The ecologically-fanatical Green movement have occasionally waxed lyrical about the possibility of generating energy from methane – using the flatulent output of millions of fields full of peacefully-chewing bovine powerhouses to provide light and warmth for our homes. It’s a nice if slightly smelly idea. The Mirror newspaper appear to have adopted their own version of this cattle exploitation concept, basing their sports journalism service, for want of a more appropriate phrase, on the more solid waste output of those noble beasts. How else to explain their continual fabrication of outlandish stories concerning Leeds United?
This morning, in a transparent attempt to up the ante after yesterday’s news of additional investment for the Elland Road club, the powers that be at the Mirror have evidently set some hacks to work to find something – anything – to muddy what seem to be unusually clear and sparkling waters for Leeds United. It’s not difficult to take an old and tired story, polish it up a little and then serve it up as something new and tasty for the kind of undemanding and uncritical readership catered for by the trashier Redtops. Not difficult – but not particularly clever either. It makes you wonder – don’t the writers on the Mirror have any ambitions to work for proper newspapers? If they do, then surely their current tenuous relationship with the truth of what’s actually happening will hardly help them on their way.
For the avoidance of doubt, Red Bull are a franchise that have added several sports outfits around the world to their portfolio, but without any real attendant record of success. Their involvement tends to be characterised by getting in there, ripping up most of the traditions surrounding their purchase in favour of the appalling measure known as “re-branding” and then watching a previously independent club or team go swirling down the plughole. This is not an approach that would be tolerated at Leeds United, a club notorious for the militancy and truculence of its support. What seems as certain as these things ever can be, is that GFH Capital, the owners of United, are well aware of the limits imposed by that support on their latitude for instituting radical change. But the likes of the Mirror have never let inconvenient facts get in the way of making up fairy stories as a simple alternative to reporting actual news.
A mere two months ago, this blog was relieved to hear that the Mirror was reporting as fact Leeds manager Brian McDermott’s readiness to quit Elland Road and take over the Ireland job. Relieved, because of the reliable principle that – when the Mirror reports something as fact – it’s invariably just more of those bovine solids that they seem to find so palatable it’s positively their staple diet. Again, there was a wisp of credibility about the tale – Ireland were looking for a man of ability and integrity (in the event, they got Roy Keane instead), and the Mirror had simply followed their usual policy of adding two plus two, to arrive at thirteen-and-a-half. You won’t ever go far wrong just by reading the Mirror and disbelieving all of it.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, it does seem that Leeds United may at last be on an identifiable and navigable path back towards the top. A promising league position – despite yesterday’s blip – and a good manager with a decent squad and some potential to add to it in January – these are as close to good times as we’ve seen at Elland Road for many a moon. None of which will be good news for the Mirror, the Sun and the other examples of toilet paper at the lavatorial end of the print media. But frankly – who cares? The truth is still out there, you just have to know where to look – and be determined at all costs to avoid the pungent Bull you’ll see in the gutter press…