Tuesday, 23 December 2008


It wasn't just on the pitch where Sam Allardyce made a difference at his first game as manager of Blackburn Rovers. There was a distinct change of atmosphere in the media room too.
I was at Ewood Park a few weeks ago to see Blackburn play Sunderland. After the game, Paul Ince arrived in the media theatre for his post-match conference. A reporter from local radio started off with a series of questions. When he finished, Ince got up and departed, leaving the newspaper reporters stunned. They hadn't been given the opportunity to ask a single question.
This was typical of Ince's approach to the media. He didn't seem interested in working to the usual system and almost went out of his way to alienate reporters.
Allardyce, on the other hand, enjoys his media opportunities and will usually find time to deal with the different demands of daily and Sunday press, local and national radio, as well as TV.
This of course matters to the reporters because it enables them to do a decent job. It ought to matter to the managers too, because there's little point in antagonising influential observers. They never know when they might need an ally. But when results went against Paul Ince and the confidence of players and fans evaporated, there were few members of the press campaigning for him to be given more time.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Echoes of the Past

We all know that newspapers are having a hard time. It was well and truly brought home to me a couple of days ago when my old paper the Liverpool Echo announcd that 43 editorial jobs are being axed from a total of 173. Many of the journalists affected were there when I was on the Echo in the 1970s and early 1980s. They've devoted a lifetime of service to the paper and its stablemate the Daily Post. The knowledge, experience and affection which they've brought to bear on the papers' coverage of a very special part of the world is incalculable. Those qualities will be impossible to replicate once this cull is over.
I also heard that all the journalists have already been issued with redundancy notices and have been told to re-apply for their own jobs - knowing that 43 will be unsuccessful.
All this follows an equally controversial decision by the paper to move its printing operation out of Old Hall Street to Oldham.
In any other industry, one could expect the local paper to be championing the cause of the unfortunate workers. But who will be campaigning against the Post and Echo management? Who delivers messages for the messenger?