Avram Grant Annoys the English Press for Five Minutes and 39 SecondsBy: Daryl | April 18th, 2008
When faced with the media, Jose Mourinho could not stop talking. The Special One often charmed his way out of trouble when he or Chelsea came under fire from the English press. He was so good in front of the camera, he should have had his own show.
Avram Grant’s approach is a little different. Grant has had his own problems lately, like the press writing off Chelsea’s title chances and Tal Ben Haim not wanting to play for him. But when faced with the media after last night’s 1-0 win over Everton, Grant took the ultimate anti-Mourinho approach and protested by saying as little as possible. Read on for the transcript of a truly bizarre press conference…
Q: A deserved win Avram?
Q: What particularly pleased you about the performance?
Grant: ‘I’m pleased.’
Q: What in particular pleased you?
Grant: (after an eight second delay): ‘I don’t know.’
Q: Is it a relief to win here?
Q: You seem lost for words by the performance. Are you more satisfied with the performance or the victory?
Q: You seem distracted. Do you have a problem?
Grant: ‘No problem.’
Q: Is there an issue?
Grant: ‘No. I’m ok. I have nothing to say.’
Q: Do you have a message for the Chelsea fans?
Grant : ‘You represent the Chelsea fans?’
Q: They must believe you are still in the title race, do you have a message for them?
Grant: ‘No message.’
Q: Does this result mean you are back in it now?
Grant: ‘I don’t know.’
Q: How many steps have you climbed to undertake this press conference?
Grant: ‘I don’t know.’
Q: You seem less voluble than usual. Is it because of Sky TV moving the game to a Thursday?
Grant: ‘Maybe it’s because of you. I don’t know. I am ok.’
Q: You are saying that you don’t know if you are still in the title race?
Q: Is it easier to say nothing Avram?
Grant: ‘I don’t know what to answer. It is a good question. I don’t know what to answer.’
Q: Is this because of Sky?
Grant: ‘No. Sky is ok. I enjoy watching them.’
Q: Is it a protest against newspapers?
Grant: ‘No. Why?’
Q: Why else would you come in and refuse to answer our questions?
Grant: ‘I answer every question.’
Q: You are two points behind Manchester United and you don’t know if you are still in the title race?
Q: Have you told the players that you don’t know if you are back in the title race?
Grant: ‘What I tell the players is something else. You want me to tell you what I say to the players?’
Q: We just want you to answer the question, really. Are you in the title race?
Grant: ‘I don’t know.’
Q: Would you not like to gain some positive publicity for the result rather than this bizarre silence?
Grant: ‘I’m sorry. You can write whatever you want and I can answer what I want.’
Q: Do you feel under pressure to deliver a trophy. Is that the reason for the monosyllabic answers?
Q: Are you upset? Do you feel you have been misrepresented?
Grant: ‘Maybe I have said because it is a bad season.’
Q: Did Michael Essien faint?
Grant: ‘He had some problems, but he is ok.’
Q: Michael Ballack?
Q: What’s his problem?
Grant: ‘Ask the doctor.’
Q: He’s not here Avram.
Grant: ‘Well call him then.’
Q: Have you ever played the yes/no game Avram?
Chelsea press officer: ‘This is going nowhere. Let’s end it.’
For some strange reason this makes me like Avram Grant a lot more. If you read the questions he refused to answer – questions like “Are you more satisfied with the performance or the victory?” – they’re so asinine that no one really cares what the answer is anyway. The usual response is the same old same old, “the lads will be very pleased” and “we’ve got to believe we can win it” and all the other things we’ve all heard a million times before that don’t actually mean anything.
Mourinho’s approach was to answer these questions with long tangential responses, full of charm and charisma and establishing a matey relationship with all the journalists present.
Avram Grant? Not so much.
But while Mourinho and Grant’s press conference tactics couldn’t be more different, both approaches at least give us something outside the norm. Jose Mourinho used to deviate from that same old same old by saying way too much, and now Grant is shaking things up by saying very very little.
Unfortunately for Grant the media prefer people who say too much, because it gives them plenty to write about. So while Mourinho’s sideshows mostly kept the press on his side, Grant’s performance last night has probably earned him a pretty powerful new enemy.
Of course the big disappointment here is the timing of Chelsea’s press officer. He cut things off just as some clever journo asked the best question of the night. And I’m thinking Grant has to be a lot better at the Yes/No Game than Phil Neville.