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Saturday, June 09, 2012
As is well known, the modern footballer doesn’t always have the best relationship with the modern media. Both, after all, want very different things.
Essentially, journalists want players to tell them things that the players don’t particularly want to give away.
In Poznan on Saturday however, both the Irish captain and the Irish journalists were, rather refreshingly it must be said, in complete solidarity.
With a genuinely historic football figure like Giovanni Trapattoni holding court in Ireland’s pre-game press conference, it is perhaps somewhat inevitable that he will attract so much attention from all corners of the globe.
And, duly, the questions asked were coming from pretty much everywhere... Spain, the Middle East, America, Italy... but not, curiously, Ireland.
By the time the pedantic Uefa official was signalling to wrap up the event, only one Irish-based question had been asked.
So, Robbie Keane decided to interject.
"We’ve been waiting 10 years to get here... do you want to actually let some of the Irish journalists ask a question?"
It was met with a round of applause.
And, to be fair, it was a moment that felt in-keeping with the day.
Despite some perceptions, the Irish media are not like the infamous British press pack. We don’t want them to fail in order to boost our own ego and confirm our own opinions. And, believe us, having watched some of the English media cover these tournaments that can really be the case. It’s a different beast, a different monster.
One of my favourite stories about the English press comes from 1998. At the start of that tournament, infamously, Glenn Hoddle was refusing to play the two rising stars of the English team: Michael Owen and David Beckham.
Eventually, though, both came on and had instant effect.
One particular journalist had been beating that drum rather loudly. So, on a French train between venues, he decided to take it up with the nearest available member of the English backroom team: the legendary Bryan Robson.
As the story goes, the following scene is farcical.
The journalist effectively had Robson pinned up against the wall, roaring: "It’s not f**king rocket science Robbo! You play your f**king two best players and you win!"
Rest assured, this doesn’t happen with Ireland.
For one, we’d bloody love that kind of access.
In general, though, the good vibe between player and media reflected the good vibe around Poznan as a whole as regards the Irish.
Fans were cheerily drinking on the train from Gdansk, there was green everywhere.
The hope, of course, is that vibe continues tonight (Sunday).
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