It appears that the England football team need a lesson in PR after their abysmal exit from the world cup at the hands of the Germans on Sunday.
The pictures in Wednesday’s newspapers of England’s football team drinking and smoking cigars at an aftermatch get together gave the newspapers and the baying English public all the ammunition they needed to issue them a good kicking for their pathetic showing.
It was a massive PR blunder that is almost as stupid as the teams embarrassing performances on the field. The fact that the picture was apparently taken and then published by an England player shows just how little the players appear to grasp the situation.
They had completely misjudged the public mood, either that or they didn’t give a damn. It was a spectacular own goal.
Personally I haven’t got a problem with it as long as it dosen’t go too far, they are entitled to unwind no matter how bad they did. But keep a lid on it, and also don’t broadcast it.
I am not naive enough to believe that it hasn’t happened before just because it wasn’t highlighted by the newspapers. I also understand that it’s not just the footballers, I’m sure the England rugby team, and the England cricket team have all done the same at various times.
The footballers PR gaffes are in stark contrast to when an England cricket team went to West Indies to play in the ill fated Stanford Super Series in 2008.
Before they set off, the then England captain Kevin Pietersen made it clear that he wouldn’t tolerate any of his players lording it up if they won the $1M showdown.
He said it would be insensitive at a time when people back in the UK were losing jobs in the middle of a recession. In my view Kevin Pietersen was never given the recognition he deserved at the time for this gesture.
I remember at the time thinking it was a remarkable show of humility and it showed common sense, and that the cricketers haven’t lost touch with the public and reality in the way the footballers seem to have.
There was though, one similarity between the two sets of players. And that is that they both came back with their tails between their legs after a hell of a good thrashing.
I didn’t think there was anything too concerning about the photo as there didn’t look to be any wild celebrations going on (now that really would have been a story) – just some fairly low-key post-tournament unwinding -although the sight of Aaron Lennon smoking a cigar grates for all kinds of reasons. If the FA has any decent PR people (unlikely) they must be tearing out any hair they had left after the humiliation on the pitch.
From what I read, the photo was taken by Ledley King, although I don’t know how it reached The Sun. The fact that it obviously didn’t occur to him that it was something best kept under wraps would tend to fit with many people’s favoured stereotyping of professional footballers as ‘lacking in awareness’ (to put it at its kindest and most neutral).
You’re right about Pietersen’s comment pre-Stanford. I don’t think he received much praise for it because it didn’t chime with many people’s view of him, but most of what you read from people who know is that he’s basically a very decent bloke.
His problem is that he’s both extremely self-confident and nakedly ambitious, a combination which British people don’t tend to like. In general, we prefer cheerful under-achievers, although personally, if they’re playing for the teams I support, I favour sportsmen who succeed.
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Hi Brian, thanks for the reply.
Yes, I tend to agree with a lot of what you wrote. I have no problem with the players unwinding, it didn’t appear to be a wild celebration so whats the problem?
I do believe that one paper (possibly the Sun again) had a picture of two of the players laughing getting off an internal flight in SA, claiming that they didn’t care because they were laughing.
Not sure who is worse, the papers for publishing the rubbish, or the people that buy into the image the papers are trying to portray?
With regard to the cigar picture, I do believe that Ledley King took it and then put it on his webpage! Living up to the stereotype you mentioned.
As for Pietersen, yes, he is a very self confident person, and why people have to knock that is beyond me. Sometimes I believe the manner of his dismissals annoys commentators and pundits and gives them a reason to knock him.
But on the whole when he gets criticized for getting out, it is a bit out of order, on another given day those same shots are executed with success and the same pundits are singing his praises.
Afterall he always plays the same shots, it’s just the outcomes that are different.
Whether this is part of the reason why people always seem to see the worst in him I don’t know?