I never normally write any long posts, blogs or articles, but I felt this need to be said. I noticed maybe a month or so into Mark Warburton’s reign at Ibrox a small nattering of the words 'respectful', 'with respect' etc, in regards to comments made by our gaffer. Essentially small jibes made for his over use of the same words/phrases. This started with one or two journalists but has spread amongst quite a few now in the Scottish media. You can see a few recent examples below:
Now, I’m sure they all believe it is just a “bit of banter” but to me it comes across as mockery: poking fun at a man who is trying to put his point across without trying to be misquoted or his tone being misjudged. Basically he wants to put his point across fairly - without having tit-for-tat arguments with other managers whilst avoiding having his face splashed over every back page. As he repeats constantly: it’s all about his players and Rangers Football Club, along with the product on the pitch.
Indeed, I fully believe if he could take a back-seat to all media responsibilities he would (I’m sure most managers would) and let the talking be done purely on the pitch. But unfortunately that isn’t the case and he has to endure press conference after press conference before every match. The journalists enter and sit down, the same motley crew as every other week, the manager enters and the player of choice afterwards (no doubt drawing the short straw), and they ask around 90% of the same questions - over and over again, with other generic, low quality 'debate' thrown in along with it. The usual over-reaction to other players/managers making comments about Rangers, a tedious transfer link, the generic attempt to create a mountain out of that week's molehill!
From week one Warburton has given the same courteous answers every time to avoid such petty controversies. Instead of taking heed of this sensible behaviour, knowing that he won’t be drawn into answering such questions, they are asked again and again and again - hoping for a different outcome. Quite simply the pot is stirred to try and create a controversy that usually just isn't there. Superficial doesn't begin to describe it.
Of course this is obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. No matter, instead of taking this on board and going back to their office to think of intriguing, thought-provoking questions to ask our clearly learned manager, they prefer to lampoon him in the social media playground - not realising it's them that look ridiculous. Furthermore, it's not as if their own profession is at the peak of its game...
Obviously, I feel a bit sorry for Mark. Clearly he tries his best to accommodate these people without jeopardising his own professionalism. It’s a tough ask especially in the Glasgow goldfish bowl (and he's certainly not perfect) but, to Rangers fans at least, his attitude is refreshing and it's only when he features more widely in English media that he's given the, well, respect, he deserves.
At this juncture, one wonders why we bother with press conferences at all? Let's see how these struggling newspapers deal with the Rangers press officer giving news of current line up and injuries instead of a clever, modern manager. If only…
To conclude, they often ask it of managers and players but I think on this occasion, it's time to ask the Scottish journalists to up their game!
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