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Suarez, Dalglish, Revie, Tinkler

I followed quite an interesting discussion on Linked In last week between a group of PR people who were asking what communications lessons had been learned after a traumatic PR week for the FA. Towards the end of it, a number of people commented that Kenny Dalglish ought to have been briefed quickly by his PR advisors; and that as he wasn’t, he would have been wise to keep his counsel when pushed in his post-match interview about something he evidently knew nothing about.

It reminded me of a story which has always amused me in connection with my dad – the sort of story which sits in its own era, and wouldn’t ever happen today. It concerned a match that took place in April 1971 between Leeds and West Brom.

You will no doubt remember the game in question, or at least dad’s commentary line which (in a fairly competitive field) remains one of his most-quoted: “and Leeds will go mad! And they’ve every right to go mad!”  (Personally I prefer the “and the Yorkshire spirit really coming to the fore” that followed a few moments later when there was a wrestling match between police and fans going on in the centre circle, but that’s by the by!)

The key moment in the match occurs 5 mins 55 seconds into the YouTube clip, but in short, the match story was this: Leeds had already had a goal disallowed for offside when West Brom’s Ken Brown, intercepting a pass just inside the  Albion half, actually stopped as he crossed the halfway line expecting the whistle, because Colin Sugget was in an offside position and the flag was waved. But as the Leeds players also stopped the ref waved play on, and Brown ran on and passed  to Jeff Astle, who scored to make it 2-0 to Albion. The match finished 2-1.

So much, so well known. But what amused me was what happened next.

In those days, the match commentator also did the post-match interview, charging down from the gantry following a quick piece-to-camera from the commentary position for the match report.

Dad got there ahead of Don Revie, who arrived for the interview absolutely steaming about referee Ray Tinkler, as you might expect. The decision, after all, is generally considered to have cost Leeds the title.

So Revie arrives, absolutely livid… And dad advises him to go back into the dressing room and calm down before going on air, or he might say something he’ll regret!!!!

I asked him about it the other day and he admitted, “I suppose my action was not exactly that of a journalist… But I knew him quite well at the time.”

I bet Dalglish wishes he’d had the same opportunity to take stock!


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