Ahead of a busy day of sport, The Sun on Sunday’s back page boasted recognisable personalities to clarify that, despite the News of the World phone hacking scandal, they could still attract big names.
‘Exclusives’ with Roy Keane, commencing his weekly column, Jose Mourinho and Robin van Persie from the football world were brandished, while Will Carling’s views on England’s 19-12 defeat to Wales in the Six Nations featured.
Lower down, Dereck Chisora told how his mum ‘scares me’ more than David Haye and, last and very much least, Jessica Ennis says she’ll ‘avoid stadium’. Few would have been flicking through to page 35 but nevertheless, big names throughout sport with current opinions to air were available to read for 50p.
Trumping the lot of them was the back page splash ‘SPURS FIGHT FOR HARRY’. England ups the red top readership, and ex-convict Rob Shepherd had the scoop on Tottenham attempting to keep Harry Redknapp. Inside there was a feature on Stuart Pearce ahead of the Holland friendly this week too, as tabloid tattle on the transfer front – usually worthy of a full page – was shoved aside to the left column.
Keane’s thoughts about the two Manchester clubs weren’t particularly memorable. It was a disappointing debut for the Cork man’s column when his pulsating Sunday Times interview in December remains fresh in the memory.
Keane's debut disappointed one United fan:
Inside the opening (back) page, the intelligence subsided significantly. Ian Wright, unlovable court jester, spoke of how SunSport was ‘a brilliant read seven days a week’. It’s certainly comprehensive. ‘Goals Plus’ is a glossy 28-page pull-out that leaves no stone unturned featuring match reports from the recognisable Sun daily football hacks. Neil Custis, Steve Brenner and Rob Beasley – whose interview with Redknapp was played during the latter’s recent tax evasion trial – pen their thoughts. A smart move since they will have generated a following via their six-day efforts, so why not extend it to seven?
Goals Plus comes on top of 19 pages of sport in the main section and gives the Football League clubs greater exposure. All but six pages in the main section are dedicated to football. Mourinho, eager to return to English football, waxed lyrical about eventual Carling Cup losers Cardiff City whilst Van Persie gave a long-winded statement about how his Arsenal contract talks are on hold, albeit via his Gunners programme notes.
The ‘exclusives’ ultimately disappoint with some unperceptive and uninspiring views. The Mail have Gary Neville, who has been great copy since the serialisation of his autobiography, whereas SOS boasted style but lacked substance, much alike Arsenal until yesterday.
Six Nations enthusiast? Stick to Murdoch’s Sunday broadsheet. A double-page spread is dedicated to the oval-shaped international and domestic action – making up 40 per cent of sports coverage outside of football. Since the Chisora-Haye heat had died down, boxing’s latest controversial figure was one of the last kids waiting to be picked, along with Ennis.
Despite the opprobrium the Sun continues to receive for their claims following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, they retain a big working-class demographic. Football, therefore dominates like Barcelona and the sheer dedication to it makes the sports section a winner.