David Moyes has banned The Mirror’s David McDonnell from pre-match press conferences at Carrington because he has leaked the correct team line-up hours before kick-off in the past few weeks.
This was the only hand that Moyes could have played because he would not know the identity of the player or member of staff who has leaked the information.
The reality is that McDonnell’s mole will not be affected by being banned from the press conferences as he will still have contact with his source but this is about a statement of power and control from Moyes. It is not an attempt from the manager to censor the press but merely the first thing he could do to try and stop the information from being leaked if he doesn’t know who the leak is.
Sir Alex Ferguson hailed both traits as two of the foundations of his reign and the last thing Moyes will want his players to think is that somebody from within the club can leak private information such as the line-up without there being consequences.
There is a sour undertone to McDonnell’s article aimed at ‘control freak’ Ferguson but the fact of the matter is that a manager has to maintain control over his players. Somebody giving team line-ups before the club wants to announce is clearly a challenge to that power.
Nobody knows who the leak is but it will be interesting to see whether McDonnell continues to publish the team news on Saturday earlier than anybody again.