Home Estate Planning Ed Warner: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool resignation shows the monster has to be fed

Ed Warner: Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool resignation shows the monster has to be fed

0 comment

The ululations emanating from Anfield have amused fans of other clubs, but the media amplification of Jurgen Klopp’s resignation at Liverpool should not bemuse us.

Data, we are told, will drive the club’s search for a replacement manager, just as data determines what sport we can read about these days. No mind that, to steal from Gag Halfrunt in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Jurgen’s just zis guy, you know?”.

Four major trophies in Klopp’s nine years leaves Liverpool tied with both Manchester United and Chelsea and trailing Manchester City’s 13 over the same period. Where the stories of the first two have been the sacking of managers in times of disappointment – or even, in the case of Louis van Gaal, immediately after winning a trophy – Liverpool and City have both been able to spin personality and continuity.

Like many, I’m sure, I’ve been sucked into the media wailing and gnashing of teeth this past week in spite of my best intentions. One quote from Klopp stands out to accompany the hollow-eyed photos of him that have accompanied journalists’ screeds of text: “I had six press conferences a week for nine years. I can’t wait for a moment when I don’t have to do that.”

The monster has to be fed. We, the public, are that monster. Whether we are fed what we truly want or end up simply eating what we are given is altogether moot.

I’m a sports fan with eclectic tastes, football among them. I’ve watched with dismay the shrinking diversity of sporting coverage in the mainstream media. Two or three journalists will attend single matches for the same newspaper. Multiply their words by those devoted to pre-match pressers, profile pieces, transfer speculation and the dissection of clubs’ ambitions and crises, and you can see how football has cornered the media market.

A piece in The Times this month bemoaned the ubiquity of Premier League coverage. His focus was too narrow though. It is football more widely that is sucking oxygen away from other sports. The women’s game has exacerbated the problem for the have-nots. It is evident that the men’s game has ceded no column inches to the women’s. Tertiary sports are the ones that have suffered.

My own appetites are symptomatic of the problem. If, like me, a majority of sports fans follow football but their other tastes are minority ones, then the aggregation of the public’s interests will point to an apparent demand for a lot of football coverage and little of anything else. If we all liked, say, taekwondo and bowls, then these would both command media attention.

As it is, there is a pretty tight list of sports whose supporter base necessitates some coverage, and a much longer list of those who must simply be grateful for any they can wangle.

This column enjoys a spike in readership whenever it leads on a big football controversy, even if my insights might simply be those of an analytical observer. I’ve no commercial imperative to dance to football’s PR tune. How different that would be, though, if money was at stake.

A two-page profile piece with darts prodigy Luke Littler at the weekend brought this into stark focus, in which he cited his newly-acquired 1.1m Instagram followers.

“He looked confused when I ask if he knows much about Emma Raducanu. ‘No,’ Littler says in a way which makes it clear he has never heard of her…. ‘Didn’t she reach out to you?’ Littler is nonplussed again.”

Donald McRae, The Guardian

The interviewer makes clear that the young tennis star had been asked about Littler in a press conference. We should all take a step back and question why, on our behalf, a tennis correspondent should have asked Raducanu about darts, and why she should be expected to have a view, let alone to say (if she did indeed do so) that she would be in contact with Littler. Or is this simply feeding our own monstrous appetites?

Yeah but, no but

“In 2017 we had a congress, and I proposed term limits which came into the statutes. But the wording was so unclear that de facto we didn’t have term limits, because after every change of the statutes any previously served terms wouldn’t count. I didn’t know that at the time. But that was done without the approval of congress, which is obligatory, and without approval from any other Uefa organ, which makes the provision invalid.”

Aleksandr Ceferin makes it clear as mud in The Observer why he might yet serve more than eight years as Uefa president. Read him and fume here.

It ain’t over until…

If like me you enjoyed some VAR-less FA Cup football at the weekend, you’ll be chilled by the news that a Belgian game is to be replayed because of a VAR error. I could point you to a number of different explanations, but Jürgen Klopp is mentioned in one I found, so in the interests of circularity here it is.

Reports of death greatly exaggerated

Within a few hours the West Indies had won their first test in Australia in almost three decades and England staged a record recovery to triumph in India. Red ball cricket dead? Not just yet. 

Not many at the Gabba to see Shamar Joseph’s historic seven-for, though, and plenty of tickets still on sale for England v the Windies this summer.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?