Leeds United are Right: Gender is No Excuse for Amateurishly Stupid Punditry – by Rob Atkinson


Karen Carney – going viral with COVID theory

As so often with Leeds United, a fine win capping a great performance is possibly going to be overshadowed by a storm in a teacup, and on this occasion the person brewing up the trouble is a pundit on the lamentable Amazon Prime live coverage of United’s game at West Brom. Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further. The gender part of this argument is sod all to do with my opinion of what’s been said in the wake of Leeds’ impressive 5-0 demolition of WBA. The pundit concerned, one Karen Carney, is self-evidently a woman, but that has nothing at all to do with the vacuously stupid remark she made after the match, to the effect that Leeds United probably secured promotion last season thanks to the initial COVID lockdown, which interrupted football for around three months. The break gave us a rest, you see – just us, nobody else, apparently. I’ve heard some crackpot theories in my time, but that one really takes the biscuit.

At the risk of introducing a few facts into this issue, when facts appear to be anathema to Ms Carney, Leeds United, after an earlier rocky spell, had just reeled off five successive wins immediately prior to the cessation of the league programme, recording clean sheets in all of them. When football resumed, with Leeds nicely rested according to Karen’s world view, United proceeded to lose their first game back 0-2 at Cardiff. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, with the more pessimistic Leeds fans bemoaning the COVID break, which seemed to have robbed us of the impetus we’d generated before lockdown. Happily, Leeds hit form again, and that Cardiff defeat was our last, as United recorded seven further wins (two of them with a blistering post-title winning hangover) and one solitary draw to win the league by ten clear points. Ms Carney’s enormous intellect seems to have missed the fact that this was the levellest of level playing fields, with each club having had the same “break” in their programme; it was always going to be down to which club handled such an extraordinary, unprecedented situation with the most resolution and professionalism. Let the record show that that was Leeds United, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Given the above – and I’d be interested or more likely amused to hear any counter arguments – Karen Carney’s comments on Tuesday night were a hymn to rank amateurism, lazy, inaccurate punditry, and gross stupidity. And yet various people are screeching in horror, because the official Leeds United Twitter account had the nerve to mock this hapless woman’s ridiculous comments. To his eternal credit, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizanni took ultimate responsibility for the club’s tweet, rejecting any criticism of it on the grounds that Carney’s comments were “completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club”. Well, quite. And well said, sir.

As usual, though, various parties are leaping on the misogyny bandwagon and claiming that it is so, so wrong to out Carney as a fool in this way. There are various problems with this. Firstly, Carney is not the only person to have been berated or mocked by possibly the most laconically witty and barbed club Twitter account of them all. Gabby Agbonlahor has had some this season, and quite rightly so, for his various inane remarks before and since United’s 3-0 dismissal of his beloved Villa. I’m acutely aware of this, because I had my say about that one, as I did more recently (on Twitter) when another inept pundit, Andy Hinchliffe, spoke fluent rubbish in and around Unted’s home game against Burnley the other day. For some reason, Messrs Agbonlahor and Hinchliffe did not immediately have the distaff side flocking to their defence – I wonder why?

Speaking rubbish on a public platform and then having people of any gender defend you because you happen to lack a Y chromosome is hardly unknown. But it’s not healthy and it’s not helpful – I’d go so far as to argue that it’s absolutely inimical to the cause of equality which I, for one, happen to hold dear. If you’re prepared to stand up and voice controversial (ie crap) opinions, then you have to be equally prepared to be held accountable for them. Either that, or we’re heading down a slippery slope whereby people who dress neither right nor left are able to say what they like with absolute impunity, as long as it’s merely crass and stupid, and not actually actionable.

Personally, I’m sick to the back teeth of lazy, amateurish comment as applied to my beloved club, particularly hoary old myths like Marcelo Bielsa‘s teams “always blowing up”. It winds me up beyond belief, whatever the provenance. When I saw Karen Carney spouting such arrant crap tonight, that was the flavour of my resulting ire – that here was another clueless pundit nicking a living by peddling easily disposed of myths about Leeds United. The only time her gender struck me was when I thought to myself, you’ve done the other female pundits no favours there, lass. I truly believe that it’s harder for a woman to make a mark in an area such as football punditry than it should be, because of the preponderance of men, some of them pretty poor fish like Agbonlahor and Hinchliffe. That being the case, a woman really should try to avoid the same lazy and cliched approach of her male counterparts, lest she strengthen the argument of those Neanderthals who hold that women should have no place in football. I certainly don’t hold that view, and that is why, when I hear the likes of Carney talking rubbish and being disrespectful of honest professionals, I will call it out – just as I have with equivalent male idiots. Gender is no excuse, and it’s no magic shield either. Those who argue that it should be need to radically rethink their own view of exactly what equality is all about.

Marching On Together

28 responses to “Leeds United are Right: Gender is No Excuse for Amateurishly Stupid Punditry – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Respect for Karen Carney as a footballer and a lass from Brum but… as a pundit? As a pundit she is from the Fwanky Lampard school of Leeds haters who never let facts get in the way of a snide comment. She’s probably not worth sending anyone out to spy on her future in the media.

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  2. she said the same thing on the expert panel before the Burnley game, can’t believe she reitterated it.

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  3. Nice one Rob. Not only do they spout their anti-Leeds bile without knowing the facts or do any research but it’s the pundits like Lineker, Merson and co. that really get my goat. One minute we are being praised to the hilt because we stick five past Newcastle, the next getting slated for the Scum debacle and now being praised again for the trouncing of West Brom. First Bielsa has no Plan B, the next his system is beautiful to watch and everyone is in awe. If they are going to be in a profession that enables them to steal a living please have the courtesy to do basic homework and discover what this magical team and it’s manager are all about. Once again…nice piece.

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  4. Get one for yourself son

    Your a diplomat Sir, it was a wonderful win many of the pundits assume they know us, where were they when we languished in league 2. We are Leeds and we don’t …(fill in the blanks). Have a pleasant New Year and thanks for all your hard work

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  5. ryan evans

    stupid twat. put female punditry back thirty years!

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    • Mr Rearguard

      I was hoping she’d put the rest of them out of business for good? I’d take the deadly vaccine on condition it meant never having to see or hear a woman babble about football on TV ever again, amen.

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      • Paul Jones

        Deadly vaccine? So who do you know that has dies of it? Pillock

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      • Mr Rearguard

        Many too many to mention here, but you won’t hear them ever mentioned in the mainstream media because it goes against the ‘official narrative’.

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  6. Philip of Spain

    Clueless idiot, along with Hincliffe whos scathing comments about Leeds live are a disgrace. I couldn’t believe my ears when she started spouting on about blowing up. Not that old chestnut, again. If that’s the best pundit Amazon can do they should stick to flogging stuff.

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  7. Phil in Shrewsbury

    It’s been quite striking this season to hear people, such as Carney, pronouncing loftily about Leeds — and Bielsa in particular — having clearly seen them only once or twice. You’re right, Rob, the fact that she’s s woman should not colour our response. You’re also right to demolish her arguments and expose her ignorance. MOT

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  8. On the same subject the lady who interviewed Marcelo after the game made reference to a change in style of play since our defeat at Man U. My only question really is what games are you watching.
    As for gender doesn’t register if Pundits spout crap they spout crap irrespective of colour, creed or anything else the problem as I see it are the serial offended.

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  9. Uncle Dave

    I am guessing the reason Brentford, Cardiff and Swansea didn’t get promoted last season, is because they had to play more games than Leeds and West Brom? Only Fulham made the most of the ‘ lock down’ scenario. In the words of the late Forrest Gump’s mother…… ” Stupid is, as stupid doe’s”

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  10. Did you notice the interview after the game when the lady interviewer commented on Marcelo’s change of style since the defeat at Man. U. What game was she watching?
    On pundits in general I personally don’t give a chuff about gender or colour or owt else if you talk bollocks on national TV I see no problem with being called out on it because unfortunately to achieve diversity and balance of genders to satisfy today’s standards you now have a lot of them who are lazy and just roll out the well trodden clichés and before anyone thinks I’m a caveman I aim that at all genders yes you Hinchcliffe, Agbonlahor and Lianne Sanderson amongst a host of others.

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  11. Darrell Burnett

    Shame on anyone who alludes that the stupid comments of a pundit are anything to do with gender (or race)
    Could it be possible that if a pundit wants publicity they simply make an outrageous comment about a well supported club.
    That being said I still think that M*n U only won the league in 96/97 because of mad cow disease!

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    • Mr Rearguard

      They only won those league titles from 1993-2013 due to bribery and intimidation and nothing else. A former ref wrote about it but its never been properly addressed.

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      • Graham Poll, wasn’t it? I remember him saying that when he did a man u game, he just wanted to get it over with, preferably with man u having won, as that made life a lot easier.

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      • Mr Rearguard

        Yes Graham Poll! He needs to face a Senate committee interrogation like the one depicted in the Godfather Part.2 so that we can get to the truth of it all.

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      • Excellent plan 🤣

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  12. Hi Rob. Perfect post. However, I think she meant to say that we only got promoted because of Hernandes19. Easy mistake.

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  13. Hi Rob, great article, we’re back in the big time, and we’re making headlines around the world. Pundits will always have there pre prepared views, and her comments were always going to cause a stir, but that’s what i love about football, it’s about opinions. Let’s keep it respectful and express ours.
    All the best to Leeds fans everywhere.
    MOT
    ps. At least we don’t hear MB lives above a coffee shop anymore.

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  14. Life is LUFC

    This bloody female has done as much harm to the cause of equality as that Thatcher woman. I too am a female by the way.
    Yes Rob I agree with you whole heartedly. Be you man, woman or child if you are going to say something for the wider world to hear/read then do your homework thoroughly before you put your feet in your gob. There is an old adage MS Carney that you would do well to take on board THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. Ms Carney you have to earn respect it does not come free with the job.
    You Ms Carney of all people should know how hard it is to achieve your life goal and how easy it is by knocked off your perch by one persons uneducated comment. Think about it it’s not rocket science.

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  15. Great piece as always Rob. I was not only incredulous listening to her comments but equally suprised that Jimmy FH nodded in agreement as she said it ! MOT Rob

    Like

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