“Criticism is part and parcel of football but..”

NI football team manager Lawrie Sanchez has re-appeared to confirm that he will stay in the role to see out the rest of his contract. After, reportedly resigning verbally on Wednesday, he’s cited the media criticism following the defeat by Iceland as the main reason for his questioning whether he would continue as Northern Ireland manager. Added Full statementFrom the BBC report

“During my time in charge, we have risen 52 places in the FIFA rankings, beaten World Cup quarter-finalists, England and Spain, as well as drawing with World Cup semi-finalists, Portugal

“One more victory would take my record past that of every manager since Billy Bingham.

“Despite these successes, the level and ferocity of the criticism from certain sections of the media has astonished me,” the statement continued.

“Criticism is part and parcel of football but some of the criticism has been out of all proportion, especially when considering the team had not won for 15 matches and had failed to score in 1298 minutes before I took over.

“It led me to question whether I wanted to continue as Northern Ireland manager and if the team could continue to make such progress in this climate of negativity.”


  • John East Belfast

    “There has been speculation linking me with managerial positions in England but I categorically deny the underlying events of the past few days have been sparked by any desire to return to club football.”

    That is not quite the same as saying I categorically deny that I have been linked to managerial positions in England over the last few days.

    Anyhow I am surprised he is so thin skinned as far as the media is concerned – why should he care what the likes Steven Beacom thinks and he should have used Wednesday night as an opportunity to answer them.

    Taking ruthless criticsim – whether he considers it justified or not – is what keeps everyone at this level on their toes. Otherwise people just pussy foot around them

    Lets move on – I hope he makes up with George McCartney in the same manner that he has obviously been chased by the GAWA and IFA.

  • young newt

    Lawrie is completely right. The facts speak for themselves.

    Beacom hasn’t kicked a ball in anger in his life and is completely clueless as to what football at this (or indeed any) level is about.

    His reporting and writing style is clueless, asinine and embarrassingly inept and he has all the literary flair of a P1 schoolkid with a crayon in his hand for the first time.

    Beacom is too fond of getting his face on TV and would be better off spending his time concentrating on learning to become a real journalist rather than starting ill-judged character assassination campaigns against people with infinitely more talent than him.

  • Great news. I’m delighted to hear he’s staying on, although I’m also a little surprised that it seems to have been entirely down to the local media, which admittedly was quite harsh considering it was the first match of a campaign. Then again I didn’t hear what was said on UTV by a certain local “sports journalist” either, and I’m sure being chased to the airport didn’t help.

    Regardless, I’m over the moon that Lawrie will still be our leader in Copenhagen.

  • POL

    I believe that the criticisms faced by Lawrie were
    prety much over the top.Im not a fan,although when they do play the bigger teams i cant help it and find myself egging them on.However i just cant understand the antics of some of these journos or so called pundits and their reactions to a bad result.Do they not realise the selection problems that Lawrie has and the little pool he has to fish from.

  • Miss Fitz

    I think the criticism should be taken in the context of what the man was going through in his personal life at this time. I read his partner’s mother was dying, and passed away near the time the match was played.

    There used to be a rule of decency in the media, and while you can be as thick skinned or used to critics as you like, there are times in our lives when we need a little space and consideration.

    From someone who knows nothing about football, it appears that this man has done a tremendous job in Northern Ireland, and should be treated accordingly.

  • T.Ruth

    Some of the younger sports journalist lack a sense of proportion in their reporting and display a total lack of sincerity and patriotic feeling.They have very good examples of restrained reporting and appropriate behaviour in Brodie and Gracey yet seem determined to behave like journalistic punk rockers.
    I can understand how Lawrie Sanchez feels when people with less education,personality, and experience in playing,coaching and managing teams jump to condemn the team and manager at the first reversal in fortunes.The same is true of those in administrative positions.
    Some of these scribes lack tactical understanding of football and fail to recognise that the most difficult problem for”small” countries is to develop consistency of performance. It is important to reflect on where we were before Sanchez-not since the Bingham era have we developed such a disciplined and professional approach to games, nor had so many great moments.
    Important also to look at where we are now and get behind the team and manager instead of fomenting strife and instituting witch hunts. At an official level it would be important for the administrators to stick to their role and seek less personal publicity.They seem to lack the perspicacity and diplomacy to know when to speak and when to maintain a dignified silence following collective reflection.

  • The Devil

    Oh shut up Sanchez you crying bastard, you sound more and more like the editor of Daily Ireland

  • young newt

    Well said The Devil!

    Their football team and their obsolete paper is shit compared to ours-

    Stand up for the Ulstermen

  • brendan,belfast

    The reporting after the Iceland match was crazy – i wasn’t surprised that he took it thick. But it also says a lot for where the Tele is heading. Witness Friday’s FRONT PAGE headline “It’s All Over”. the story beneath the headline belied the fact that it wasn’t actualy “all over” and what has happened today has really rendered Friday’s story and headline pretty embarassing for the increasingly tabloid like Tele.

    the Newsletter should take the moral / sporting high ground and go for Beacom and the Tekle on this issue. could be an early strike for the new editor if he wants to pick a headline winning fight!

  • Rory

    I really cannot believe all the serious, measured comment on this topic.

    Sport, particularly that delight, that circus of the masses, soccer, perhaps ,should be, perhaps, ought to be amenable to rational, objective, fair minded analysis and consideration.
    But we all know that it simply is not.

    It is not about records, nor even winning cups nor championships of leagues – it is always and ever about the last game – if you won, can you repeat it? If you won last time 0-3 away, then next game winning 2-1 at home is barely acceptable other than as a staving off of disaster.

    A manager is always in a better position if his season starts off crap and (if he stays) winning a few hopeless games at season’s end that yet keep him in the division than if his team were real crackers at the start of the season but then, for whatever reason, only finish below middle on the tables.

    Sanchez must say what he does, that is the role of Ron Knee that all managers must play but, come on lads, do we really have to treat it with any degree of import?

    After all Homer Simpson is still available to explain all this heavy stuff most nights of the week (well, in London anyway. Ain’t you guys allowed to watch him yet?)

  • Ziznivy

    Critisism is part of the game. He deserved criticised for Iceland, he deserved to have his penis sucked for Spain.

  • Rory

    That’s very nice of you, Ziznivy, but do remember that it is probably best to suck a mint beforehand than it is to eat a raw chilli-pepper.

    But I’ll bow to your greater knowledge (and Lawrie’s preferences) in this matter.

  • Billy

    I don’t blame Lawrie Sanchez. Beacom hasn’t a clue about football and also follows his own prejudices.

    He is a junior version of the equally untalented and extremely prejudiced Malcolm Brody. They both like the NI manager to be “one of the boys”. Beacom wanted Jimmy Nicholl and has been waiting to get his knife into Sanchez.

    What is really laughable is Beacom’s reporting on NI during the “fantastic” losing/non scoring streak presided over by McIlroy.

    As McIlroy was “one of the boys” Beacom gave him an easy ride. Yet when McIlroy walked out on NI to go to Stockport (for 1 dismal year), he used the media (particularly Beacom) as his excuse – transparent and pathetic!.

    For God’s sake – Beacom was harder on Sanchez for 1 bad result than he was on the manager who reigned over the longest non-scoring run in the history of European international competition.

    I’m glad that Sanchez has not allowed himself to be driven out. The IFA should make it clear to the Belfast Telegraph that, if they don’t keep Beacom under control, his (and their) access to the team will be severely curtailed.

  • “For God’s sake – Beacom was harder on Sanchez for 1 bad result than he was on the manager who reigned over the longest non-scoring run in the history of European international competition.

    I’m glad that Sanchez has not allowed himself to be driven out. The IFA should make it clear to the Belfast Telegraph that, if they don’t keep Beacom under control, his (and their) access to the team will be severely curtailed.”

    Well said that man!

    It would be a shame if it became more difficult to find out what was happening at the IFA and the NI team, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Beacom and/or the Tele found themselves locked out. I’m sure the rest of the media are more than capable of picking up the slack in a much more professional manner.

  • Doctor Who

    Let´s hope the sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph is reading this.

    The message is quite clear.


    I urge anyone with a similar opinion to email the tele with these sentiments

  • páid

    perhaps now is the time to revive the home internationals?

  • IJP

    Certainly there’s more to sports journalism than watching Match of the Day and writing down what the pundits say!

    perhaps now is the time to revive the home internationals?

    What’s in it for England?

    With the length of the seasons now and the fitness levels to be maintained, this won’t happen. Besides, there’s little point in playing more games against teams playing the “British” way, when most international teams play a different style.

    People really should stop talking about it, not least because NI’s the current holder!

  • Realist

    What exactly did Steven Beacom write or say after the Iceland game and before the Spain game that was unjust?

    Can someone post what Beacom wrote or said that would have caused such a hissy fit from Lawrie?

    This question has been asked repeatedly on another Board where Beacom is coming in for a lot of abuse, but nobody seems to be able to find the offending Beacom articles.

    If a football manager gets upset at some valid criticism (the Iceland performance was shambolic) in the media, one has to wonder if he is in the right job.

    Why didn’t Lawrie go into the press conference after Spain and give two curt fingers to the media that had so upset him?

    Something like. “I came in for some flak after Saturday. I hope some questions have been answered by myself and my team tonight. I’ll bid you good evening”

    Matter then closed.

    “I read his partner’s mother was dying, and passed away near the time the match was played.”

    Miss Fitz,

    I think Claire’s mother sadly passed away even before the Iceland game.

  • John East Belfast

    That was a strange endorsement by Beacom of Sanchez tonight – if it was that at all ?

    The headlines were of Beacom appearing delighted that Sancez could take NI to the finals but when you read it the headline was attributed to Terry Gibson his assistant.

    Then the next line he feels the need to “effectively” call Gibson a short ass.

    What use did the word “diminutive serve” in that piece by Beacom other than to undermine the praiser of Sanchez

    Looked like a calculated insult to me ?

    Maybe there is something in this vindictive attitude of Beacom after all

  • John North

    Missfitz: “From someone who knows nothing about football”

    Quite. A little off topic but a good extra in this week’s Irealnd’s Own to coincide with the All Ireland. Interesting articles include one on the Free State Army’s very substantial involvement since 1923 in the GAA and another on the history of GAA football. The first codified game of football (GAA not soccer) was played in Callan, Co Kilkenny, an irony given Kilkneny’s low standing. There is also a song on the Carlow team who won the Leinsiter title during the War (only time they won it).

    I am sure Fair Deal can add more insights, given his deep interest in our national games. GAA makes for much more stimulating fare. The NI soccer team is going nowhere, just like the no hopers south of the border. So NI beat the perennial under achievers of Spain.

    You know, the NI soccer mob is just like the South, pre Jack Charlton. They win a match and it’s like they’re contenders or something.
    Camogie gets a bigger following.