Dear handsome, oh so lonely fellows, welcome back on this VD day. After spending the post earlier today complaining about meeja laziness and sloppiness, it was brought to our attention that one of our barbs at the Guardian was incorrect: we had accused them of fabricating a quote by paraphrasing the gist of what Tevez had said, which we’ve caught them doing before. The line in question, which we have since removed, was “The club statement protected the manager.” The quote originally came from the on-the-fly translation of our esteemed colleague @MundoAlbicelest. He did not enjoy the comfort – and, indeed, the shocking indolence – that allowed us to listen back a few times.
The difference is minimal but important; it’s a subtle difference. We were convinced the original quote was not accurate as it seemed surlier than his demeanour in the rest of the interview. It turned out it appears right after the video we put subtitles to, so lovingly, ended. So what could we do to rectify the situation? Simply remove the line after a whopping pub-at-eleven-in-the-morning-ful of people had read it? No, a retraction was necessary, a retraction and a clarification. So, wallowing in our own free time, we found the audio in question and scribbled out the transcript for you. An act of love.
It is important, however, as this part of the interview is arguably the cornerstone of Tevez’s defence as it justifies to a certain extent his subsequent flight. He claims that everyone at the club supported him in the investigation into what happened in Munich – everyone testified that he had not refused to play. The problem was that Mancini came out after the game, in a pretty understandable rage, and declared that Tevez had refused to play. That meant that, given the findings of the enquiry, the club was going to have to contradict the manager. This could cause all sorts of problems. In the event, the club chose not to do that. Tevez, therefore, had to leave.
Ol’ pegamequemegusta don’t have the tools to find out whether there is any truth to this or not. Tevez’s version of it, however, is coherent, free of equivocations, and he is not pushed along by the interviewer at all. (In fact, he changes tack, annoyingly enough). Moreover, he displays a level of understanding of the difficulty the club found itself in that we would not have expected (“The club found itself between a rock and a hard place”). We would love to know if there is any truth to what he is saying as it’s quite a compelling argument.
Picture it. Mancini, thunderstorm raging outside, a fire doing its elemental best to attract his attention like a poor juggler at a porn convention, brandy goblet sloshing in his palm like the fates of men, with the richness reserved for kings, his faithful scarf tucked into his collar. A messenger enters and states timidly that the enquiry has found that Tevez never refused to play. An owl hoots hoarsely; a waxwing coos at is reflection in a window as it glides past cooly. Give me pause, sirrah, quoth the Italian. He pets his pet giraffe. No, nevermore will that shit-stirring, disrespectful little tyro interfere in my plans! Not even that lanky elf Edin is a afraid of me anymore! He thinks i’m going to be the one to fall here? Not on your mother’s barnet, Carlitos. You’ve lost some of your stuffing now, me boy. No, the club can choose – it’s him or me. He looked down at his glass. The rolling waves of souls in the brandy parted to reveal a sunken city. And a penny. Mancini straightened his epaulettes. Still got it.
Tevez Fox interview continued [part one here]:
– So after that, they decide to fine you and you make a certain decision, no?
– Yeah, well I was okay with the fine but we still had to sort out how I was going to come back to the club. ‘Cause the manager wouldn’t even look at me. And I was worried, too, about how I looked in all this, as I was getting knocked around by everyone, everyone was having a go. In England, In Argentina, even in China, for jaysus’ sake. So I said: ‘Look i’m an employee of the club, just as Mancini is. You have to look after me just as much as you do him, as another employee of the club.’ But Mancini had said something that wasn’t true so the club was between a rock and a hard place. “If we go and say that Mancini lied, he might have to step aside.” That’s when I fell out with the directors, with the club management, ’cause they were saying that they weren’t going to put that in the statement. The thing about the statement was it had to find a way of saying that I hadn’t refused to play but that I had refused to warm up, all the while protecting the manager, without saying straight out ‘No, Carlitos didn’t refuse to play’.
– Now, Carlitos, you’re a guy who’s been playing football your whole life, who’s always wanted to play, so I imagine what was bothering you was – whatever about the personalities involved or the club – was that there was this unresolved conflict. It looked as if you had refused to play but what you were really annoyed about was this situation which hadn’t been cleared up properly.
– Yeah, that’s what I was annoyed about. The fine didn’t matter, nor did the suspension. I don’t care about two weeks wages. Just tell people the truth. Nothing else. But they weren’t able to do that.
– That’s when you decide to come back to Argentina. You think about your family, your loved ones. Just like all the players abroad who want to play there but are always thinking about Argentina. And apart from everything else, you surely wanted your people here to know what had really happened.
– Yeah, and besides that, just leaving the house in Manchester, to bring Flor to school, meant having five journalists following me. I’d go for a round of golf and there were ten more in every hole. I couldn’t live a normal life as it was all ‘Where’s Carlos Tevez? What’s Tevez up to?’ And then training 20 or 30 days with the reserves, with the youth players, 14 and 15 year olds. The kids were looking at me and they couldn’t believe what was going on.
– More autographs than training, I imagine.
– The team would train in the morning and when they were leaving at one i’d just be arriving. It’d be uncomfortable for anyone, no? So all that stuff, plus the fact I wasn’t in a good way, meant I came back here.
– So you came back here to get away from the situation over there and spend time with your family here.
– Yeah, but imagine I left without even telling anyone from the club. I was getting different legal papers, summonses, every day. I still am, asking me what’s wrong, why won’t I come back, saying I have to go for a medical…
– With Manchester City’s doctors?
– Yeah. The whole thing was really draining, exhausting, and I needed to get some solace with my family… Though they were saying I was fine and nothing was stopping me from going back to training with the club.
That’s enough of that. You get the drift.