GRA­HAM WESTLEY

The New­port boss opens up about ‘that’ press con­fer­ence at Plymouth

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

THERE was a lot of fuss made around a very mun­dane mat­ter af­ter our FA Cup sec­ond round tie against Plymouth when an in­ter­view in­volv­ing me was high­lighted. There is a lot of back­ground that went un­re­ported. Let me ex­plain.

At the end of the game, I was asked to walk across a car park to a ‘cabin’ where Sky were sup­posed to be wait­ing for an in­ter­view. I did that, only to walk into an empty room and be told ‘they must have gone’.

A 0-0 draw was hardly the most ex­cit­ing game to dis­cuss and I hadn’t ex­pected them to want to chat. I felt, though, I was be­ing messed around by peo­ple who ought to have re­alised there were no TV du­ties to ful­fill. Not to worry. All in a day's work. I moved on.

I was then fed in from the cold of the car park to a sec­ond ‘cabin’ area where the Press were wait­ing. As I en­tered the outer area, I was told Derek Adams was fin­ish­ing off and I said ‘no prob­lem, I’ll slip in and wait to one side’. I’ve of­ten done that be­fore and other man­agers have done the same when I am speak­ing. It is a pub­lic Press con­fer­ence, not a club board meet­ing, af­ter all. No big deal.

While I stood po­litely and qui­etly to one side, eyes down, a guy I pre­sume to be a me­dia of­fi­cer, in­ter­rupted the con­fer­ence, pointed at me and asked me to leave as if I was do­ing some­thing wrong.

I ques­tioned why, won­der­ing where the hell I was sup­posed to go and feel­ing like some­one was try­ing to score points and em­bar­rass me.

I was some­what be­mused to then hear Derek Adams jump to his feet, shout out some­thing like ‘let him go first if he wants to’ and then storm out.

I qui­etly left the room my­self and re­turned to my dress­ing room to get a cup of tea. I was in no rush. I was just do­ing my job and fol­low­ing instructions. I wasn’t try­ing to im­pose my­self or score a win­ner. When I later re­turned to talk, a lo­cal journo could not stop ask­ing about what had hap­pened. I told him clearly that I had ar­rived, as re­quested, at a Press room on the other side of a car park from my dress­ing room and was then asked to leave. But he just would not drop his ques­tion. It all felt to me as though some­one was try­ing to cre­ate an ar­ti­fi­cial war. Here I was, try­ing my best to meet the Press and dis­cuss the game, but it seemed to me I was be­ing treated a bit child­ishly.

I called the journo out and asked him to stop be­ing a ‘clown’. Next thing I know, the Plymouth chief ex­ec­u­tive is call­ing pub­licly for an apol­ogy from me for be­ing ‘con­fronta­tional and rude’.

He talked about me as hav­ing a track record for be­ing con­fronta­tional and rude. How big of him – not!

I do not ever re­call meet­ing the bloke. He has no ex­pe­ri­ence of deal­ing with me. Yet he con­sid­ers it’s his place to as­sert ‘fac­tual’ opin­ion about me. Is it right he should hammer me in that per­sonal way and give any­body who might hear him a ver­sion of me, based on no ac­tual knowl­edge? Very poor form in my opin­ion. Un­pro­fes­sional, dis­re­spect­ful.

A good friend of mine in the me­dia read his com­ments and mes­saged me: “Con­fronta­tional. That’s the na­ture of your job, but rude re­ally isn’t you.”

Jon Parkin left our club re­cently to move close to his young son and join York City. He sent a nice mes­sage to me when he left, say­ing he had heard sto­ries about me, that he de­cided to give me the ben­e­fit of the doubt and that he had proved to be right in mak­ing his own judge­ment. That is what hap­pens when you get to know a per­son rather than make up your mind based on hearsay. You find out the re­al­ity.

I’ll stand my ground and won’t let any­body have a free kick at my an­kle, but that isn’t rude­ness. That is self re­spect.

A re­porter on the Plymouth pa­per used dis­gust­ing lan­guage about me on twit­ter. His ed­i­tor, though, had the de­cency to apol­o­gise pri­vately in writ­ing and make a do­na­tion to Great Or­mond Street in com­pen­sa­tion. That is the right way of sort­ing out id­iocy from an em­ployee. He has my re­spect for hold­ing his hands up.

DOU­BLE BOOKED: Derek Adams

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