Once upon a time many English football rumours, and indeed interviews presented as exclusives, had enjoyed their first life in a European newspaper.
The rise of fans getting their football news via the internet means it’s not so easy to lift these things without credit any longer. If a Spanish or Italian newspaper claims something, or gets interesting quotes, on a Monday, then by the Tuesday it’s usually everywhere, with credit given more often than not.
It still happens to an extent. Transfer rumours, especially in Sunday tabloids, will clearly be ‘inspired’ by what’s been reported elsewhere, but it’s not so often that newspaper columns are repackaged as interviews without any credit given.
That’s happened with former Everton manager Ronald Koeman and The Sunday Mirror this week. Koeman had a regular column for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf throughout his tenure at Goodison Park, providing a few snippets of interesting information for Everton fans.
De Telegraaf are brilliantly connected in Dutch football and have had column runs from the biggest names in the country’s football history. Koeman recently took a short break from his column, following his Everton exit, but returned on Saturday.
That column has since been repackaged by The Sunday Mirror as ‘his first major interview since leaving Everton’, without a hint of credit.
For avoidance of doubt, here’s what Koeman actually wrote in his De Telegraaf column: ‘It was over from one day to the next. That’s how it felt. I started something at Everton and wanted to finish it. That is why the disappointment is great. On the other hand, you also need to be realistic. If the performance at this level is substandard, then you have to take into account that this can happen. Yet the dismissal came unexpectedly.
‘I now give that feeling a place. That is why I didn’t discuss other offers. They were there immediately after I left Everton. A few from the Premier League and some other opportunities elsewhere in Europe. But again, I want to take some distance first. Also to properly list what went well and wrong.
That is why I am not going too far into my departure from Liverpool.
In the meantime I have time for other things. What I now particularly recognise is how a change has been made to my family over the last six years. Three years at Feyenoord, two years at Southampton and one year at Everton. Especially the three years in England have been intense. Especially because of the heavy competition, without a winter break. I only now really notice how it has gone.
Although I am healthy, I immediately notice the advantage of taking distance and gaining new energy. Just a different life and doing things that I have not been able to for years. My job as a manager in top football has had enormous consequences for my children and wife. That is why my free time is now for them. They are closer and that feels great.
I have been in South Africa for a while now, where I combine the pleasant with the useful. On the one hand, there is the sun, privacy and tranquility in a beautiful country. In addition, I can finally fulfill my role as one of the fourteen ambassadors of the Johan Cruyff Foundation.
I have visited projects in Johannesburg and Cape Town that have confirmed once again how special Johan has been as a player and coach after his active career. And how involved his family is to continue his ideas. Like his wife Danny, who has flown here from Barcelona to see how everything goes on behalf of the family. I think that’s very special.
It’s nice to experience this. If you are only occupied with football for years, you don’t get enough of these kinds of observations. Many people think the amount of money reimburses everything, but the life of a coach also has its other moments.
The wave of dismissals in the past weeks in the Premier League makes it clear that such a job is not always so special. Moreover, I expect that the end of it is not yet in sight.’
And that’s the former Everton manager in his column for De Telegraaf, not in an interview with an English newspaper.