Muting football managers for the sake of purity 0

Allow me to daydream briefly.

Completely unrealistic though it may be, imagine a football world with silent managers.

Press-conferences, outbursts and refereeing truthing have become such staples of the game, that it’s impossible to conceive of a world without them.  Because football is the dominant sport in England, a lot of the content which fills the websites and newspapers has to be mined from its periphery rather than its actual core.

This isn’t America, so when the football is turgid and dull, we don’t have basketball, baseball or ice hockey to keep us occupied. For better or worse, we are largely a one-sport nation.

That, probably more than anything else, is why the game has so willingly embraced soap opera culture.  That’s why, for example, the transcript of a manager’s appearance on a national television program has been published in almost every newspaper in the country this morning.

Remove it from its context and the latest Jose Mourinho episode is absurd.  Rather than being the frothing melodrama that we’re all willfully pretending it to be, the sum of its parts is actually ‘man annoyed by referee’.

Yes, this is Mourinho being Mourinho and all the usual platitudes about dark arts and mind games are involved, but really it’s just patter, white noise that we collectively feign an interest in and afford a false gravitas to.   It occupies too much time, takes up too much space and, increasingly, it’s turning football into professional wrestling.

How many articles have you read about the Portuguese this weekend?  About conspiracies, bias and injustice?

And how many have been written about what was, controversies aside, a highly laudable Burnley performance at Stamford Bridge?

So this is really my ‘if I ruled the football world’ moment. A fanciful, unworkable pipedream of a suggestion.

As impractical and impossible as it would be, I’d mute the managers.  No more press-conferences where the aim is to give as little as possible away, no more post-match interviews in which the objective is to reapportion blame for a defeat.

Coach your team, pick your players, play the game, and then get back on the bus and be quiet.

It sounds preposterous, I know, but what would the game actually lose?  What is it about these banal little moments that anybody would actually miss?

We can, I’m sure, live without Brendan Rodgers’ constant hyperbole, Mourinho’s paranoia, and Alan Pardew’s furnace of self-serving rhetoric.  Football survived a time when it wasn’t always played out to a background drone of bluster and counter-bluster and it would be just fine without it.

If managers weren’t obliged to talk to the media, would anybody reminisce wistfully about a time when they were?

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