Today’s reflection is on those occasions when a “news story” is presented in terms that are really the direct opposite of news. Monsieur Salut draws on hundreds of years of experience to discuss a classic example.
Cuellar confident O’Shea partnership can be a hit
That was what a tweet from the Shields Gazette‘s cricket-playing Sunderland AFC reporter Gary Foster said.
And the quote from Carlos Cuellar, for whom Salut! Sunderland has developed a great deal of admiration during his early displays, fully supported the headline. Cuellar told Graeme Anderson, Gary’s colleague at the Gazette’s sister paper, the Sunderland Echo …
I played with John a few times in pre-season and we have started pretty well in the league. We feel confident, we have good communication with each other and I think we feel comfortable to play together.
I think a lot of that is because we are experienced players and so we know what it needs for things to work. It takes time to build partnerships and we are still learning about each other and how we play. But I think we know what we are doing, and we know what we have to pick up on and improve on.
Sunderland fans will hope he is right. Cuellar and O’Shea in the middle of the defence certainly seems to be Martin O’Neill’s soundest combination.
This is not a case of taking a pop at Gary. The Evening Chron is running a similar headline. The Gazette and Echo both do decent jobs covering SAFC. And M Salut has been around for so long that he is bound to have been just as guilty on occasion.
But is it news at all when a footballer says his role in a team could be a success? Surely the real news story would be if he said the opposite, namely “I have great doubts about the prospects for this pairing. We could be in for a few hammerings”.
To quote a player saying what Cuellar said is fine somewhere in the body of a proper story but the headline’s proclamation is straight from the “Boss backs Roy of the Rovers to succeed” school of sports journalism. How the heck was this boss, who may be imaginary but has real-life equivalents who pop up every week in print, on the air and online, supposed to reply when asked how he saw young Roy’s future? “I should never have bought him. He’s rubbish”?
Maybe I am nitpicking. But if I am, then it says a lot about our low expectations.