The Sun Reach A New Low In Football Journalism

When you think about, and I mean really think about it, I mean take in everyone you come across on a day-to-day basis, an overwhelming number of British human beings are fucking morons – and it is these thick-necked meatheads, whether by accident or design, that make up roughly all of The Sun‘s target audience.

Which, in itself, is perfectly fine. Even those incapable of cognitive thought or processed reasoning deserve a newsletter.

The problem arises when the rag’s vindictive hacks, with their venomous pens in their hands, start concocting their agendas – agendas voiced in such a way as to allow easy ingestion by even the most lumpen and unthinking of readers.

Speaking of, the back page of the afore-mentioned publication today features an article that in itself should be fairly innocuous – an announcement of the new England U21 squad.

However, emblazoned across the top of the page is a large image of England manager Fabio Capello with a pair of donkey’s ears superimposed to the side of his head under the obligatory pun-heavy strapline ‘Jackass picks just Cap it all’.

The pointlessly cruel piece (written by uber-hack Shaun Custis) then gets underway with the following passage;

“Donkey Fabio Capello has stuck a hoof into England’s brave new world – after just one game. The gormless Italian vowed to rebuild after our World Cup debacle by bringing in young players.

But the silly ass has ruled Arsenal whizkid Jack Wilshere, 18, out of next month’s vital Euro qualifiers.

Wilshere made his Three Lions debut in the friendly victory over Hungary and also won rave reviews in the Gunners’ first two games this season.”

The apparent catalyst for this needless, desperate and frankly abhorrent attempt at a character assassination? Capello’s decision to effectively ‘dump’ Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere and Newcastle striker Andy Carroll (who is yet to receive a full call-up) from his squad for the upcoming European qualifying games by allowing them to rejoin Stuart Pearce‘s U21 squad.

Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere
Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere

The overbearingly desperate tone of the article is highlighted by the insistence that Wilshere has been snubbed despite earning ‘rave reviews’ for his two appearances for Arsenal this season.

In fairness, I didn’t see any of their opening fixture with Liverpool but a swift glance back through The Sun‘s very own archives reveal that the Wilshere was handed a 5/10 rating for his performance along with the accompanying assurance that he will ‘grow in confidence the more games he plays’.

Doesn’t sound like much of a ‘rave review’ does it? And guess who filed that report? You probably won’t be shocked to find that it was none other that Mr Custis himself.

I watched extended highlights of Wilshere’s second start of the season which came in Arsenal’s 6-0 drubbing of Premier League newcomers Blackpool and, without trying to slight the lad, I wasn’t aware he was playing until the second half – such was the meagre level of his contribution.

As for Carroll, yes his hat-trick against Aston Villa was impressive but, regardless of whether or not you think he should be given a chance in the senior England side, the fact remains that he has clocked up less than ten Premier League starts and has only really impressed in less than half of those. Hardly what you’d call a ‘dead cert’.

The Sun's portrayal of Graham Taylor in 1992
The Sun's portrayal of Graham Taylor in 1992

We’ve seen The Sun resort to this kind of underhand tactic to put undue pressure on England managers before, and we know they’ll pile it on Capello as the FA saw that they wouldn’t get there way after the World Cup (they were desperate to see the Italian sacked).

The particular brand of vilification-by-caricature which they are trying so vehemently to apply to Capello has already been afforded to the likes of Graham Taylor and Steve McClaren and I’m afraid (and ashamed) to admit that it is a technique that works rather efficiently (for good or otherwise) by allowing a nationwide gestalt of ridicule to germinate – thus necessitating the removal of the incumbent in question.

Of course, The Sun will always argue that they are acting in the nations best interest and that Capello needs to be sacked for the good of the national team, but that really is a moot point when you consider the way in which they are steadily going about – spreading undeserved bad will via osmosis.

Is this really what football journalism has come to these days? Mindless mockery? I guess it is. Shite must actually sell.

I’ll admit that, on my day, I can be a pretty lousy football writer but that’s just through sheer, intrinsic laziness – a lifestyle choice I made long ago.

However, the tangible difference between me and the Shaun Custis’ of this country’s press is that I’d lop off my fingers before I allowed anything so bile-ridden, petty and callous to go to print with my name at the top – unless, of course, it concerned The Sun and their phalanx of piss-eyed writers.

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