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Clark in the Media
It appears that the Daily Star has got people all of a flutter this morning with a lurid story of player revolt in the dressing room and on the training pitch with the implication that Lee Clark’s tenure as boss of Blues may come to a swift end because of it. There have been some rumours on messageboards about the players not backing Clark so is there truth in what the Star is saying?
The problem with this kind of story is that it’s very easy to write, and very difficult to conclusively prove or disprove. To be able to do either would require intimate knowledge of what goes on in the dressing room and/or the training ground and the fact is there are only a few people who aren’t the team or the management who have that. All the rest of us have is second-hand knowledge and hearsay – and one can never take any of that as gospel.
Furthermore, it’s difficult for the club to refute. There will be a section of the fanbase that will take this story as truth because they don’t like Lee Clark and thus they will take any comment at all as “club spin” hiding the real facts. Indeed, if the club make no comment at all then it will be uttered in some circles that the club are keeping quiet because it’s true. From a logical standpoint it’s impossible to disprove something happened anyway – how can the club prove it didn’t happen conclusively? Even if they dragged everyone forwards to make a statement people could rebut that with “the statements are lies”. Without being around the team 24/7 we can’t know for sure what the truth is.
However, we can look at it logically and dispassionately. The newspaper the story is printed in is not one that is known for its investigative journalism or indeed its veracity. There are no attributed quotes – just a line from an “inside source” to back up the story and the whole piece finishes with a line about the Paladini bid saying that the former QPR chairman might bring in his own manager. In my eyes that last line is the giveaway because it proves to me that the story isn’t true – the Paladini bid is long dead in the water and the fact that a new owner might bring in their own guy proves nothing.
This is further backed up by two tweets made by Colin Tattum who was at the training ground for the launch of the link between Birmingham City and Help Harry Help Others. He said that the players and manager weren’t happy with the story and the players had reacted with disbelief and shock.
From what I have been told and from what I understand of how the media industry works this story has most likely come from an agent trying to plant seeds of disaffection with the intention of getting their client a move in the winter window. It’s not necessarily that the player is unhappy – agents make money when their player signs a new contract or moves club so it’s in an agent’s best interest to move a player on when they can for their own sake.
In short – like anything, it’s best to take this story with a pinch of salt. I don’t see anything in this story to get unhappy about or that makes Lee Clark’s stay as Blues manager more untenable. I have no doubt that some will seize on it as proof that Lee Clark has lost the dressing room and that his job is doomed but I can’t see it that way.