While all the focus should have been on the team’s latest steps towards Rio 2014, controversy overshadowed the build up.
A communication faux pas kicked things off as England manager Roy Hodgson became a little too trusting on the Tube as he revealed to fellow commuters that Rio Ferdinand was not in his latest squad. A squad that wasn’t due to be announced until the following day.
Full credit to Hodgson for taking public transport rather than the ‘limo’ option selected by many. And further credit for talking to fellow passengers on the London Underground rather than, as he put it, “sitting there tight-lipped”.
However, his PR team were probably wishing he had gone for either the limo option or the tight-lipped option once the newspapers hit the stands the following morning.
Luckily for Hodgson, his well-oiled PR machine swung into action to implement a crisis management plan and limit the damage to the England manager’s reputation. Whistle-stop tours of the broadcast studios and hastily scheduled interviews with the nationals allowed Hodgson to get his message across almost immediately.
And the PR gurus looking after Ashley Cole must have nearly crashed their cars upon hearing of the left-back’s Twitter actions.
Cole took to the social media platform and called the FA “a bunch of t***s” following their accusation that he “evolved” his statement in support of John Terry, who had been charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Cole promptly removed the tweet and offered his apologies to the FA.
Regardless of whether the apologies have been accepted, it is scary that with an army of PR and media advisors around them, veterans of the game like Hodgson and Cole still find ways to take the focus off the pitch.