Weekend rumours reveal both sides of media coin

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    Frank Lowy will step down as FFA chairman in November. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    This is a brave new world for media practitioners and that was no better illustrated than by the reaction on Friday to speculation which linked David Beckham with a move to the A-League.

    The first I heard of the story was on Friday morning when several Tweets from a variety of media outlets advised that Football Federation Australia would make a major announcement at 2pm.

    I was preoccupied at that hour, so it wasn’t until late afternoon that I saw Beckham’s name plastered over every major news outlet online.

    Several prominent names were soon talking up Beckham’s chances of moving to the A-League, including new FFA chief David Gallop.

    Much as I’d love to see Beckham in Australia, I can’t vouch for the veracity of the rumours because I simply don’t possess the contacts to confirm whether or not they’re true.

    But judging by his bemused reaction when the question was put to him at an LA Galaxy news conference, one glance at Beckham’s body language suggests the rumours may have been little more than fantasy.

    That didn’t stop Gallop from keeping Beckham’s name in the headlines by stating on Fox Sports that he’d spoken to his agent to say “it would be fantastic” if the former England star enjoyed a stint Down Under.

    It certainly would be fantastic, just as it would be fascinating to note whether such a deal emerged because of the sheer weight of media interest.

    It’s hard to know whether Gallop was being naïve or shrewd by keeping Beckham’s name in the headlines.

    But one thing is certain: virtually every news outlet in the country ran with stories about Beckham’s ‘interest’ in the A-League despite no discernible attempt to verify whether or not it was genuine.

    Only commentator Simon Hill – one of the best-connected journalists in the business – admitted on Fox Sports News to making some phone calls to try and uncover the story.

    The reason for that should be obvious – in the online world, no news outlet can afford not to run a story published elsewhere.

    Immediacy is paramount, so even the websites of major newspapers – once afforded the luxury of thorough research before their copy appeared in the morning edition – now often base reports on hard-to-verify Twitter rumours or otherwise react to what has been published elsewhere.

    Which makes the weekend’s little tête-à-tête between Central Coast and FFA all the most interesting, during which the Mariners accused the FFA’s website of leaking details of Mat Ryan’s potential move to English club Hull City.

    “For FFA to leak that the way they did, I think is totally wrong. What else are they going to leak?” Mariners’ coach Graham Arnold said after the story broke.

    FFA hit back through Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications Kyle Patterson, who insisted Arnold was mistaken in thinking that FFA operations staff had leaked the story.

    Instead Patterson said the story had been uncovered by the footballaustralia.com.au editorial team.

    “The website employs independent journalists in conjunction with our digital partner Optus,” Patterson said. “They don’t work in the FFA offices.”

    I can vouch for that because I write a weekly column for the site and have never once heard from anyone working inside FFA headquarters regarding its contents.

    What was perhaps most interesting about the way the original story broke is that it was penned by Mike Cockerill – a Football Hall of Fame journalist and Fox Sports commentator who recently became Associate Editor of the FFA site after a 28-year career at the Sydney Morning Herald.

    If anyone’s got contacts inside the game, it’s Cockerill, and though he sounded a bit croaky at Hunter Stadium yesterday it seems his news radar regarding the Ryan rumour was spot on.

    Yet in an age when investigative journalism seems to be dwindling into irrelevance, perhaps it’s no surprise the Mariners were angered by the report.

    When reactive reporting becomes the norm, it’s easy to dismiss the expert practitioners of what appears to be a dying craft.

    As football consumers, we should ask ourselves if that’s really the path we want to head down.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (55)

    • Roar Guru

      November 19th 2012 @ 7:05am
      Cappuccino said | November 19th 2012 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      The Herald is now running a story that Beckham has been approached by various A-League clubs, with more clubs still interested. Hope it’s true:

      • November 19th 2012 @ 9:58am
        Bric Tamlin of the Pants Party said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        No-one will know anything for sure until LA finish up their season and with them up 3-0 from the first leg of semi final play off it looks like a few weeks till Beckham will even be mulling over potential moves.

    • Roar Guru

      November 19th 2012 @ 7:16am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | November 19th 2012 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Based on the experiences with Ale Del Piero & Harry Kewell, the fact that David Beckham denied any move to the A-League suggests his management team has approached A-League clubs.

      Today, David Davutovic from News Ltd has confirmed that:
      * Perth Glory CEO, Paul Kelly, confirmed his club has made an Expression of Interest to Beckham’s management team
      * AUFC Chairman Greg Griffen has stated AUFC will make an offer when Beckham’s MLS commitments are over
      * Brisbane Roar & Melbourne Heart have confirmed their interest
      * Advertising guru, John Singleton, has told News Limited that he’ll back any move to get Beckham to CCM

      It seems only MVFC, SydneyFC & The Nix are confirmed they are not interested in Beckham’s services.

      David Gallop has played the media-game beautifully.

      Today, the FFA will be making a “significant media announcement” .. media analysts expect it to be about the new Tv Broadcast Deal.

      Finally, AUS football fans are enjoying a relationship with the media!

      • November 19th 2012 @ 8:26am
        Punter said | November 19th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        That is all football fans have ever wanted, whether we are no 1, or no 5 sport in this country to enjoy a fair relationship with the Aussie media.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 9:16am
          Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Why do I get the feeling the way the media handled the Beckham rumour is the ultimate catch 22 for football? With fans on tenterhooks waiting the revealing of the new TV deal, I’m sure 99% of fans upon hearing: Big Announcement from FFA at 2pm AEST assumed the news was TV deal related. Instead we find out that it is a rumour that David Beckham ‘could’ play in the A-League…just a bit of a let down IMO.

          Now if Beckham doesn’t line up for a HAL team in the near future(Obviously it could go either way at this stage)

          Then the media can turn the story into the old favourite of how football is led by losers that couldn’t close a deal in a Turkish bazaar

          NB– AUFC got a back page lead this morning in the Adelaide Advertiser with Beckham’s head photoshopped into a United kit
          Headline UNITED SEEKS BECKHAM pushing even the Kurt Tippett saga to 2nd lead! …great publicity for our sponsors!

          • November 19th 2012 @ 9:48am
            AGO74 said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            Of late, there has been positive press in Daily Telegraph and the Beckham story is one page inside the sports back page. The only story which beat it off the back page was……Poppa’s win with WSW yesterday in Perth. Cricket etc was further back. Quite remarkable.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 9:45am
          Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          I have to agree with this! if nothing else I’d just like to consign to memory the blatant double standards the Mainstream media apply to Sokkah.
          A fair shake is all I’m after, couldn’t care if we are always regarded as the 4th position football code, just so sick of the media getting away with their garbage.

          • November 19th 2012 @ 10:29am
            Punter said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

            Very true Kasey!!!

          • November 19th 2012 @ 12:21pm
            mahonjt said | November 19th 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            I agree absolutely about the media treating football fairly – but I also care about code ranking.

            When the data supiorts the argument that we are the third code in overall terms (i.e. across the various measures) we should be proud to asy we are.

            These rankings play a big part in the culture of the media also – ranking effective perception, effecting coverage, effecting perfromance, effecting ranking (a virtous cycle that has ket the ‘duopoly’ in place for years).

            Football is as football’s data shows – and we should be proudly proclaiming it from the rooftops in order to crack open the market and realise our fullest potential.

      • November 19th 2012 @ 10:17am
        nordster said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Nice to see the mariners in the mix…singo, my new libertarian hero of the week if that one comes off!

        • Roar Guru

          November 19th 2012 @ 7:52pm
          Cappuccino said | November 19th 2012 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

          Een the Daily Telegraph has dropped the “soccer” tag for football…

    • November 19th 2012 @ 8:37am
      JAJI said | November 19th 2012 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Its quite ironic ARnold slammed the FFA given Micke Cockerill was the one writing the story

      ANyone who knows Australian football knows Mike Cockerill is one of ARnold’s biggest fans and has been for years

      Already one week into the job and Gallop is hogging headlines away from other sports. If this was Ben Buckley there would be a corporate press release from HQ and nobody fronting any cameras

      • November 19th 2012 @ 9:20am
        Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        I though DG performed well on the Friday lead-in show (Mel’s vehicle)
        I thought he was only a little bit nervous which is quite understandable as he has only been in the job one week and was likely wary of dropping the S-word on a football show 😉

        He knows he is an outsider and seems to me to be working very hard to show football fans that he is intent upon listening to the football family before making too many big decisions the FFA 😉

      • November 19th 2012 @ 9:29am
        Dillian said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        GA has a history of complaining about FFA and referees to the media without getting his facts straight first. It bemuses me what he is actually trying to get out of it…

        • November 19th 2012 @ 9:38am
          Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          GA is a born whinger. If I watch a CCM game and his team get a bad call I always look forward to hearing his bleating in the post-match interview.

    • November 19th 2012 @ 9:42am
      striker said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      Gotta agree i thought David Beckhams body language last week he looked like he was guilty its obvious he wants to come here, i think the FFA could have been more discreet about the hole thing though.

      • November 19th 2012 @ 10:05am
        Matt F said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        He’s definitely been on the look out for a new club, though I would imagine that the A-League would be one of many leagues that he’s looking at right now. It’s quite understandable that he wouldn’t want to be saying anything in public while the Galaxy are still going in the MLS finals. Given they’re almost certain to make the final on December 1 (they’ve got a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their semi against Seattle) I doubt we’ll be hearing too much about this deal until early-mid December.

        I don’t blame the FFA too much. Some of the clubs had already spoken to the media about it so it was already out there before the FFA said anything. Certainly the clubs that went public with this should have been more discreet. I can’t imagine that Beckham and his management team would be too happy with the way it’s been handled

      • November 19th 2012 @ 10:13am
        Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        Has anyone being paying attention to MLS this year?
        The Supporters Shield (Premiers Plate equiv) were San Jose Earthquakes, but in a very CCMariners-like way:)
        they were eliminated by Beckham’s LA Galaxy.
        On the other side of the bracket are 4 time champions DC United, so it is still possible for MLS to get two of their biggest teams and markets (LA and Washington) into the MLS Cup final on December first 2012. For the first time in their history the Grand Final (MLS Cup2012) will be be held at the venue of the highest seed to qualify. The teams left are DC United/Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders. The DC v Houston H&A tie at this stage will determine the host of the Championship game with the Dynamo up 3-1 from the first leg. 2nd leg is at RFK in Washington right about now(10:00AEST Monday).
        The upshot of the MLS Finals series is that unless the Galaxy are dumped out by the Sounders today, the earliest we could know if DB is serious about the HAL is early December.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 10:22am
          Matt F said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          DC have just been knocked out by Houston. They finished 1-1 this morning but lost 4-2 on aggregate.

          • November 19th 2012 @ 10:24am
            Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

            Bugger, I took in my first MLS game earlier this year at RFK a 2-1 win over New England:)

            read this article for the type of relationship the Red & Black have with their fans:
            (I can’t imagine hatamoto have read this article;)


            • November 19th 2012 @ 10:34am
              Matt F said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:34am | ! Report

              Great article. For all the money that clubs spend on marketing and gimmicks to get fans to games, it’s really the simple gestures like these that create that close bond with the supporters and help forge a clubs identity. Very classy

              • November 19th 2012 @ 10:39am
                Kasey said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Its not quite on the same scale, but one of the very first things Kossie did on taking over from the aloof Rini Coolen was to remind the players they had an obligation to the fans. The playing group now rarely forget to thank fans either home or away before retiring to the dressing sheds after a game.

                Our very first chairman Gordon Pickard in the NSL season used to pay for coaches to bus fans across to the East from Adelaide. All we fans had to do was purchase a match ticket upon arrival. It is still remembered fondly the day we took 4 coaches on a 16 hour each way marathon trip to defeat Parramatta power. Considering Australia is much physically larger than Europe as a whole, any away fans ought to be congratulated for their endeavour and zeal in attending away games!

              • November 19th 2012 @ 10:47am
                Matt F said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                I think most A-League sides are pretty good at doint these things, at least as far as the players thanking the fans after the match. Some of the people running the clubs don’t have much of a clue in this area though!

                The SFC players have always been good about thanking the Cove as well. They’ve certainly needed to be given the last few weeks!

    • November 19th 2012 @ 9:44am
      Towser said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Buckley invented the term “Camera shy”. My guess is that he came as a 2IC from his previous job & never got over that mindset at the FFA.
      Gallop comes as Numero uno from his previous job & will act accordingly.
      Personally I see Gallop as part of the evolution of football in Australia.
      Timing is everything in life & the timing is right for a front man,but backed up by nous.
      Four years ago Gallop would have had nothing to sell( better a “Wardrobe CEO” like Buckley, bring him out occassionally ,dust him off ,call him a CEO, put him back in). By that I mean the sort of football Roar can produce & Victory & The Mariners produced the other night. If we think Del Piero shows up the rest of the Sydney team as football naive plonkers today, imagine the gap at some teams 4 years ago.
      So IMO just as genuine marquees were a waste of space before, so was a “Front Man CEO”.
      Like peddling toothbrushes door to door,beautiful handle,but hey wheres the brush.
      Football today is a soap opera whether we like it or not,just check English newspapers for confirmation. Speculation built on “half truths” a day to day occurrence. Part of being mainstream is being out there in the public face, warts & all, something Gallop knows well. Secret is to maximise the good & minimise the bad.

      • November 19th 2012 @ 9:57am
        Bondy. said | November 19th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Good post.

      • November 19th 2012 @ 10:17am
        Punter said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Good post Towser, who’d have thought that the best A-League game in living memory didn’t include Brisbane Roar, the standard has definitely getting higher.

        • November 19th 2012 @ 12:10pm
          James said | November 19th 2012 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          the first half was great. but it shut down in the second half. it can’t have been the best game ever unfortunately based on one half.
          possibly the 2011 grand final was the best game ever.

    • November 19th 2012 @ 10:03am
      striker said | November 19th 2012 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      I like Gallop so far very positive and seems to be a good choice by Frank Lowy.

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