I was going to ignore the report by the Daily Star when I read it the other night, as to be honest it was that daft I thought the best response would be to forget it.
But sadly yesterday those in the sports media world proved the phrase "football journalist" really is an oxymoron as everyone and their dog have jumped on the story, rearranged the words a bit and come up with new catchy headlines without actually checking the substance of the claims made, like Sky who go with "Houllier U-turn For Krulak" but back to Sky later.
The Star 'story' (and you'll see it is a story in the truest sense) leads with the headline:
"Aston Villa Director General's Changed His Tune On Gerard Houllier."
The hook is imaginatively:
"Randy Lerner's right hand man has performed a U-turn by hailing Gerard Houllier - less than a week after infuriating the Aston Villa boss."
Sounds good doesn't it, very juicy. So what's it based on:
"Director General Charles Kruluk posted on a web forum that he could not defend Houllier's Liverpool love in on his return to Anfield last Monday."
Well the General only posts on three websites, and Vital Villa is one of them. To the best of my knowledge his forum post dealing with the Anfield nonsense are identical on each site.
"But Krulak changed his tune yesterday singing the Frenchman's praises."
The Star justifies this angle seemingly by the point that the General "could not defend Houllier's Liverpool love in" and offers the following for his U-turn:
"I can promise you that our expectations and desire to move forward are as strong, if not stronger, than ever...But we have a superb manager who is working hard to get us where we all want to be."
Now on the face of it maybe it's an understandable position although at no point do we find out how or why Houllier was apparently infuriated by the General's comments. I hazard my uneducated guess was the Press Conference with the BBC where GH commented that he was aware that the General had spoken to fans, but his words and the fact he also commented he would be shaking the General's hand next time they met, and that it wasn't a problem hardly strikes you as the behaviour of somebody who is infuriated.
But moving on, unfortunately, you have to question the research undertaken to verify the story and the proposed angle. Which really shouldn't be the case given the Star have obviously also read the General's full forum post because they quote sections from it here way back on December 9th.
I say this simply because if the angle is correct and the General said he could not defend Houllier, and then made such a major u-turn by calling Houllier superb, then why did he actually say:
"I am not going to try to minimize what he said...make excuses...or anything else. There is no denying what he said...it is there for all to see.
"What I don't know, as I indicated, is what was going thru his mind at the time...and neither does anyone else. What I DO KNOW is that what he put forth in his statement that was put out yesterday is far closer to the reality of how he feels.
"What I am saying is simply that I think I know how he feels about our Club and it is exactly what you would want him to feel. Again, I am just not in a position to talk about what GH was feeling when he walked into the Liverpool stadium. I only know what I have seen and heard as he has worked hard for our Club.
"Those who are seeking GH's head...who are asking that he be fired...have the right to feel that way...they pay for their tickets and can say what they want.
"At the same time, Randy and the Board need to keep focused on the overall goal...and we believe that GH is key to achieving that goal. His statement made it very clear that "building lasting success at Aston Villa" is his goal...and it is our goal too!"
So unless I've missed a major revisement of the word 'u-turn' and the implications it carries, I fail to see how the General saying on December 8th that the club believe GH is key to achieving the Board's goals, and then saying on December 14th that Houllier is a superb manager would in anyway under the English language constitute a 'u-turn'.
Add to that the fact the General did not say "he could not defend Houllier" given he actually said that fans "can say what they want" which is a bit different. I can only believe the tabloid press are again simply ignoring accuracy and ethics as they pertain to conveying a fair, accurate and balanced report of an event in order to simply tick the 'sensationalise and sod it' box.
Not like they really care is it, we are only Aston Villa.
If the General's comments had been read in context and in full (as opposed to cherry picking which parts of a sentance you think would make a more controversial story) I genuinely fail to see how anybody with a grasp of our fine language could conjugate the belief of a 'u-turn' from the two statements given.
But then, at least the Star (despite ignoring/contradicting their own reports) had the sense to look at the live web chat the General conducted a few days ago - Please Click Here to view the full webchat - unlike the previously referenced Sky report which seems to think the General gave an exclusive interview to the Star, although again given Sky's coverage of the General's comments on the forum you have to worry why the 'u-turn' element didn't click even if it was a deliberate invention by the Star - especially as in the Sky report they actually link to their coverage of the forum quotes so they saw them in context and in full to begin with so knew the General could not have possibly have made any kind of u-turn here.
I don't know, maybe the Christmas cheer has started early or maybe I should know better by now when it comes to the media?
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