Ahmed beat me to it at Soccerlens, but I guess I independently thought of this. Therefore here it is.
For those who haven’t heard or read any of Mr. Taylor’s articles, this may come as something out of the blue. But the effects are there for a lot of people to see. While I am not an expert on matters pertaining to football — otherwise I would be paid loads for that — I can still tell the difference between something honestly written and something that’s being instantly pulled out of someone’s backside — to, presumably, meet a requirement, say, of one sensational story per week.
So while it is possible to give some leeway to a lot that is written by columnists these days, certain pieces, like the one written by Mr Taylor, is hard to stomach.
The piece in question, for those wondering, is titled: ‘Ferguson fears Â£17m recruit is a year off pace’. It’s obvious for us to expect, in an article with that sort of a title, some quotes from the manager expressing concern for Anderson’s form.
However, the only quotes that emanate from the article are those by John O’Shea, captain on the day, who had a generic statement to make on the young players as a whole. He said, “The lads know they should have done better. For some reason, the technique and ability we know these young players have just wasn’t there, which was a big disappointment.” But Taylor somehow construed this to be specifically aimed at Anderson — remarking that JOS had Anderson in his mind when he uttered those words. I am willing to take back my criticism if he is indeed endowed with psychic powers. I do, however, have a sneaky feeling that he isn’t quite as blessed with such faculties like mind reading.
But this wasn’t the worst part of the article. The worst was was said earlier in the article. I will quote it here:
Sir Alex Ferguson had angry words with the entire team after Wednesday’s Carling Cup defeat at home to Coventry City, but he was particularly aggrieved about Anderson’s ineffectual display and is concerned at how the new arrival is struggling to make a favourable impression.
[…]Anderson was one of the weaker players, often off the pace and, most disappointingly for his manager, showing little desire.
[…]Even stronger words were used in the dressing room and Anderson was not spared from the harshest criticism.
There were quite a few things wrong about the article — chief among them being conjecture. Mr. Taylor took the liberty of his imaginative self to somehow decide that Anderson had got the harshest criticism from the manager. A few harsh words may have been in order, no doubt. But for those of us who have observed the way SAF treats and shields his young players (remember Ronaldo and RvN?), singling out someone like Anderson would be the last thing on his mind.
The other thing that was wrong with the article was getting facts wrong. Or could it just be opinion? Now I couldn’t watch the game, as it wasn’t shown on the telly, so I had to rely on radio, and the words of the commentators, to get an idea of how our young lads were doing. From what they said, Anderson was one of the brighter spots in an otherwise toothless performance. So how the manager would single out Anderson is beyond me.
Thankfully, we had some quotes from the boss himself, which cleared things up and made me really want the Guardian to look for alternative Man United reporters. This is what SAF had to say about Anderson, among others, while talking about possible loan deals:
“Pique was excellent on Wednesday. He was our best player along with Anderson…
There. Simple as that isn’t it?
It’s quite possible that Taylor may have been pressurised by people above him looking to get something juicy out the Coventry loss. After all it’s quite advantageous, writing something as cooked-up as above, as it fetches more hits. But then, a respected site like the Guardian wouldn’t (or rather, shouldn’t) be too obsessed with hits, given they have a loyal reader base, that usually tends to believe what they write.
If those lofty reputations, built over the years, have to be adhered to then it won’t hurt to do away with some deadwood like Dan Taylor.
Unless, of course, they are really interested in churning out such pieces.
Update: I did a little more digging and found that he has written a book on Sir Alex Ferguson. Knowing this, it is even more worrying to see how little he seems to know about SAF despite having chronicled his life in much detail. SAF’s quotes and DT’s false assumptions have only left him red in the face, or so I would imagine.
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