Having worked on Fleet Street for some time, I can well imagine the discussions that went on at a press conference where William Gallas’s comments about his Arsenal and France team-mates were first discussed.
Share and share alike is the edict for commonly available information such as press conferences and books which have not been tied down to exclusive media deals.
So it comes as no surprise that the decision was taken universally to use William Gallas’s comments about his departure from Ch*vski today, when readership is highest ahead of Sunday’s match.
I don’t blame Gallas for wanting to put his side of the story about his time with the Ch*vs, and I can appreciate that publishing an autobiography when your profile is still high makes commercial sense.
But I’d like to take this opportunity to plead with Arsène Wenger to ensure new CEO Ivan Gazidis inserts a non-publication clause in all new contracts....
There are enough deals done between agents and clubs thesedays to ensure image rights look after players’ incomes – the financial rewards of selling book rights are not in the same class as a boot deal or a major sponsorship deal.
When you look back at recent history, no good has come of books published while people are still in their jobs. Our own David O’Leary, when at Leeds, and then-England coach Glenn Hoddle both lost their jobs due to controversy in their books.
Roy Keane fell foul of the FA after admitting to try to cause harm to Alf-Inge Haaland during a Manchester derby and there are numerous other cases too.
The case of Tony Adams is different - ‘Addicted’ dealt with matters which, due to his incarceration, were already in the public eye. And Tony Cascarino waited until his career was over before admitted that his heritage probably didn’t warrant selection for Eire.
Arsenal’s form is stuttering to say the least and Ch*vski’s failure to complete Champions League qualification this week has prompted criticism of their effectiveness despite their imperious domestic form.
If nothing else, Gallas’ comments will serve as a further incentive to Ch*vski to put us to the sword – and with the pressure on Willie already after recent events, I wonder how he will cope.