MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 12: Head coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid on the bench during the start of the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Levante at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 12, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Now that Andre Villas-Boas has bitten the dust, there's a sizable group of fans that want to see Jose Mourinho come back to Stamford Bridge. There's good reason for this - love him or hate him (and most Chelsea fans, understandably, love him), it's undeniable that Mourinho's one of the best managers in the world, and that makes him a very tempting target.
Naturally, the Daily Mail decided to rain on everyone's parade/rack up the hits with an article claiming that The Special One was on the verge of re-upping with Real Madrid. They even had some juicy quotes:
I am going to sign a new contract with Real Madrid. I would like to have a place in the club’s history. Real Madrid and I share a project and we are going to carry on with it. Being part of this team is a fantastic and unforgettable experience for a manager like me.
Madrid is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I feel happy here. I feel they trust me here and I feel I have the complete support of the directors and all the fans. I see my future as achieving more things with Real Madrid and better results that lead to us winning trophies.
Cue disappointment from the Blues faithful (and happiness from Madrid fans). Except...
And Sid Lowe, of course, is someone who'd know. Well then. Could it have been a mistranslation? That sort of thing has happened before, and it's not easy to report on news that's originally in a foreign language. I mean, it'd be pretty hard for me to see how you could get 'I'm signing a new contract with Real Madrid' from any sort of normal quote, but there had to be some way, right?
I have to admit that this is a little bit disturbing. I've given the mainstream football media plenty of flak for not really putting much thought into anything, but I've always defended them against accusations that they're simply making stuff up. When implausible transfer rumours pop up, I assume that an agent's leaked them to help out his client (see every Sergio Ramos to Chelsea story ever) etc etc etc. Accusing a newspaper of fabricating a story from whole cloth isn't something I'm comfortable with.
And yet, that's exactly what the Mail appear to have done here. I know that I'm just some guy with a computer rather than a graduate of journalism school and whatnot, but can we please have some more integrity and transparency in our reporting? Link sources, show your work and think about what you're writing. It'll make the world a better place. Football fans aren't craving made up sensationalist crap - they want to know what's actually going on, and by pulling this sort of stunt, if it is indeed a stunt, the Mail is doing them a great disservice.
This can't be the right way to do things. There's a better way, and I wish that the footballing media would actually do it.