The Groundsman’s Shed

Avram Grant: No More Mr. Nice Guy by groundsman

I just want to say one thing:


Today London journos may be befuddled and set upon bemoaning a man they’ve bullied since he first darkened Chelsea’s door, because on Thursday- he finally struck back.  In a terse and fairly monosyllabic exchange following his club’s win over Everton, he left behind the good humor in favor of playing a different kind of game.  No ranting, no fuming, no twistable soundbites- just yes or no.

You can read it here. 

It’s the understatement of the century to note that Grant isn’t the first or the last manager to fall victim to the press, but it is nice to see him with a bit of backbone- whether it’s because he’s pretty sure he’ll be sacked at season’s end and doesn’t want to pretend to be kind to these people anymore, or whether he really was just upset at newspaper headlines following the weekend draw with Wigan.

While some bruised egos are nursed and revenge is being plotted, I’d like to draw your attention to some of my other favorite “manager-eschews-Media Relations 101” pressers:

5. ‘arry Redknapp “No wonder ‘ees in the FACKING reserves.” – This has swearing, desperation, an angry outburst, and an unfortunate example of football ineptitude all rolled into one.  Imagine being the poor lad who hit the boss at that moment.  Well, any moment really.  

4.  Christian Gross’ First Presser(1997)– Avram Grant needs to have a talk with this man.  Talk about a foreign manager who was quite simply broken to pieces by the media! As much as I like an underdog (note: his results as manager of Tottenham were not bad considering their position), I have to admit that interview was great.  He came to the ground by train.  He’s excited.  No one else is the least bit impressed.  He looks rather crestfallen.  He repeated that expression for next nine months, then departed in hailstorm of terrible press.

3.  John Sitton “And you can bring your [effing] dinner!”– This isn’t an interview, it was part of a documentary, but again- it’s refreshing to see a manager let it all out.  This goes under the Dave Chappelle Show category of “When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong”.

2. Kevin Keegan(1996) “I will luv it.” – This is cheap/obvious, and I know it is- which is the only reason why it’s not #1.   The man got angry, and admirably in this age of managers with PR flacks, he let everyone know his true feelings.  Sadly, it all came to nowt in the end- but if he’d beaten Fergie as he’d liked, that little “rant” would be known as an “inspirational speech”. 

1. Jose Mourinho “Why you not ask?” –   There are just so many outlandish statements, adorable facial expressions, sudden changes of temper- no wonder he was every journos torturous man-crush.  It was hard to pick a favorite, so I went with this one, where he doesn’t give the press his team lineup.  The awkward laughter petering off to bewildered silence at the end is priceless.

[Photo: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis]


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