The Foot­ball League Paper

Let’s not get car­ried away with spy row

The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

IT’S been dif­fi­cult to avoid news of Spy­gate over the last cou­ple of days – ev­ery­one seems to want to have their say. To set the scene, Der­byshire Po­lice said of­fi­cers were called to Derby’s train­ing ground on Thurs­day morn­ing and a man was spo­ken to at the perime­ter fence, but no ar­rests were made.

Leeds United man­ager Marcelo Bielsa then said he took re­spon­si­bil­ity for a mem­ber of his staff be­ing the man in ques­tion.

Not sur­pris­ingly, Derby, and man­ager Frank Lam­pard in par­tic­u­lar, weren’t amused.

Bielsa said: “I talked to Frank Lam­pard and he told me I didn’t re­spect the fair play rules.

“I have a dif­fer­ent point of view but the im­por­tant thing is what Frank Lam­pard and Derby County think. I didn’t ask per­mis­sion from Leeds United to do it so it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“With­out try­ing to find a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, I’ve been us­ing this kind of prac­tice since the qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the World Cup with Ar­gentina.” But that didn’t wash with Lam­pard. “At least, on a sportsman’s level, it’s bad in my opin­ion,” he told Sky Sports.

“If we’re go­ing to start talk­ing about ‘cul­tur­ally, I did it some­where else’ - that doesn’t work for me.

“If I’m lucky enough to do well and travel to an­other coun­try I’ll find out what the eti­quette is in that coun­try and abide by that. “It’s dis­rupted our build-up to this game.” Our colum­nist Gra­ham Westley, a very ex­pe­ri­enced man­ager, has said it wouldn’t have both­ered him and Tot­ten­ham’s Ar­gen­tinian boss Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, who played un­der Bielsa, also didn’t seem to think it mat­tered too much.

The FA may well think oth­er­wise, but per­haps rookie boss Lam­pard was a lit­tle naïve in let­ting it dis­rupt his plans.

Per­haps it’s bet­ter for him to mark it down as a les­son learned and put it down to ex­pe­ri­ence.

In a sport that comes down to fine mar­gins, ev­ery­one will seek to gain an ad­van­tage if they can.

Whether you think that is right or not is an­other mat­ter, and Bielsa’s ac­tions have left a some­what sour taste, but let’s not make too much of it.

On the pitch, his team were far too good for Derby on Fri­day night. And what­ever the ‘spy’ saw, it couldn’t have had that much of an im­pact.

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