As ranting as all the texts may sound, there is always the positive approach. The intention is to bring back to light the beauty and colourfulness of football, much of which has unfortunately been lost in and through today’s media landscape. Football has so much to offer. Show us that, make it palatable, convey the excitement and drama instead of just talking about chains of errors, inadequacies and other shortcomings. If we can watch the German Bundesliga every weekend, then we should always realise that it is the absolute best football possible in this country.
But in addition, there is always the approach in the text of how it could be done better. In addition, there is the foreign example, especially the English example, from which one can see that it is possible to report positively but not uncritically. And in this country, too, there is always the intended differentiation between the public broadcasters and the private providers. Nevertheless, the problem highlighted in this chapter is also striking. The polemicisation and the partial exaggeration is also intentional in order to put the finger directly on the wounds. So: not every interview and not every interviewer is bad or as portrayed in the text. Nevertheless, a clear tendency can be discerned.
2) Who is the expert?
So if you are allowed to eavesdrop on an interview after a football match in Germany – and as a true football supporter you are truly interested in catching an opinion, especially from a competent side — then from the first set of questions it is already pretty much open who is supposed to be (or wants to be) the expert here, especially the one for football. Because often enough the interviewee is attacked straight on with presumptuous questions like: “Why did you lose today?”
But first of all, the interviews that we used to see showed a real expert – namely the interviewee – who gave some enlightening words about his absolute field of expertise, i.e. football, for the watching and devoutly listening community. The interviewee’s art was to ask exactly the questions that a) the spectator wanted to ask and would ask and b) that would reveal exactly what one did not yet know, but which was interesting to learn. Otherwise, this person had only a subordinate function, comparable to that of a referee at a football match who, according to legend, is always at his best when he is not noticed at all.
Today, the signs have long since reversed. The football expert is degraded to a supporting actor who at best has the chance to find a few successful excuses for the “critical reporters’ questions”. The judgement as to whether the statement is true or not is also incumbent on the questioner, but as he can only explain afterwards – namely after he has wasted the chance to find out something really interesting and has chased the interviewee away with a few such ridiculous and stupid questions that he finally stands alone – referring to the thin-skinnedness or the bad-loser mentality.
The basis for the whole hounding is once again exclusively the knowledge of the result. For there is no arguing past that. The really clever interviewee – and there are more and more of them nowadays, much to the chagrin of the truly interested – reacts like this: He talks to the questioner. “Why did you lose?” “Because we were bad today.” “Aha, what did you think was bad?” “Well, everything you revealed during the game. We were bad from 1 to 11 and if I had the chance I would have substituted all 11.” “Oh, yes, a comment perhaps about the referee who denied you a clear penalty?” “I don’t want to talk about the referee.” “So are you still in charge next week? Are you still reaching the team?” “We will continue to work as normal next week. We will try to get a good result. The rest is out of my hands.” “Thank you very much for the interview. Goodbye and all the best.” The interviewee turns away, glad to have avoided this little cliff – because of course “cliff” refers to the fact that he managed not to shove the microphone down the brazen questioner’s mouth – and goes his way. We get another truly illuminating summary from the questioning genius, who is in himself multi-talented, namely could work as a player as well as a coach, manager or president at any club in the world, which goes like this: “At least the man was honest.” And that is exactly what he is anything but right about. He’ll just never know it, unfortunately….
However, anyone who gets involved in the interview becomes a victim of the questioner’s mathematical giftedness, which can be determined by adding up and setting up equations and inequalities of two numbers in the space from 1 to 10: The man knows the result. For, dare he not get in the way of this inexorable (result) logic.
So if one should respond to the first question with: “Why did we lose? Yes, didn’t you see that we were the better team and didn’t get a clear penalty?” then the counter-attack of the omniscient man hits him like this: “Aren’t you making things a bit too easy for yourself?” “Well, we had enough chances and would have deserved at least a draw. There was a great chance in the 22nd, when … … appeared all alone in front of the goalkeeper, then the shot from the crossbar at the beginning of the second half, which could well have gone in, and then the penalty.” “Well, but isn’t the lack of chances a sign of quality? It’s been a common thread throughout the whole season. Don’t you have to worry about that? Is that where you need to pull the lever? Maybe bring in a new, more effective striker? The one up front… hasn’t scored in 675 minutes, while the … is languishing on the bench. “I’ve used the players who have shown the best performance in training. I would have to worry if we didn’t have any chances. The conversion comes at some point, it comes all by itself. Today there was also a bit of bad luck involved.” “After last week’s defeat, you went back to the 4-4-2 with the diamond today. Is the team not able to implement your instructions?” “We played with the rhombus today, because I had the two players … and … … were back on board. Besides, we train several systems so that we remain a bit more flexible. It wasn’t because of the system today.” “Well, you know yourself what the laws are in the business. In the end, you are measured by the results. And they’re not happening at the moment.” “Yes, thank you, I counted the goals too. We scored one less than the opponent. If we stay calm, the results will come back. If the board doesn’t have the patience, then….” “Yes, thank you for the interview.” And, after the man has left to the audience, “That sounds very much like a farewell soon.”