Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ears to you, Gary

Who'd have thought we'd be applauding Gary Lineker?

The jug-eared ladies man who has managed to turn insipid blandness into a lucrative second career.

The rather smug purveyor of obesity inducing fried snacks who made a funny face when Paul Gascoigne cried in 1990.

Suddenly he's a hero.

Well, not quite. But Lineker's decision to quit his column at the Sunday version of a newspaper that sounds very like the Waily Wail should be applauded.

The Match of the Day autocue reader has felt the need to act after the distasteful sting operation on Lord Triesman and the ensuing fall out for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

I've no great interest in England hosting the 2018 World Cup.

But I've got some sympathy for Triesman. A man guilty of stupidity perhaps but not much more than that. Stupid for talking out of turn and stupid for being the sort of man who is attracted to the sort of woman - even if only platonically - who takes a tape recorder in her handbag when she's going for a meal.

A question for the Mail on Sunday though. Is "uncovering" that stupidity in the public interest? I fail to see how. And will the Mail on Sunday take any responsibility if the England bid fails? Or will they simply blame the committee that they have done so much to undermine?

An English story with no relevance to a Scottish football blog? Perhaps. But it's my blog.

And there is a knock on effect. The level of distrust between those involved in sport and the media will only grow while we sit back and leave this "journalism" to fester.

That robs the fans of insight and it increases the distance between punter and player. That is not healthy for any of us.

So hat's off to Gary Lineker. A principled stand that deserves a little recognition.

Before he annoys the hell out of me during the World Cup.

What he says


You can read Linker's explanation for quitting here.

Again I've no real interest one way or the other in how England perform in South Africa. But Linker's point about the press "undermining" the build-up to big tournaments is valid. There's a schizophrenic element to the English media that I find fascinating to observe. Almost wholly destructive, yet uniquely critical, any success that an English sporting team has is despite the attentions of their media. Given the role they think they hold at the centre of national life it is a bizarre position for journalists and editors to pursue. England's welcome to them.

What they say


Roy Greenslade has blogged on the, fully deserved, backlash against the Mail On Sunday on The Guardian's media site:
The MoS is trying to escape from its responsibilities in this matter. It made a severe error in publishing a story obtained from a woman who, as the London Evening Standard revealed, was recently treated for mental health problems.

David Bond, incidentally, raises all sorts of questions about the story's provenance in his Monday blog that require answers.

The MoS would do well to own up to its mistaken editorial judgment. Its readers, and England's football fans, deserve an apology.