The people responsible for media output at Rangers should be ashamed of themselves.
Since what has felt like the beginning of time, that’s a view many fans would agree with. For years, we’ve cried out for an end to “dignified silence” and for the club to hit back at our critics. The club are accused of taking too long to react to things and rarely controlling the message.
In many ways, I’ve disagreed with this view. Not because I don’t see the merit in it, but because I think the club has more to consider than the fans often credit. It’s not as simple as some suggest.
However, the club made a huge mistake yesterday by not releasing the press conference by Pedro after tweeting that they would. The reason for that could be something as simple as a member of staff having to go home early. But that’s unlikely. The suggestion, one they’ve fed by their actions, is that they were somehow embarrassed or scared by what was said.
These days, there’s no hiding anything like this. So naturally, the videos are out there. And after just watching the press conference, I’m a little bit angry that the club have allowed this to happen. They’ve let media outlets, whose very job it is to sensationalise and make the club look in crisis, set a rhetoric that’s not reflective of the message at all.
The headlines have read “players have embarrassed the club!”, “the players can’t handle the pressure” or “I’m a crazy guy”. Seemingly strong words, but taken right out of context. It’s not unexpected – during the press conference itself, Pedro points out that such things are the job of the media so as to sell newspapers. In that, I think he’s wrong, but that’s a whole other debate. the fact is, even though we know full well that this is the way the media in Scotland will approach such things, we dove in head first and fell for it. Truncated quotes and a tone of “look at the crazy foreigner feeling the pressure” have been the approach for a while now. We should have known better.
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If you break down what Pedro was saying, it boils down to a few main points. He does this with ten words where one will do at times, but that’s just his style. Let’s have a look at what was said:
Pedro is willing to take responsibility, but are the players?
Of all the things that seem prevalent in modern football, nothing frustrates me more than players being able to just shrug off any sort of culpability for poor results. There was no doubt we were poor on Sunday overall. Pedro has said more than once that he wanted the team to play one way, and they let themselves be dragged into playing another. He didn’t send the team out to play long balls or the likes. Despite what many fans seem to believe, no amount of shouting from the side will make a huge impact on that. He tried to force a change in style through his substitutions, which didn’t work. He’ll take the blame for that, but why should the players get such a free pass? They never did their job, and they deserve some harsh words for that. Maybe the terms Caixinha has used are a bit strong, but the sentiment isn’t wrong.
Scottish Football should be lauding good play over the physical approach
There is nothing about this that’s controversial. And yet, the attitude from many regarding Sunday is “welcome to Scottish football”. When Pedro asked what top referees we have, or top players, or just how well our clubs or national team have done for years now in the big tournaments, there was nothing anyone could respond with. Scottish football is at it’s lowest ebb, and yet we seem intent on rewarding a style of play that even the manager of our biggest rivals thought was over the top. This notion that we have to fight fire with fire, as if that doesn’t just mean everyone gets burned, is lunacy.
The media coverage of Scottish Football is holding it back
This is linked to the second point, and is something that surely every football fan in this country can agree with. Every week, managers and players are misquoted, situations which should be serious are laughed at, and not one serious discussion is made about how the game can improve. And yet these bastions of truth and forward thinking are arrogant enough to believe they have a clue as to what the fans want, or how the game should be played. By not highlighting the poor refereeing from Sunday, they’re negligent in this regard. By making it seem like this is how it goes, or almost laughing at the way teams play here, they lose all credibility when it comes to their role in improving Scottish football. If they stepped back from the drama and did something resembling their job, maybe they’d be worth listening to.
I know I come across as someone blindly defending Pedro a lot of the time. There’s more to it than that, and I’d hope I’ve made that point clearly in the past. I’m largely undecided on him, but also feel those writing him off are being a bit too reactionary right now. I understand that like most debates, opinions become entrenched and you’re unlikely to change minds. However, some of the reactions to this press conference have been embarrassing. People have been fooled by a media that hasn’t got a clue, and should be ashamed that they’ve fallen for that. If you can pick holes in anything Pedro says and show it’s unjustified, then that’s a solid argument. If not, yet you still think he was somehow ranting and lost the plot, that’s a very strange opinion to hold.
Results and performances need to improve. The players need to show more, the manager needs to prove himself. However, he’s come out swinging, and he’s shown some real fight whilst defending himself and the club. Whoever made the decision not to release this press conference is showing far more cowardice than anything you could accuse a player of on Sunday.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Tweet us @rangersnewsuk to discuss!