I don’t like to criticise my own team’s fans, but sometimes I wonder just how clueless some people are these days. Maybe it’s the fact that online media now makes it easy to come out and give your opinion and hide behind online anonymity; or maybe it’s down to the fact that too many people are so easily influenced by the headline and first paragraph, but people really need to either a) learn to put things in context or b) form their opinion only after actually seeing interviews for themselves (or at least reading the entire article).
Here is the particular part of the interview that people are really complaining about:
“But selfishly I hope it is a narrow win for us and I play no part in the winning goal.”
ESPN had the following headline:
Bellamy finds loyalties split
Then they had the following first paragraph:
“Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy will find himself in an odd position in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, whereby a win for either side will leave him with a smile on his face.”
Now they usually say that most readers form an opinion as soon as they read the headline. That’s true, as when you read a headline you’re going to decide whether to read the article or move on. This is even more true online where a website might have 30 headlines on the same page for you to click on. They then say that a large percentage of those that read an article lose interest after the first paragraph. Now in a paper you would read that and move on. When it comes to online, people will read that (and the headline); form an opinion and go and post that opinion online, then most move on and think nothing of it. After all, they read what they needed to, they don’t need to read any counter argument as they made their informed opinion.
You have to wait until the 3rd paragraph to actually get to the real reporting of what happened:
“The Wales international is of course firmly hoping he will taste the champagne with his Liverpool team-mates at the end of the match at Wembley, but he hopes defeat will prove to be a positive in the long term for a Cardiff side desperate to earn a place in the Premier League alongside arch rivals Swansea City.”
By that stage most have finished with the reading at the first paragraph, even more left by the time the second paragraph (which explain’s Bellamy’s playing history; albeit briefly). Maybe a few make it through the actual article, and those are then left with an abrupt end to the interview with the last sentence being the one above.
If you read the Wales Online article you’ll see that the interview went on a bit longer, however, ESPN, in their infinite wisdom (and clear attempts at forming people’s opinions as opposed to reporting the truth) decided that the key part was done. It also of course helps make sure that the last part the reader reads is the bit where Bellamy confirms that he won’t score the winner (or at least that’s what they’d like us to believe).
Of course this is the written word, and it’s very easy to miss the nuance of emotion when you’re reading something. There is no mention of whether Craig was completely serious and straight faced as he said this or whether he was actually smirking or even possibly laughing at this stage. Even if he was straight faced, it’s highly unlikely that he meant that should he be presented with the opportunity to score the winner with 1 minute left on the clock that he would turn his back, and moon the Liverpool fans whilst running to celebrate with the Cardiff bench.
If you read the whole interview this is nothing more than a man being respectful for the team he supported as a kid, for a team that respected him when he played for them, and for a team that has reached a cup final with vastly limited resources, especially when compared to those of Liverpool. Craig has been respectful for Cardiff ever since he was interviewed after the Man City game. Let’s not forget, it was indeed Craig Bellamy who scored that final goal versus Man City, the goal that ensured we went through to the final and not Man City, who were in fact ahead at that stage on away goals.
Let’s imagine for a minute I was reporting on an event from Henry V. Let’s imagine that having heard the speech I decided to come back to my ESPN desk and put up the following story:
Henry V Bored Of Fighting
In as speech to his troops last night, Henry V spoke of his reluctance to fight again.
Henry V has fought a number of fights with his troops throughout history, and this time he faced his troops before fighting France again.
Henry V did, however, go on to rally his troops.
He told his troops, “once more unto the breach”
Of course if you know anything about the play or maybe you saw the movie, you’ll know that wasn’t the end of the scene, nor was it really a fair reflection of what ends up being said.
I have no doubt in my mind that should Bellamy play he will give 100 percent, as he always has done not just in a Liverpool shirt but for any team Craig has played for. I perhaps don’t expect him to go mental should he score a goal, but that’s fair enough. What odds now on Bellamy scoring the winner I wonder?