Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Mediawatch has proclaimed exactly 427 ‘new lows’ in football journalism. Sometimes tongue has been firmly in cheek, but occasionally we are genuinely disgusted at the depths to which some will sink.
At first glance you may think that the death of Italian international footballer Davide Astori could not possibly be used as clickbait for a Manchester United website, but you would be so very wrong. Step forward the Manchester Evening News and one of the most heartless pieces of social media pimping we have ever seen. Their endless and determined quest to find a Manchester United angle to every football story gathering any traction leads to this…
A man with family and friends has died young. That is not a business opportunity. pic.twitter.com/50R9848RMB
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewin_) March 4, 2018
We could not put it better.
The MEN did eventually – after an awful lot of Twitter pressure – apologise. Kind of.
Apology: A tweet was sent from this account regarding the death of Davide Astori which was insensitive and inappropriate. It has been deleted. We apologise for the offence caused.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) March 4, 2018
Seriously? After that abomination, at least apologise for sending a really shitty tweet (contrary to the impression created by ‘a tweet was sent from this account’, tweets do not send themselves), not for ‘the offence caused’. Sickening.
The pig reveal
The MEN were by far the worst but not the last to clickbait the tragic death of a young man.
The Express website on Monday: ‘How did Davide Astori die? The tragic cause of Fiorentina captain’s death revealed.’
The answer is ‘natural causes’ just in case you were the slightest bit tempted.
(We know you wouldn’t be).
Sorry. Not sorry.
The FA chief executive Martin Glenn, March 4: “It could be the Star of David, it could the hammer and sickle, it could be a swastika, anything like Robert Mugabe on your shirt, these are the things we don’t want.”
The FA chief executive Martin Glenn, March 5: “I would like to apologise for any offence caused by the examples I gave when referring to political and religious symbols in football, specifically in reference to the Star of David, which is a hugely important symbol to Jewish people all over the world. I will be speaking with the Jewish Leadership Council and to Kick It Out to personally apologise.”
The FA chief executive Martin Glenn, March 6: Presumably still in a job. Presumably still an absolute [redacted].
Living in a box
Young Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles no longer has a relationship with his mother. It’s little wonder considering that we know of at least two occasions on which she has almost scuppered his career – first allegedly assaulting two members of Arsenal’s senior staff, which resulted in her arrest and subsequent banning from the Gunners’ training ground, and then leaving an expletive-ridden voicemail on Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy’s phone when he was on loan in East Anglia.
According to The Sun in April 2016: ‘The content was so abusive and so threatening that the Ipswich boss decided to drop Maitland-Niles for the clash with Blackburn on March 15.’
Two years later, the phone call Jule Niles made to The Sun was presumably a little more polite, and it earned her a front-page story in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. They were more than willing to publish all her claims with nary a word of caution and not a thought for her young son, who has been made to look like a nasty piece of work.
Their story begins:
‘THE homeless mum of £30,000-a-week Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles is sleeping in a freezing 10ft square metal storage crate.
‘Jule Niles, 38, says Ainsley, 20, refuses to help her get a flat, adding: “The money’s gone to his head.”
‘So while he shares a luxury £700,000 apartment with brother Cordi she has to sneak past staff at the Big Yellow Storage warehouse to sleep in the freezing container.’
Many hundreds of words and several unsubstantiated claims later, the story ends:
‘A source close to Ainsley said he was unaware Jule was living in a storage container. The source said he has given her money – and continues to do so. Arsenal and Maitland-Niles declined to comment.’
It feels a little bit like those words might be a little too important to put right at the bottom, way past the point where most people stop reading.
It’s also worth noting that The Sun say that Nile ‘has to sneak past staff at the Big Yellow Storage warehouse to sleep in the freezing container’ and that ‘she lives in fear that warehouse staff will realise she is sleeping in the container and turn her out on the street’.
Mediawatch cannot help but think that the best way to keep things a secret is probably not to have it splashed on the front page of a national newspaper.
So we were not surprised to open The Sun on Monday morning and read that ‘the mother of Arsenal starlet Ainsley Maitland-Niles is facing the boot from her 10ft square metal storage box home’.
Apparently she is ‘breaching the terms and conditions of hiring the Big Yellow Storage container by living in it’. Who knew? Apart from her, The Sun and everybody who reads it, that is.
Obviously every other news outlet picked up the Ainsley Maitland-Niles story but unfortunately, not everybody can do simple calculations.
‘ARSENAL ace Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ mum is homeless and sleeping in a freezing 10ft square metal storage crate, it has been claimed,’ says the Daily Star. ‘Jule Niles, 38, says Ainsley, who earns £15million a year, refused to help her get a flat.’
Because £30,000 x 52 = football’s gone mad.
Headline on The Sun website: ‘West Ham ace Andy Carroll was seen ‘drinking pints til early hours’ before his team lost 4-1 to Swansea City’
Not mentioned in that headline: Andy Carroll is injured.
Raheem Sterling can't win. 😡 pic.twitter.com/j56oKxwyb3
— BigSport (@BigSportGB) March 4, 2018
Mediawatch just wishes somebody would write some sort of definitive guide to how young black men are allowed to spend their money.
Mediawatch particularly enjoys this line from the Mirror’s ‘story’ about Raheem Sterling’s girlfriend shopping in Primark: ‘This isn’t the first time the £49 million footballer has shown a thrifty side – a few years ago a fan caught him shopping in Manchester’s Poundworld store.’
Be careful what you wish for
‘What has Sam Allardyce done to deserve the level of abuse from Everton fans?’ begins the piece from Neil Custis in The Sun. If ever there was a journalist we would have picked to stand in Big Sam’s corner…
What indeed, apart from producing a side that has won just two Premier League games in ten – leaving them 18th in the form table – while having the fewest shots and creating the fewest chances?
‘Were they playing like Barcelona and hoarding trophies before he arrived?’
Well no, but they had won three of their last ten Premier League games so they were at least in better form than they are now.
‘No, he came because they were in trouble and since arriving at Goodison they have gone up the league.’
Technically true. They have moved from 13th to 11th under his stewardship. Which is – we are sure you will all agree – well worth the £6m a year.