Having more than my fill of the German press for the past two years, I suppose nothing could surprise me in the way of the ‘negativity’ that surrounds their attitude towards their national team and the way those within their game seem determined to undermine them, and especially Joachim Löw every step of the way.
It should, I suppose, equally not have surprised me that one of the main protagonists in this campaign has stepped forward in the form of the ever-embittered Michael Ballack.
He decided yesterday that we all had to be aware that in his opinion Joachim Löw will leave after the World Cup,
The exact term used was “wird” (will) and not “should”, and Ballack was expressing more what he thought would happen than what he himself wanted to happen (a subtle difference missed out on by most). However he would have known full well that the headline writers would have no trouble extracting the “Löw must go” element from what he said and using this as their leader the next morning, this then being repeated over social media until any verbatim quote is well and truly lost.
And this the very day the team began their preparation camp, ready to start on their journey to Brazil. Let’s cast doubts on the coach’s future. Coincidence? I think not.
For the past two years we have suffered the spectacle on many occasions of Uli Hoeness’s diatribes against the Bundestrainer, always coming on the very day the team assembled for an international break. Now he is otherwise engaged, it would appear we have a new man only too keen to step into his shoes of acrimony.
We are not debating anyone’s right to free speech here, that is a far wider issue for us to believe in. What we are talking about are the motives behind such behaviour and whether they are in any way constructive to those young players just starting out on their career and with such a challenging task ahead of them.
Let us compare his attitude to that of David Beckham =- also in the news yesterday. Stating that England had a great chance of reaching the latter stages in Brazil, he also commended Roy Hodgson for what he has done for the team. Any comment on what may or may not happen to Hodgson after the World Cup? Would he leave? Would he be sacked? Of course, not, his only aim was to encourage and support, as has been his mission at all levels since retiring from the game.
Imagine a young member of the England team waking up this morning and hearing the confidence shown in them, such an idol within the game believing they can do it. England may not win the World Cup, but the morale boost of those comments from such a figurehead can only act as a source of inspiration for the players, short and long term. Beckham’s behaviour since he hung up his boots has been worthy of total admiration and is the very model of how to act in moving away, yet staying involved, in a sport that has brought him so much.
And it is in stark contrast to that of his German counterpart whose only desire appears to tarnish the memory of his playing days and become football’s “grumpy old man”.