The papers telling it how it isn’t

The resurgent Liverpool side that beat Manchester United did so after dominating for large parts of the game, forcing Alex Ferguson to change formation four times. When the press wrote their reports for the following day’s papers the majority seemed to have been watching a different game. Alex Ferguson had also been watching a different game, under the delusion that Liverpool had only played for five minutes and basically got lucky. Alan Smith was practically booed off the pitch if you believe some reports and Gary Neville was the subject of unprovoked songs in his direction.

Today’s papers are a little more in keeping with reality, but it comes as no shock to see Liverpool treated this way by the media. Alex Ferguson seems to generally react to negative press comments by handed out bans to journalists and organisations involved, making press organisations nervous of criticising him.

At first it starts to feel quite frustrating how the press gloss over some facts and emphasise others to make them fit into the story they want to write. Certainly on issues of greater importance the press have proved that they don’t tell us what really happened, look at our “Don’t buy the Sun” link for a big example of that. For matters of less importance we no longer expect objective truthful reporting.

This site is clearly going to be biased towards Liverpool Football Club
– we can’t make it much clearer who we support. That’s not the case
with national newspapers, but maybe it’s time it was. The Sunday Times
carried a match report from the FA Cup match. After reading it I wanted
to see who the journalist was. Somebody-or-other Lovejoy, not an
antiques dealer but a person who has three books listed for sale on
Amazon, all football books. As well as a book about Sven Goran Erikkson
he also wrote (or co-wrote) the “autobiographies” of Ryan Giggs and
George Best.  If his article had been introduced as being written by
Manchester United fan Lovejoy then I’d have been able to accept it
better, but presented as an impartial report of events it smacked of
being highly misleading.

Lovejoy wasn’t the only one though, and no doubt there’s an element of
the press boys getting their heads together over ideas of how they will
interpret events. In the main, Alan Smith was applauded off the pitch
by the large majority of Liverpool fans. The mocking songs about how
John Arne Riise had injured him were sung before anyone at the ground
had really recognised how much pain Smith was in. Don’t forget
Liverpool have recently had to endure Arjen Robben’s diving and
play-acting, and initially the Liverpool fans didn’t realise Smith had
fallen awkwardly – most fans thought he was in pain but winded at
worst. The singing faded quickly and soon enough Smith got an ovation
from the nearly the whole stadium as he left the ground. Some
newspapers preferred to concentrate on the minority and gloss over the

Over-reaction to what was sung to Gary Neville was the next fact for
the papers to report on. Liverpool fans sang a song about Neville’s
relationship with his mother. Calling him something rap artists call
each other all the time, but without the actual same word being used.
Neville faces an FA hearing tomorrow over his celebration in the Old
Trafford league game last month, which followed on from his years of
anti-scouse comments in the media. There was never any need for him to
share his views on scousers with the rest of the world, comments which
would have seen him in much bigger trouble if he’d said it about
members of another race or people from another country. Once he said
all of those things he must have known he left himself open to hearing
songs he might not like, at the very least. And those songs were
extremely mild and in good taste compared to some that were being sung
by supporters in the lower tier of the Anfield Road end on Saturday.
That was populated by Manchester United supporters and a minority of
their fans were singing songs the majority of their fans would be
ashamed of. Unfortunately that lead to the singing of some songs that
most Liverpool fans are ashamed of in retaliation.

One newspaper article quoted comments from message boards as being
representative of Liverpool fans. It took what were no doubt comments
made in jest and reported them as being serious comments from deranged
fans. If the writer of that article takes message board comments at
face value then he’s best-off avoiding the internet for a few years
until he’s learned about sarcasm and humour. And he’d better avoid
certain Manchester United message-boards or else he’ll be writing about
the threats of serious violence being uttered against just about
everyone including their own club’s owners.

The fact is that both sets of fans were in the main singing songs that
were acceptable, in a way that is expected at what is essentially a
derby match. Both sets of fans, in the main, know where the line is
that shouldn’t be crossed. In this game, Liverpool were the better side
and deserved their win. They played some good football to take that
win, against a United side that has a serious midfield problem. Both
clubs have attracted an element of supporter that they’d rather not
have. Like every club in the country. It’s just a pity that the press
like to take the opportunity to have a swipe at Liverpool whenever they

Especially when their beloved Manchester United have just been beaten by Liverpool, and have only got a the Carling Cup to look forward to – the very trophy the Manchester United fans christened the “Mickey Mouse Cup”. And that’s why we aren’t as frustrated as usual about the press making the facts fit their story.