Arne Slot is a ‘borderland priest’ and loads cleverer than Erik ten Hag, so there

Editor F365
Arne Slot and Erik ten Hag
Arne Slot and Erik ten Hag

Arne Slot is the ‘borderland priest’ from Bergentheim, where his friends think he is cleverer than that other Dutchman that must be mentioned…


Have you heard the one about the priest?
We’re not saying the Liverpool propaganda energy is strong but…

Arne Slot: The borderland ‘priest’ who was born to coach

The Athletic‘s Simon Hughes gets awful upset if you call him a Liverpool fan-boy so we’re sure this is entirely down to the headline-writer.

Also, Mediawatch doesn’t normally do TV recommendations, but you really should watch Borderland Priest on iPlayer.


Slot machine
We suspect any Airbnb options in (borderland) Bergentheim have been booked up for weeks with chief sports writers desperate to get the inside track on the humble origins of one Arne Slot.

Oliver Brown of the Telegraph has visited and talked at length with various friends of Slot and you would be incredibly surprised to find that his friends in Bergentheim – where he returns every year to put on a coaching clinic – think he is a thoroughly nice chap.

Brown writes over 2000 words and has clearly taken a great deal of time over a piece which paints a picture of young Arne in this ‘bucolic setting’.

So we have some sympathy for the man that this is the nakedly click-bait headline that somebody has attached to over 2000 words of extensive research:

The making of Arne Slot – ‘he is more intelligent than Erik ten Hag’


It literally takes over 800 words for Ten Hag to even be mentioned. Because why should he be? They are both bald, Dutch and have won the Eredivisie, but that’s where the similarities end.

Brown writes:

One nagging doubt about Slot on Merseyside is whether he simply represents Erik ten Hag Mark II. Even the besieged Manchester United manager was the future once, arriving at Old Trafford on a wave of goodwill after winning the Eredivisie with Ajax, just as Slot did at Feyenoord last year. The two have an age gap of only nine years and grew up just 40 miles apart.

Another no-nonsense Dutchman, another Johan Cruyff disciple promising to reinvent “total football” in the Premier League? Liverpool supporters could be forgiven for claiming that they have heard this one before. Except Ophof insists, in defence of his star pupil, that they need not be worried. “Arne is more intelligent than Ten Hag,” he says, with disarming bluntness. “He is different.”

First, ‘an age gap of only nine years’ is funny. Hands up anyone who thinks that Pep Guardiola and David Moyes are essentially the same age.

Second, the Ophof in question who drove that headline is Jan Ophof, described as Slot’s ‘childhood mentor’. Does Ophof know Ten Hag? There’s absolutely nothing to suggest he does.

Certainly, a previous interview with Ophof saw him criticise Ten Hag for his handling of Cristiano Ronaldo, which pretty much echoed what the Bergentheim chairman had told The Times a few days before.

It would certainly seem his assertion that “Arne is more intelligent than Ten Hag” is based rather more on defending his “star pupil” than any inside knowledge of Ten Hag. So to make it the headline is really poor. And does a disservice to the job done by Brown.

But maybe if journalists stopped asking people in the Netherlands about Ten Hag when they should be talking about Slot then we would not have this issue.

And Brown does it again later in the piece:

This ease of communication is a key attribute in separating him from Ten Hag. None of the usual criticisms of the United manager – that he lacks warmth or human connection, that he is too stern in his manner – are likely, McDonald predicts, to be raised against Slot. “When I look at Erik in interviews, I can 100 per cent put on paper what he’s going to say. Arne will at least put a joke in now and then. He knows precisely who he’s talking to. He has this way of showing people respect but still getting a little dig in.”

Again, not inside knowledge but just what Rob McDonald – who coached Slot at FC Zwolle – has observed from Ten Hag on the TV.

And this is why the standfirst on that Telegraph headline reads thus: ‘Friends and mentors who have helped to shape new Liverpool manager’s rise believe he is cleverer and more empathetic than Old Trafford rival.’

Over 2000 words on the new Liverpool manager are boiled down to what some people in the Netherlands have seen of Ten Hag on the TV. This is the media in 2024, folks.

And because it’s 2024, it doesn’t take long before you get this on MailOnline:

Arne Slot’s childhood mentor reveals one reason why the new Liverpool manager is better than Man United boss Erik ten Hag

Is it ‘because he knows him’?


Warning! Danger!
But being more intelligent than Erik ten Hag might not save Arne Slot at Liverpool, and Rafa Benitez has been talking…

Rafa Benitez sends big warning to Arne Slot and questions Liverpool players

Let’s here that ‘big warning’, according to the Express:

“My biggest advice to him or to any manager is he must be himself while understanding the culture of the club and the city he is coming to work. Once he understands that, he has made a positive first step and he will be guided down the right path.”

When does the ‘biggest advice’ become a ‘big warning’? When you’re trying to bait the clicks, obviously.

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