I am somewhat confused as to what is expected from a coach at a post-match press conference. While some coaches are praised when they show “refreshing honesty” as it is usually termed, and looked down when they read carefully prepared statements vetted by PR departments, Jogi, it would seem, has come under a considerable amount of criticism in Irish eyes for the comments he made after Germany’s defeat to Ireland last night.
We are not, it would appear, allowed to perhaps consider that Germany dominated possession, that they squandered chances that could easily have given them victory, or that Ireland’s goal hardly came from a piece of sparkling play.
No doubt had he complimented Ireland on their performance as a small nation, he would have been damned as patronising, as he has on many occasions prior to this match when commending unfancied opponents Germany have faced over the years.
‘Commentators’ barely able to pronounce or spell his name now seem to believe they know every aspect of his character, based on a sentence or a few words. Personal assumptions and abuse fill the air in equal measure, with accusations of ‘bitterness’ flying around with greater predictability than an Irish long ball.
If Ireland fans really want to know what bitterness is, perhaps I need to recall an experience many years ago. At Dublin Airport in 1990, I witnessed the delight on hundreds of Irish faces as Cameroon went 2-1 up against England in the 1990 World Cup. Having already been knocked out a couple of days prior, they just couldn’t bear to think that England might just progress farther and be more successful in the tournament than their side, so were fully pledging their support behind the African nation that I doubt many of them could even find on a map. Up until that day, I had always cheered for the Irish in a neutral match. I never did again.
Bitterness? The experts.
And seeing they are all so interested in what they perceive to be various facets of Jogi’s character and what he does or doesn’t do after a match, there is so much more they could really learn from him. It is, after all, a subject at which he truly is the master.
It’s called winning with humility and dignity.
My Ireland page is well on its way: