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Tony X' Says "We'll bounce back"

By Mark Burke



Just read an article with a promising young player interviewed after a defeat.  

His team had been well beaten and the player was asked about the spirit in the squad after the game and his thoughts on the next upcoming game.  

Now I have always defended players when people say they are stupid, talk in cliches etc etc and I have countered with the argument that the questions are also sometimes leading, stupid AND cliched.   

This 'interview' was fantastic in the sense that in around 300 words absolutely nothing is said!  

The issues have been sidestepped and it seems that the youngster, by some kind of football osmosis, has learned well from his fellow older pros.  

This prompted me look at articles and interviews with players in general and it struck me that 'Nothing' is ever really said. Questions are body swerved, criticisms are volleyed away and enquiries tipped around the post. The politics of football mean that players and managers can never say exactly how they feel, as much as you can't tell your Boss that you don't like him and he has bad breath.    

For players and managers in these modern times where every  sentence travels the world in a nano second, the post match interviews are a vital part of the game.  

Its fun to think about what a player might have said after a game. First the standard response and then what he might be thinking but never dare to say"...................

A disappointing defeat 'Tony', how are you feeling?    The reporter asks, his brain switching to search mode as he awaits the response, searching for the one quote that will make his interview.  

"Well, we came here full of hope, we had prepared well and obviously we are disappointed it didn't go our way"  

"Any message for the fans who travelled down on a cold Tuesday night?"   

"Yes we really appreciated their support tonight, it means a lot to us and we will be hoping to repay their faith in the next game".

"What will you be working on to put it right for Saturday?  

"We will have a chat about it, get back on the training ground and try to put things right as a team and start pulling together"  

"Do you think you can bounce back this weekend"?  

"Oh yes, we will pick ourselves up and move on and hopefully get the right result.  

"Ok thanks Tony"      

Right then what shall we use?' The journalist picks thoughts ought to find the resultant interesting headline article.  

Resulting headline:         

'Tony X' says City ready to bounce back'  

Predictable, dull and very uninspiring. But when you see what 'Tony' could have said and the headlines and story you'll understand why players give these type and style of answers.  

A disappointing defeat 'Tony', how are you feeling?    

"Not too bad actually, I thought I played well, I know we lost but I'm coming up for a new contract soon so I think I did myself a few favours tonight". 

"Any message for the fans who travelled down on a cold Tuesday night"?  

" Yes, why didn't you watch it on the telly? Nice and warm, free and you could be in bed half an hour later, they should use their heads more really and pick the games we've got a chance of winning, so it's their own fault really. Maybe they should get a refund, obviously from the club and not the players".

"What will you be working on to put it right for Saturday?"

"Don't know really, it's up to the gaffer, traunings been a bit boring  lately and the lads are getting sick of doing the same thing every day but we just get on with it because we are usually finished by 12.30, so you can't moan too much. We'll either have a day off tomorrow or come in for a jog and a stretch, the gaffer will probably give us another bollocking, he's been a real moody git lately, I suppose because we keep losing but it doesn't help if he keeps screaming at us does it? I mean we're doing our best. It's important I keep my head down so he doesn't say anything to me, what with my new contract and everything.   On Thursday well have a light session, just the same as last week really and then keep our fingers crossed that it goes better on Saturday"

"Do you think you can bounce back this weekend?"  

"Dunno really, The way we are playing I wouldn't put my mortgage on it, were not playing well at all are we? Confidence is really low, the gaffer is really doing everybody's head in with his non stop moaning and a few of the lads have had enough of him.   I reckon a few more bad results and he could be gone, a lot of the lads would be quite happy with that.   I just want my new contract sorted then I'm not really bothered who the gaffer is.  

Headline:   'Tony' X: I'm not bothered if we lose again Saturday, a lot of the lads are sick of the gaffer and some of them hope he gets the sack, I'm not bothered either way as long as I get my new contract.   'Tony X', 25, said yesterday...................