Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wenger's ways

UPDATED, June 10, 17.51.

There was a time when journalists looked forward to any event organised by Castrol. Credit must be given to the then Castrol PR Manager, Tan Cheng Looi, for keeping the Press happy not only in terms of the flow of information but also the due respect accorded to this bunch of underpaid journos.

Castrol was a major player in sports in the 90s, sponsoring the first local cycling pro outfit managed by 1991 Manila SEA Games bronze medallist, Wan Maizan Ahmad Radzi, Wan Zaleha's younger sister apart from investing heavily in motorsports.

The last time I dealt with Castrol was in 2003 when Real Madrid-bound David Beckham came to our shores. Almost 4,000 people came to see Beckham in the flesh at the KLBA Stadium in Cheras and the PC was fairly light-hearted but lasted, unfortunately for most present, less than 10 minutes. Beckham was introduced to the Press by the master of ceremony (a local PR guy who then had the gall to pose four questions himself and even answered on Beckham's behalf on a few occasions) as the world's greatest footballer, which drew an embarrassed look even from the former England captain.

Which brings us to the national Under-20 team's session with Arsenal supremo, Arsene Wenger at Dataran Merdeka on Tuesday. Apparently the NSTP group was not invited for the dinner the night before which was supposedly reserved for certain sections of the media.

I was told these days PR practicioners tend to be selective. Also during the meet the press session, I was told the media from Indonesia and Thailand, no doubt invited for the all-sponsored trip by Castrol, were given exclusive interviews with Le Professeur. Questions from the floor came mostly from Castrol people or the PR agency...it was bad PR, if you asked me!

Shabby treatment the local media is subjected to by the PR people is nothing new. We remain second class citizens in our own backyard.

In the case of Beckham's visit, the Press were asked by the PR people to send in questions and were reminded to follow certain "rules" imposed.

Among them, the media could not ask about his old club, his new club, his family and even his endorsement deals. Journalists were told to be there as early as 12.30pm even though the timing of Beckham's arrival was shrouded in mystery. Photographers could only take photos in the stadium if they accepted the "terms and conditions" that included not getting within 200 feet of the man. Well, what to do...

Original posting, Sunday June 7

Arsenal supremo Arsene Wenger will be making his way to Kuala Lumpur for the second time since 1999 with a coaching clinic and meet-the-fan session scheduled at Dataran Merdeka on Tuesday. Shortly after Arsenal's victory over Abdul Rahman Ibrahim's national outfit at the National Stadium over a decade ago, I tried to elicit a hearty response from the man from Alsace with this question: "Arsene, having worked with some of the best players in Europe like Klinsmann, Djorkaeff, Bergkamp, Overmars and Vieira, who do you think is the best among them?"
Typical of the Frenchman, he did not give a direct answer and simply said he has had the good fortune of working with great professionals.
Having transformed the Gunners into a respectable and championship-winning side from the days when they were tagged boring, boring, Arsenal, Wenger may need a new challenge. The 59-year old who arrived at Highbury in 1996 should broaden his horizons further.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

u mean coach malaysia?
muuuuaaahahahahahahah

Fowler is God but Torres is the new Almighty

Anonymous said...

wenger will be the manager of france someday soon.


for the game. for the world.

Anonymous said...

Wenger is an overpaid, overrated, underachieving dreamer. Correct me if I am wrong. he is a creature of a doe-eyed English press which fawns on him, as if he is god, when in actual fact, he is just an overrated provincial coach. Tell him to go to Real Madrid. Let's see what he can do.

Jehan Najib said...

hmm.. ponder.. :)

Gallivanter said...

I was there to see him in person.

Great stuff!

muhammad hakimi said...

Wuz there 2 see, speak & shake hand with Wenger. Not a great admirer of The Gunners but he himself is one of world's best. Harimau Muda squad must be so fortunate 2 have AW giving some precious tips from the master himself. Shuld listen also on how he unearthed George Weah talent from a raw gems to became World Player of the Year during on stage interview. For him to be M'sian coach in the future??...he must be joking but to handle Les Blues..perhaps. Who knows.

sportsmalaysia said...

No local media was invited for the dinner only international media from Indonesia and Vietnam, to name a few. We were informed that it was a 'private function'.

However, in an earlier Press Conference at 4pm, there were a few local media attended the event. (look here: http://www.sportsmalaysia.net/gallery/displayimage.php?album=180&pos=0)

On Tuesday, there were grouses among the local media, especially photographers who were not allowed into the pitch. Only "Official Photographers are allowed" to quote the person handling AW. Luckily for us, SEN's Zainal Abidin Rawop helped in getting into the pitch.

epain said...

pengajarannya...

lain kali kalau ada event yg melibatkan pr agency tu...boikot jelah....

biarlah sape pun yg dtg...

buat apa nak agungkan org lain dtg sini bila mana kita di layan sebagai kelas kedua....

Anonymous said...

just boycott the product and then team a lesson for appointing stupid PRs.

and for the rest of anons who are 'syok sendiri" pls understand the issue that bro rizal try to raise here. we are talking abt wenger. why are most malaysian (or maybe just those wo read this blog) so shallow minded, never understand issues.

do they think they are cute?

uknowmela! said...

memang tak puas hati....soalan kat wenger masa pc banyak ditanya oleh emcee, pastu "ekslusif" interview tak eksklusif langsung.. gila apa kalau masuk interview 7-8 orang sekaligus nak panggil ekslusif! kamera tv kat luar sangkar je, gambar block tapi boleh la pakai....yang paling marah, dinner tak jemput...makan free tu! hahahaha

u knw me said...

The whole event was conducted in an abysmal manner.

Treatment of media was shit but worse still was how the fans were treated. Wenger wouldn't matter at all if it werent for the fans.

The hundreds who gathered to greet their idol was told to go back after the organisers blew them off by saying there wasn't enough time. If that's the case, then why state that there'll be a meet-the-fans session in the first place?

Typical.

Anonymous said...

Bro Anon 11.25pm Mr. LC has opened the cans of worms so everybody chipped in their views. The PR company is local, but they always treated locals as 2nd class citizen. Don't blame the pay-master but our jurnalists team shuld 'blasah' these PR company. This is not the first time but believe me coming 18th of July when The Devils are in town the situation will be worst!!! Why b'coz...u know y. Where is Sports Writers Association (SAM) anyway? What are they doing now? Hello!!?!?!

Anonymous said...

no NOT the PR. u must have been mistaken. it is in the contract between AW n Castrol that ppl n journalist hav limited access. it depends on how much Castrol paid AW n team, then they only perform to watever is in the contract. other than that, they will not do, including allow ppl to ask abt the premier league. frm my experience organising events of stars, footballers, bands, contract stated a lot about limiting media, bcz this ppl hav image rights. you want interview, you want 30 mins video, you pay. even astro as official broadcast for chelsea last time, did not get exsclusive interview or even meet the players. its in the contract, no pay no media coverage. they all have image rights. its how they make money, not like us. its sad but thats the way it is.

but what i notice from the AW visit is that, he noticed where we did wrong, from basic running, posture, infront of of Harimau muda coach, Ong Kim Swee. malu la.

rizal hashim said...

Anon 11.33am,

Thanks for the perspective.