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the brian crowne affair

the brian crowne affair

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If a football manager speaks in a hotel function suite and the internet isn’t there to hear him, does he make a sound?

In The Square Ball week on Friday I mentioned that silence can be golden, but it can get eerie if it goes on too long; I should have also mentioned that if silence isn’t quickly filled with something tangible, someone is probably going to come along honking a truck horn and waking everybody up. I didn’t know Brian McDermott had a lorry, though.

At a charity event at Leeds’ Crowne Plaza Hotel last night, McDermott apparently chomped down on sausage and mash and took questions from the assembled guests, some of whom then translated his answers into 140 characters and relayed them to the gossip-hungry and the doubting thomases on Twitter.

Gathered together and with the character limit lifted, the whispers of note are:

McCormack soon cast some doubt on that last one, as he tweeted that he hasn’t spoken to McDermott since the end of the season, but then the ‘haha’ in the tweet and the fact that a week’s wages seems a ludicrously high fine for a shandy suggests this wasn’t meant to be taken totally seriously.

That filter-factor needs to be applied to every single one of the above “quotes,” in quotation marks, as intonation and context have been ruthlessly stripped from all these remarks on their journey from hotel lobby to Twitter to forums to here. We know what Brian said, but who knows what he meant?

McDermott could have been frowning throughout as he spoke with utmost seriousness and gravity; or he could have been wearing a jester’s hat and performing magic tricks while cracking wise to wow the crowd. This is the guy, after all, who sang Knocking On Heaven’s Door at a Reading fans’ do, so who knows what he’s like once the ties are loosened and the good times start to roll.

If he was wearing a hat, though, he took it off before the commerative photos, which were issued in frames on the night – ‘mantelpiece ready photos with footie managers’ can be filed alongside Snapchat as modern things I don’t really get.

Also in that file is the rush to judgement within minutes when stuff like this appears. It doesn’t seem that unlikely that a football manager should talk with relative freedom at a charity dinner, saying that it “stays in these walls”, but not really giving much away beyond what he told the Evening Post a week ago. He’s lined some players up, but he doesn’t know if he has the cash to sign them. It’s the same story, but a different medium, with the addition of a sausage dinner and perhaps an acoustic guitar. There’s no scandal here, whether with the people who talked to McDermott or with McDermott himself.

What is here, though, is a demonstration of what happens when football fans are left in a vacuum for too long. McDermott told someone last night that the people in charge should “just come out be truthful with the fans,” but as I wrote on Friday, we tend to only hear from GFH-C when there’s a happy truth going around that they think we’d like to hear. If there’s no news, that means there’s no good news; and where there’s no news, there are off-the-cuff remarks and a flurry of tweets to fill the gap. Brian’s done his sterling turn of Knocking On Heaven’s Door; does anyone else at LUFC know any songs?

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