Should Managers Be Forced To Shake Hands?

After Mark Hughes’ Manchester City side produced a 3-0 victory Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the Carling Cup quarter-finals last night, Hughes was found looking unsuccessfully for his counterpart Wenger before the traditional post-match shake of hands. Wenger of course is no stranger to controversy and rarely retreats in his opinions or criticisms, and he can be described slightly ungracious loser at times. Wenger again told it how he saw it and said: “I am free to shake hands with whom I want after the game.” The Frenchman does have a point, it is indeed a free country, but is it too much effort to show a small token of respect to fans watching worldwide? Hughes accused Wenger of “not knowing how to behave” after the match. Early on in the match last night, the pair crossed paths as Hughes scurried into Wenger’s technical to retrieve a ball, which Wenger did not react too kindly to. It does seem petulant, and a bit of a non event to get worked up over, but the likes or Martin Jol and Alan Pardew would inform you that the Frenchman is sometimes partial towards a spot of handbags at 20 paces.

The main question here is should managers be forced to shake hands after matches? Bolton manager Gary Megson has slammed Wenger’s snub and remarked “you can do whatever you want, say whatever you like during the game but after the game, you should shake hands – even if you don’t particularly mean in.” When managers fail to show mutual respect at the final whistle, it reeks of a bad example, this effect is prolonged by the fact that Wenger played a young side inexperienced in big club matches. It is a sad day when a club is fairly beaten by quite a margin and a manager cannot be doing with holding his hands up and saying “fair play.” This lack of respect between managers is dangerous and can rub off on other parts of the game, there is a huge campaign on respect for referees, but why not any talk to promoting respect between managers? Why not give the referee or assistants a chance to step in if sour words are shared between managers?

On the other hand (pun slightly intended), managers not shaking hands is not as big a problem as diving, racism, foul play or any other pressing issues in the game. When all is said and done, how much difference does a handshake make? Half of the time it does look insincere and half-hearted as both parties outstretch arms through hordes of staff congratulating or commiserating, and then rush off in their opposite directions down the tunnel. Wenger and every other manager has a right to an opinion, and if he did not like Hughes encroaching in his technical area, then fair enough. Passion and emotions run high in the game, and managers may not even like each other in the first place. In every walk of life including everyday work, personalities clash but after clocking off time (or the 90 minutes) everything is done and dusted and you get on with your life afterwards.

Do you think Mark Hughes is just being melodramatic by criticising Wenger’s actions? Do you think Wenger was just showing his passion for his team by failing to accept defeat with a stiff upper lip? Tell us in the comments what you think and get involved in the debate.

22 thoughts on “Should Managers Be Forced To Shake Hands?”

  1. You should never be forced to shake hands. The managers should have enough common sense to do this on their own. Wenger has shown bad sportsmanship and now is going to be the centre of a media furor which he could easily have avoided. I am an Arsenal fan and miss the old Wenger. The last 3 years have shown him to be a sore loser and very petulant. Grumpy old man syndrome kicking in.

    1. Agree 100% Simon. Equally ungracious were his public comments after the Chelsea game. Is he that deluded that he felt Arsenal were the better side? Now his excuses about the failure to win any domestic silverware for four years actually match that of the most extreme Arsenal fans…ie. we are the most attractive side in England, so if we don’t win, who cares? We play the best football.

      Arsenal does play the most attractive football, but Wenger seems now to minimize the results and is saying something along the lines that we entertain so we don’t have to win.

      Very strange.

  2. I am an Arsenal supporter, so I am probably not impartial in this matter. But to be fair to Arsene, Messr. Hughes spent the better portion of the 90 minutes barking insults and even swearing at Wenger at times from his own technical era. I suspect that Wenger said some of his own unsavoury things in return, though it is tough for me to tell from the replays I have watched.

    Given that, it seems remarkably unfair to demand that one shake the hand of another who has been verbally abusing one all game. If you think the lack of a handshake is reflective of bad sportsmanship, I agree; but equally or moreso is the behaviour that prompted the refusal to shake hands in the first place.

    In competitive sport there is always going to be a measure of verbal and physical gamesmanship. The phenomenon of “trash-talking” is quite prominent in North American sports like the NFL and the NBA, and the “pest” role in the NHL is very common – a player who jabbers at another just to get under the skin. Mercifully, this sort of behaviour is at least lessened in football: it is the exception rather than the rule. Generally, footballers play and share the game together in a more amenable way. But even that rule has exceptions. Players dislike certain players and managers dislike certain managers. Sometimes that becomes vitriolic enough to spill from the bounds of reasonable gamesmanship to a more personal level. It would be better for the game as a whole to keep that level of dislike down and out of the spotlight, but when it does surface, I have no problem in not forcing people to play hypocrite and take abuse for a game only to have to say “fair play, well done, thanks for the insults” at the end.

    1. I was going to post a long post like this, but there’s no need.

      Mark Hughes is a pathetic, desperate man. His team is not good, despite its price tag. They’re not making the top 4. He’s not keeping his job. So after acting like an ass all game he has the gall to take the high road? Please.

      1. “This author gets it”

        too bad she thinks Alex Ferguson is the manager of Everton :-/

        From the linked article:
        Just imagine Sir Alex Ferguson and Benítez sharing a microphone after a Merseyside derby

      2. Amy Lawrence at The Grauniad gets it? The Sun is a reputable news outlet compared to the horrible Guardian. And at least the Sun doesn’t take continual pot shots at England and the English.

        Wretched agitprop, the Grauniad.

      3. Yeah the guardian is a fantastic source of football journalism.

        She’s completely right about Alex Ferguson not shaking Benitezs hand after a Merseyside derby. He wouldn’t… probably because he wouldn’t be there but thats besides the point.

        1. Yeah, yeah, yeah…
          I don’t read the guardian with any regularity. And I don’t even know who Amy Lawrence is. The Merseyside bit was a poor piece of writing.
          But as to the main topic, she was the only writer I saw who got it right.

          And since all of you clever fellows chose to attack the source and not the argument, I’ll just assume that you agree.

  3. Whatever goes on in a game between the two managers or the players, or anybody else, at the end of the day, you can shake hands and, for about a second, remember it’s only a game.

  4. “but is it too much effort to show a small token of respect to fans watching worldwide?”

    This is absurd. Respect for the fans? You actually sit in front of your TV and wait for the managers to shake hands? Nonsense.

    “This lack of respect between managers is dangerous and can rub off on other parts of the game”

    What on earth are you talking about? Dangerous? Not shaking a foul-mouthed jerk’s hand is dangerous? Please.

  5. I do believe Hughes deserved what he got and should not be whining about the lack of respect shown to him. If you are going act in the manner that Hughes did throughout the whole game you cannot expect to be treated with respect after it.

  6. I’m probably just echoing what everyone else has said but…

    You should shake hands. But you should not be required to shake hands.

  7. I don’t really understand the whole anti-Wenger thing.

    I’m a Manchester United fan so I have no reason to defend anything Wenger does and Arsenal are naturally our rivals so I’m glad they are losing.

    But I don’t see what Wenger did wrong here. In any other league if you didn’t shake anybodies hand it doesn’t matter.

    The reason it doesn’t matter is because they are not trying to force a respect campaign down your throat. You don’t have to embrace foir the camera to show everybody the FA’s respect campaign is working.

    It still doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s not a bad thing to embrace after the match but you don’t have to do it and you certainly shouldn’t be forced to.

    Let’s get real here he didn’t do anything wrong he just made a choice that did ring with popular opinion.

  8. I’m a Gooner, but Wenger is a terrible loser. In a perverse way, I’m looking forward to watching a Stoke City victory tomorrow morning on Fox Soccer Channel. Why? Because I’m dying to see Wenger completely freak-out. Perhaps, he’ll slug Tony Pulis. After shaking his hand, of course!

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