Venter leaves a cult hero for exposing interview hypocrisy
Brendan Venter, Saracen’s idiosyncratic coach, has returned home to South Africa leaving opinion sharply divided in Britain after a surreal televison interview which has won him a cult following on YouTube.
In response to nine questions in 57 seconds, Venter parodied a parody after Saracens had lost a Heineken Cup match to Racing Metro.
Venter, who was fined for his outspoken comments in a post-match interview last October, this time decided to emulate a character in the spoof film “Mike Bassett; England manager”.
To this end he repeated or agreed to the questions asked by an increasingly frustrated Sky television interviewer.
“Why didn’t you win?”
“Ah, good question that. Very good question. Win. It’s important to win, it is important to win. We must try harder, absolutely.”
Sky television pundit and writer Stuart Barnes was not amused.
“The ‘madness’ of Brendan Venter might be the lasting memory for the YouTube generation who have guffawed their way through his desperate attempts at humour after Saracens lost to Racing Metro at home a fortnight ago,” Barnes huffed in the Sunday Times.
An alternative view is that the relentless barrage of television interviews immediately after a match are equally desperate.
They are usually, if not invariably, conducted on behalf of a network which has paid large sums to buy the rights to the sport, match, league or series. The questions are usually anodyne and the answers equally uninformative.
The frustration for sports reporters, who even if they are not under pressure to insert quotes in their stories feel they should anyway, is that the standard media conference away from the television cameras can be equally unenlightening.
Managers and players are trained to talk in the blandest of cliches, a wall of soundbites deliberately revealing nothing.
Often their observations would have been blindingly obvious to any informed spectator.
And sometimes the replies could have come straight from the now notorious Venter interview.
“So you think it’s a lack of effort?”
“Ah lack of effort, lack of effort. Can’t think it’s a lack of effort.”
“So what is it Brendan?”
“Ah what would it be? Let me think…I’m not sure, I’ll have to think about that one. Think about it deeply.”
“Okay, thank you Brendan.”