sport news IAN LADYMAN: Erik ten Hag's honesty pays off over Jadon Sancho's Manchester ... trends now
One of the best exchanges between a football manager and a journalist I can remember took place at a dinner in the Midlands back in 1999.
Introduced to the lady from the Sun newspaper, one experienced manager of a lower league club said: ‘Ah yes, your paper is full of lies.’ He was doubtless rather surprised when the journalist nodded.
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘You tell us lies and we print them.’
The look on that chap’s face as he accepted rapid defeat in a battle of wits he himself had initiated has always stayed with me, as has one important lesson learned that day: don’t be intimidated. Think on your feet. Stand your ground.
Not all relationships between reporters and football managers are like that, not even now when genuine friendships are harder to develop in the modern game.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag deserves praise for his honesty over Jadon Sancho
Ten Hag realised telling the truth over Sancho's absence in the winter would help the winger
Nevertheless, most managers will occasionally lie to you in this business. They will be vague. They will obfuscate. They will lead you round the houses hoping you get lost on the way back. And, yes, when it’s absolutely necessary, they will lie too.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted it to me once. He used the media better than most, but as a last resort he said he would lie over two things in particular — player