Sports journalists, for the most part, have always been soulless minions, more than willing to sell their own grandmother for a story regardless of what trouble it causes.
In saying that there used to be a line, one which papers did not want to cross for fear of tarnishing a good reputation. Although there would always be one or two who sunk to depths to sell to readers, generally there was a respect for who they wrote about.
I think it is safe to say those days are well and truly gone. Any lasting conscience or respect seems to have vanished in the last couple of years and it has now spilled over beyond the confines of the manipulative media.
The latest one to lose all respect is Harry Redknapp. Although Alan Pardew has since come out and said he thinks Harry may have been tripped up somewhat it does not excuse the fact of what he did and continues to do.
The media is one thing. The Demba Ba speculation has boiled my blood to say the least but in terms of creating a massive story, and more so timing it to perfection with him gone to the African Cup of Nations, begrudgingly I give them credit. Don’t agree with what they do but they are damn good at it.
Redknapp is another thing all together. Harry, as a manager that has had many a club come trying to steal his players in the past, should know better and have more respect than to be fuelling this media fire regarding Demba Ba.
Pardew may blame the media alone but fact is, all Redknapp had to say was “I think it would be disrespectful to Alan Pardew and Newcastle to discuss their players or contracts in public”. It was not a hard thing to do, yet he chose to make a story out of it.
Not only that but he has since gone back to the issue again, speculating when asked about the fee contained in rumoured release clause, that it is not ten million or even seven, but may well be even lower than that. Once again Harry, “It is not my place to comment on other clubs players and their contracts”.
This issue of managers and even players jumping the respect fence and playing by media rules has been an issue which has been growing over the last couple of years especially, although generally applied only to the massive clubs of Spain in Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Madrid are notorious for doing it to unsettle players, never a more prominent example than their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the recently crowned king of lowest of the low has to go to Barcelona for their lack of respect for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
Barcelona’s manager, players, and former stars came out on a weekly basis for near on two years commenting on Cesc Fabregas. Even the tea lady at one stage held a press conference to tell us of Cesc’s love for the Catalan giants.
The whole ordeal was sickening to see, and I don’t even support Arsenal. I can only imagine how their supporters felt. Scratch that. By the looks of things I could be about to know exactly how they felt and experience it in full thanks to Harry’s latest comments.
Fact is, Newcastle have not denied there is a clause, which suggests there is one. There is also a suggestion that it could be as low as £7 million, based on his previous contract with West Ham. What is not clear however is exactly what type of clause he has, and could show why Newcastle are so calm about it.
Speculation of course on my part, but I think that the clause may in fact be similar to that of Neil Taylor, which Newcastle tried to activate without success. Even if there is a clause of this nature in Demba Ba’s contract, it only means he can talk to a club, if he wishes to, not that he can leave for that fee.
On top of that, Ba’s recent Sky Sports interview, shown in part before the Man Utd match, showed for the first time to my knowledge a real in depth look at his character, and to be honest I liked what I saw, a lot.
He seems like a really down to earth, genuine lad who is very thankful to Newcastle for the opportunity he was given especially after the supposed medical issues brought to light by Stoke. He also spoke of his desire to do his best for Newcastle and how he and his family are settled and happy here now.
Despite his short spell here to date, he has also taken greatly to the fans and really seems to love the support they give him every week. He has spoken of players in the squad he has struck up good friendships with and is a character very much liked around the place by one and all.
Finally, away from him as a person, he is someone who only signed for us in the summer, and to my knowledge wants to be part of the project at hand. This would tell me that him leaving is not an immediate threat or concern. The only thing is stating his love for PSG but to be honest if we were to lose him I would rather it was to a club who will pay way over the odds and, more importantly, are not in the Premier League.
If there is a clause, it gives Newcastle time to sort it out if they wish or even need to. If we continue as we have performance-wise this season I don’t think he would want to leave anyway. But most of all, what it should mean is Harry, the media, or anyone else who wants to run their mouth should at least wait until the summer to do so.
It serves no other purpose other than to rock the boat at Newcastle and whether it be the hateful demographic of the media towards the North East clubs or managers looking to sign him, it is no more than blatant disrespect of Newcastle, Alan Pardew and Demba Ba himself to be making a big issue of it now.
Pardew and the club have kept very calm about it and a part of me gives them credit for that and makes me think it is not a concern to them but at the same time I think someone attached to the club needs to make a statement of anger towards the disrespect being shown in the last couple of days.
Derek is usually well up for having a right go at people isn’t he? Only time he ever speaks!
For now anyway, Demba Ba is a Newcastle player and one we have grown to love. Best of luck to the lad at the African Cup of Nations, as well as Tiote, and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to seeing them back in the black and white.