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see him scoring such a terrible own goal. If Daniel Levy has launched his personal attack on the Manchester United manager purely on an unsubstantiated and denied newspaper report then he should have perhaps acted with a little less haste and established his facts first.
So what else that we have read in the papers this summer has been true, and what hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t? We all base our opinions on players, managers and chairmen and presidents on what we read about them in the newspapers.
We have read no end of comments from Madrid about Ronaldo and from Ronaldo about his desire to move from Manchester United. The war of words coming out of Chelsea between Scolari and Lampard about his allegedly on and off move to Inter has been widely reported. Emmanuel Adebayor has given several conflicting and confusing interviews about whether he wishes to stay at Arsenal.
I could go on and on. From what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read I could say that Sir Alex Ferguson is a terrible hypocrite, Calderon at Madrid has been totally out of order, Ronaldo is a spoilt child, Scolari is a liar, Lampard is a money grabber and Adebayor is totally disloyal. All, some or none of those things may be true or maybe as far from the truth as they could possibly be. The fact is that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know any of those people and I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if the comments attributed to them have been taken totally out of context or have been totally made up.
I know that newspapers have to sell copies and nobody would read papers that say Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnothing bad happening, all deals being done privately, behind closed doors and with honesty and dignity.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
I just wish I could be a little more certain that what I am reading is loosely based on some sort of fact. If Sir Alex is being honest and he never said what he was quoted as saying then we are looking at the worst kind of journalism where the news is being made by the reporters rather than the journalists reporting the news about the people that we actually want to know about.
It is an old adage that you shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe everything you read in the newspapers but it is a sad state of affairs when we have reached the stage where unless you actually witness the person saying or doing what they alleged to have done, you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t totally believe anything at all.
On an even more serious note, with so much money and pressure involved at the very top of the game the false reporting of what someone has allegedly said could lead to major repercussions for individuals and Clubs.
If Fergie said what was reported then he was clearly in the wrong. If he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t then the whole issue of fictional reporting must be dealt with and stopped right now.
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