At a time when the British press is at its dishonest and disingenuous best on vitals subject like the Brexit and British Laws, it was no surprise to see the Patrick Vieira interview being twisted and turned to make Arsene Wenger look bad.
I think it is quite clear that what is written in the press should be taken with a pinch of salt. And when we talk about foreign stars, the press has a constant habit of taking interviews from foreign papers, mistranslating them and misleading English fans.
I really find it funny and distasteful that interview from the French players in l’Equipe and France Football are automatically twisted to create controversies that do not even exist.
One typical example was Samir Nasri’s departure to Manchester City.
Having monitored the French papers for the whole Summer, because the rumours had started early June, I found nothing in the transfer window saying he was slagging off the team or Arsene Wenger.
Then you would read the English papers full of quotes and other stuff and wonder when did he say this? I am not saying Nasri is a saint – he has a long history of misbehaving, trying to nick Henry’s seat in the bus during Euro 2008, abusing the press in the mixed zone, and being a troublemaker in the French squad stoking fires instead of trying to extinguish them. But his treatment and the vilification he got from the fans for things he never said was shocking.
So to the recent Vieira France Football interview, which made the press this week under headlines claiming he was attacking Arsene Wenger, when the first thing he did was praise Arsene Wenger.
“I have spent nine years with Arsene and made many mistakes. Arsene always helped me to grow and understand things. With the French team, I was sharing with Lilian Thuram, and he also had a way of seeing things that would help you to reflect on things.”
Then he get asked about managers who inspired him:
“Mourinho drew my attention because he has no hesitation. He is clearly like: I decide, I take the decision for the good of the team. This is a real strength. Arsene is calmer, more laid back and diplomatic”
He also gets asked about the job Arsene Wenger has been doing at Arsenal for 20 years :
“Where Arsene has been great, is the fact that he managed to adapt to the new generations. It is his strength. I read an interview from him recently where he was asked if he could name two rap music singers. He said no, but he has managed to adapt to the current generation”
Then comes the infamous question about Arsenal’s old players and the criticism aimed at Wenger, it is stated quite matter of factly rather than in a controversial way (FF mentions that he starts thinking then laughing before answering the question)
“I am not saying that Arsene did not give me the vocation to coach. He might have given it unbeknown to me, but he did not guide me, he did not show me the way. I don’t know if he has done it for the other former Arsenal players you have mentioned (Bergkamp, Garde, Van Bronckhorst, Overmars, Henry, Arteta). And I don’t know if Ferguson has done it for the Neville brothers, Hughes, Bruce etc… maybe Arsene wanted his former players to find their own way.
“It’s a shame that all those who left Arsenal always have had a good relationship with him. It is a bid sad not to see any old Arsenal players in the coaching staff, and I am not talking about the first team only. There is only Freddie Ljunberg (who coaches the U16).
“All the players you mentioned have a common characteristic: they love the club. After all, because you have been a player at Arsenal does not mean you deserve to coach there. Everything must be earned, but the willingness for me is there.”
He then explains the way he started in the coaching world and what he could have offered to the club.
“The willingness to work one day at the Arsenal, I am convinced that what I have done at Manchester City, ie working with the youth teams, spending time with all the administrative department in the club to know how it works off the pitch, many could have done it at Arsenal.
“Saying that, you cannot come like a bulldozer saying I want to be Arsene’s number two or nothing at all. But if a former player who gave many years’ service to the club wants to work with the u13 or the u15 why not?”
Basically, the papers have turned a five-page long interview with Vieira on his coaching life into a personal attack on the Arsenal manager with all the main sites following and copying from each other as they tend to do.
It was quite a balanced interview overall and not what the papers made it look like.
The Arsenal fans are better off reading the interviews and quotes in the original language before making their own opinion rather than trust and believe the rubbish spouted by the papers (or checking here where we do our best to translate accurately and give context to quotes).
It is wrong that fans turn on managers and players for things they did not say or do, and it seems to be a recurrent habit among Arsenal fans….and the media!