Listening to Talksport the other day, CFCnet heard News of the World’s chief football writer, Neil Ashton, wax lyrical about how newspapers were the UK’s moral guardians. That’s an interesting comment coming from the very same newspaper group that was exposed in the book ‘All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia 90’ as paying English fans to throw bricks through Cagliari shop windows.
Pete Davies’ excellent tome showed further cases of how journalists twist and turn facts to suit their own ends. The best example was when England’s John Barnes gave an interview to The Sun. Barnes was asked, “what was your childhood like?” to which he replied, “just like any other, you know, my mum would slap me if I was naughty.” The next day John’s mother phoned him in tears because of The Sun’s double page spread which headlined ‘Memories of Childhood Beatings Haunt John’.
With 120,000 readers each month, CFCnet gets continually asked by the media to give our fans view or to appear on TV and radio. We’re very careful about this for two reasons. Firstly, harsh experience has taught us that we have no right to represent Chelsea’s fans views but only those of this website. It’s a fair point and we now make sure that this is stated clearly in every interview we give. I’m sure some clever wag will now post a clip showing us doing precisely the opposite….
Secondly, we try and spread media opportunities between not just us but other fans groups too. BBC opportunities are sometimes given to our friends at CFCUK whilst Sky and other media interviews are occasionally passed to Chelsea Supporters Group. Both groups, of course, get plenty of media enquiries independently. We often muck in together and occasionally we’ll phone each other to make sure that our views are in line with what other Chelsea fans think. Click here for an example of CFCUK and CFCnet cooperating with a journalist from the Daily Mail.
It’s not hard to get involved in CFCnet’s media appearances. In fact it’s easier than saying ‘Neil Ashton, moral guardian’. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and if you can string two words together, not freeze (we don’t mean the temperature) or even write a sentence or two, then we’ll get back to you. At some point.
Broadly speaking we find the journalists we talk to represent our views correctly. The only newspaper that continually misquotes us and twists our views is, oddly enough, the London Evening Standard who CFCnet will no longer talk to. In saying that we still write a Chelsea blog for the Standard – but that’s because they can’t twist our views as we get to write the damn thing.
Other media outlets tend to treat us fairly. News International is one we have to watch simply because they will take some of our material and re-word it. When we interviewed Frank Lampard a few years ago we asked Frank which teams he admired. Before you knew it the Sun had a piece about how Frank was eyeing up a move to Barca. Of course he said nothing of the sort.
With so many readers working all over London we get to hear a lot of gossip we dare not print or even whisper. Many of our readers actually work in places like News International. The best story we ever heard? It will have to remain secret but needless to say we could write a white-lined file on Rio Ferdinand (‘England’s role model’) that would make Fabio Capello choke on his linguini. You know our email address Fabio, it’s written above.