I was literally putting my coat on to leave the 888casino Champion of Champions event in Coventry when the latest Mark Allen controversy broke.

After his match against Ali Carter the two players came into the pressroom together. Carter went to the main press conference, which I attended, and Allen sat down to speak to a local radio reporter, who asked him a generic opening question along the lines of “it wasn’t your day, can you tell us how you feel?”

Unprompted, Allen then stated that he had been disappointed by Carter’s behaviour in the arena, accusing him of resorting to “tricks” and “antics” to distract him.

The reporter quite reasonably followed up by asking for examples of what Carter was supposed to have done but Allen did not elaborate with specifics.

He didn’t seem especially angry, more like a man stating his opinion. By the time the wider media was alerted to what he had said, Carter had departed to prepare for his evening match against Neil Robertson so could not be asked for his version of events.

On the Richter scale of Allen controversies this rates pretty low. Carter, frankly, is tough enough to defend himself. I suspect any noise or movement on his part was purely accidental but I wasn’t in the arena and didn’t watch every moment of the match.

However, anyone with any journalistic sense knows that one player accusing another of deliberately putting them off is a legitimate story.

Allen chose to say this in an interview, so obviously knew – or even demanded – that it would be reported.

It was therefore disappointing that, having had flak on Twitter – not a nice experience I’m sure when it’s from people who weren’t there and possibly hadn’t even heard the interview – he chose to blame the media for the whole thing.

“I’m only have a reputation cause the media print the stories their way,” was one tweet.

No, Mark, you have it because of things you have chosen to say in media interviews. You have a right to say them. Others have a right to either agree or disagree with them.

It seems these days everyone is an expert in the media, particularly if they’re not journalists.

I have been one for 15 years. In that time, I can honestly say that instances of a player being ‘stitched up’ by members of the press have been extremely rare.

In fact, most often problems occur when the original story filed has been rewritten by someone in a newspaper office and inaccuracies inserted accidentally.

When it has happened deliberately it has angered the other journalists who are doing their best to promote the sport because it reflects badly on the media as a whole.

However, there is no media agenda against Mark Allen. There just isn't.

He is actually quite popular, precisely because he is prepared to say what’s on his mind, which leads to stories more interesting than “I’m pleased to win and hope to go a long way in the tournament.” But with freedom of speech comes the responsibility for what you say. That responsibility is his.

The media’s is to report what happens and what is said. That is all that happened today. That is what I am doing here (I’ve taken my coat off now).

I wasn’t even going to write about it until I saw the whole affair being misrepresented on Twitter but I suspect it will blow over soon enough.


Snookerbrain1968 said...

Never bought in to his perceived popularity. Allen for me has always had the capacity for belligerence and immaturity in equal measure, especially in defeat.
If he felt that Carter was employing illicit tactics in an attempt to put him off then he should have addressed the issue during the match.
Empty vessels really do make the most noise.
Today's behaviour does nothing to convince me otherwise.

kimball144 said...

Gamesmanship goes on all the time
and when very subtle, then it is a fine art indeed.
Intimidating can be brutal though
and sometimes agespan is a decisive factor.
Those that remember the Carter - Trump match in the Crucible might have thought that the ref was weak,
not warning Carter for his antics!

Snookerbrain1968 said...

O'Sullivan proving once again just how far he is ahead of the rest. Total class during his destruction of Davis.
Only negative would be the unnecessary and over complicated use of different camera angles. One when cue ball is struck, another of the object ball falling into the pocket, another of the player's reaction, another of his opponents reaction, another of the crowd's reaction.
Can we just see the table ??
In fact, there's a job opportunity for McManus. Sit him beside the director and try and educate him on the basics of the game and let him know that there's more to it than potting balls.

The Blog said...

Great match between the Rocket and the Dingler.

Ding missed the blue to lose the match in the decider!