Dave Craven: Passionate Lee Radford needs to bite his lip when dealing with media

Lee Radford.
Lee Radford.
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LEE RADFORD has admitted a few times before he is too truthful for his own good when it comes to his relationship with the media.

Like any Super League head coach, he is essentially duty-bound to attend press conferences within minutes of a game ending.

When his side has lost, that can often be a dangerous combination; Radford always speaks from the heart and, more often than not, is brutally honest about his side’s performance.

Now, in my position as a rugby league writer, I’m acting like the proverbial turkey voting for Christmas with my next statement.

Nevertheless, it is true... sometimes Radford says TOO much or, at least, says things he really shouldn’t.

For him to freely offer that the coaching staff were “kicked out of the changing room by the players” in the aftermath of Thursday’s 46-6 debacle at Widnes Vikings was sheer lunacy.

I was not at the game but am told stunned reporters knew nothing of this development and it was the Hull coach who served it up entirely of his own accord.

He added he had “no idea” why those players asked them to leave which only added fuel to the fire.

It smacks of a coach who has utterly lost control of his squad especially when the story gets boiled down to headline writing.

Yet that is probably nowhere near the actual truth about what occurred. Hull’s captain Gareth Ellis later said it was no “slight” on Radford or his coaching staff that they were not included for what was essentially an instant, no-holds-barred appraisal of their shambolic display.

The squad wanted – needed – to have some frank discussions between themselves to get to the root of the carnage, which is a situation that has occurred in dressing rooms of heavily defeated sides for as long as the game has been played.

Ellis, as professional a player as you could wish to meet and someone who must surely rue his decision to join the Black and Whites four years ago, is the perfect person to lead a squad out of such dross and it must be maddening for him seeing such performances served up.

However, he would never have expected his head coach to then go and tell the press he had been “kicked out” of that changing room.

That comes down to semantics, too, and Radford’s choice of words; any journalist worth his or her’s salt would jump on that terminology.

Considering the fanatical nature of fans in Hull as well, and the way social media now works, there was always going to be a completely avoidable frenzy.

What made things even worse was that Radford’s revelations allowed reporters to instantly ask Widnes coach Denis Betts – second into the press conference – his views on the whole matter.

He maybe shouldn’t have commented but did and, therefore, is on record as saying “if you can’t take them saying it in front of you, then you’re not the right person for the job.”

Admittedly, Betts added he thinks Radford is the right person for the job but also said: “He’s the leader of that group, he can’t leave that room.”

It all leaves such a taint on Radford and all for nothing.

He might be wise sending in one of his assistants to take some press conferences in the future or, at least, learning how to bite his lip a little more.

Leading a club with such high opinions of itself is hard enough as it is without heaping on more unnecessary pressure.