Am I alone in becoming deeply frustrated by the media's coverage of sport, particularly football? Never a day goes by without another sensational story, 'Gary Neville launches attack on Tevez', 'Ruud van Nistelrooy is definite for Spurs, 'Hiddink on the move to Liverpool'. Let's look at the reality of those: Neville was asked by The Times of Malta whether he thought Ferguson should have ensured that Tevez stayed at Man Utd - was Neville really going to say "The gaffer screwed up'? Of course not, but boost it up, omit the fact that his comment was in answer to a specific question and 'Bingo!', big story. Except that it was a story manufactured by the Press.................as for Ruud, he was so definite for Spurs that he's signed for Hamburg. Hiddink? His agent says there have been no talks with Liverpool, in fact with anyone, as Hiddink is determined to stay with Russia until after the World Cup.
An unfortunate effect of the media fanning the Tevez/Neville flames is that GMP are now anticipating major trouble, at Wednesday's Carling Cup match between Man Utd and Man City, so are hugely increasing the number of officers covering the match. Which will, in itself, encourage certain mindless morons to see it as a challenge. A few short years ago, Neville wouldn't have been in contact with The Times of Malta and we wouldn't have had a clue what Tevez had said to some radio station in Brazil, even assuming that he would have been interviewed by them about events in the English league.
As for the totally untrue stories, do the papers publish apologies when it's clear that they were wrong? Of course not, they're too busy writing the next speculative story. In some cases, the original (and wrong) story has been deleted from their website, leaving you to wonder if you imagined it.
So has the era of the web encouraged irresponsible journalism? Has the pressure to supply endless copy 24 hours a day, to keep ahead of the specialist sports websites and bloggers, caused the escalation of disposable, and quickly disposed of, stories?