The worst Mason Greenwood hot take? That Man Utd striker ‘has some explaining to do’ on MUTV
Mediawatch would much rather not have to go into any great detail about the Mason Greenwood story, which seems pretty cut and dried to most sensible people. But when Henry Winter writes such a damaging, nonsensical article in The Times it becomes impossible to ignore.
For once, this is not an author stitched up by the headline writers. If ‘Mason Greenwood must not play for England again’ was the gist of Winter’s message there would be no problem. They’ve done him a favour if anything.
After an opening paragraph which first extols ‘the talent, the fearlessness and two-footedness in the penalty area’ of Greenwood, comes this:
‘The pausing for thought is because the situation is so complicated, because all the charges of attempted rape and assault have now been dropped against Greenwood, but he has some explaining still to do to his club and to his fans.’
That’s right, Greenwood ‘has some explaining still to do’. Like he was late for training or broke a vase playing football in the living room while his parents were out.
Winter is right in saying Man Utd have been put into a theoretically difficult position but this line is baffling:
‘United are aware of a duty of care towards a young player but they also have to be mindful of protecting their own reputation.’
All sorts could be said about that ‘duty of care’ but f**king hell, it takes some contorting to view this entire thing through the prism of Man Utd’s PR. It has absolutely nothing to do with them ‘protecting their own reputation’ and everything to do with morals and doing the right thing.
‘Greenwood’s a fabulous centre forward, one of the most naturally gifted English footballers to emerge in the past 20 years, but United are doing fine without him.’
And if they were outside the Champions League places and not in a cup final then Greenwood should be welcomed back in with open arms?
‘United need a striker of Greenwood’s calibre but do they need the PR disaster that keeping him could entail?’
Again with the ‘PR disaster’ angle. Considering the charges which were brought against Greenwood and subsequently dropped, as well as the pictures and audio clips which the Crown Prosecution Service allege to involve the 21-year-old, how are you making this about a club having to manage their public image?
‘As they pause, the club will consider many ramifications. Do they want their supporters divided on the issue? One popular forum had to suspend comments after the CPS announcement. Do they want to risk alienating and angering their women’s team?’
Because women are famously the only people who can be angry about things like alleged rape.
‘Where there is no need for pausing is in arguing that Greenwood cannot play for England again. Just not happening. England is an honour conferred by the manager. What message would it send out if somebody who has been associated with headlines like these, who has still to explain the audio, pulls on an England shirt? The fans would rebel, stating he does not represent them.’
Of course Henry Winter suggests a club career is fine and his team have a decision to make but he insists there is no conceivable way that Greenwood can ever play for England again. Of f**king course he does. God Save The King. Sweet Caroline. Three Lions and all that.
But how does Greenwood get his career back on track? That really is the question everyone no-one is asking.
‘Greenwood has enough people advising him but here’s this, gratis: do an honest, humble interview with the widely respected Stewart Gardner at MUTV, the club’s in-house television channel, when United complete their investigation. Explain yourself. Apologise for the embarrassment brought on the club. Reflect on events. Then rebuild your career – abroad.’
Oh good lord. Where to start with that? The idea that ‘an honest, humble interview’ would fix things; the implication that talking to ‘the widely respected’ Stewart Gardner is a necessary step to rehabilitation, akin to a full and frank sitdown with Oprah; the mention of MUTV(!), as if he’s discussing a recent bad performance; the repeated suggestion that Greenwood ‘has some explaining to do’; the description of this entire ordeal as ‘events’; the advice to ‘rebuild’ in the all-encompassing ‘abroad’, because foreigns famously don’t give one shiny sh*te about trivial things like alleged rape and a few goals in the Bundesliga should sort everything.
Football really has no clue how to deal with actual real-life things that matter. And ending it all with a live poll asking whether Greenwood should play again, like this is Kate Garraway asking Good Morning Britain viewers to vote whether they have breakfast or not, is the final insult.
There is one person who ‘has some explaining to do’ and that is the Chief Football Writer for The Times because that entire article is abhorrent.
Winter’s article was quoted by Nicky Campbell at the start of his BBC Radio 5live broadcast in perhaps the single most ill-advised national phone-in ever conceived.
The whole thing is predictably an utter mess. Literally the second caller says Greenwood should be allowed to play again because he’s a really good young footballer and the only person who should no longer be associated with England is Gareth Southgate, before admitting he hasn’t “seen the audio”. It’s unfathomably dreadful.
And finally, the following outlets can do one:
‘Mason Greenwood REMAINS on Man United’s Premier League squad list and is still on the club’s official website as all attempted rape and assault charges against him are dropped’ – MailOnline.
‘Mason Greenwood included in Manchester United’s latest Premier League squad list’ – Manchester Evening News.
‘Mason Greenwood remains on Man United‘s Premier League squad list after charges dropped’ – The Sun website.
‘Man Utd make Mason Greenwood squad decision for Premier League after charges dropped’ – Daily Star website.
‘Mason Greenwood included in Man Utd Premier League squad despite club inquiry’ – Daily Mirror website.
He was in September’s squad list and remains there because he’s an Under-21 player who is still employed by the club. There is still zero chance of him playing and implying otherwise is loathsome click-mining on a subject that has to be off-limits.
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