This week an interesting football match broke out in Scotland! The final Old Firm game of the season was expected to be a strange affair and surely it was -- strangely full of decent attacking football and strings of passes from both teams. Maybe the lack of meaning in the game allowed football to emerge instead of the usual frenzy.
It was also notable, after the fact, for an outburst of plain speaking from the two managers. Wily Walter Smith raged against Celtic’s Andreas Hinkel’s pre-match comments (“He should ask himself if he is proud of the way they have played over the last few seasons”) while Neil Lennon retorted that it is not Smith’s place to criticise Celtic players -- that’s his job.
This makes me wonder. Why don’t football people speak the truth more often instead of the usual facile platitudes?
I can think of a handful of footballing people who give good quote: Mourinho, Ferguson, Strachan, Holloway. Wenger’s recent Playstation football comparison for Lionel Messi was genius. Cantona’s quote, the title of this article, has achieved cult status. But interview most managers and almost any player and you get blandness on a Michael Owen scale: at the end of the day, it’s all about putting the ball in the net, the players are 100% behind the manager, blah blah blah.