It had that certain air of inevitability, that England would once again go out of a major tournament on penalties. No matter whether we practice them or not, at the end of the day nothing is more certain than England bottling it at penalties. If Pirlo’s penalty was the icing on the cake of a masterclass performance, then Ashley Young’s was the turd on the floor from a toilet performance from him throughout the tournament. The other Ashley’s miss just cemented England’s fate. However, knocking England out of the tournament was not the only downside to the Ashleys missing their penalties. No, unbeknownst to them, they unleashed a far worse monster.
You see, in the English sporting media’s mind, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, major tournaments actually end once England gets knocked out. Of course there will be a cursory glance to see who does win it, and I’m sure there will be some mention of the results, but barring a major incident (always possible with Mario still in the tournament), the majority of the sports writers will turn their attention elsewhere. That elsewhere will be the latest transfer scoops; and by scoop, I mean the latest bit of pot stirring that they can think of.
Think about it from their point of view. Sure some of them have scruples, and they maybe even have notions of wanting to report the truth. However, those in charge are not in the newspaper business to sell the truth. Sure they want us all to believe that, but at the end of the day, all that matters to them is how much they make from selling newspapers. They’ll even hack your phones if they have to. Now, let’s imagine you did not have a regular newspaper, but that you bought one every day, or maybe you don’t buy one every day. Sadly, most people are attracted by big catchy headlines, so which of these do you think the average person on the street would opt for:
SPURS STEAL SIGURDSSON
SPURS INQUIRE ABOUT SIGURDSSON
Clearly Spurs stealing him is far more likely to have you grabbing for that newspaper, unless of course you’ve been here before, and seen it all. In which case you’re note the other headline and realise where the first headline was coming from. Then you would realise that it was just a ploy to attempt to sell more papers. The sad thing is that most do not realise it, and they form their opinions based on what they read in those articles.
I will make another post about that particular player later, but as per my earlier post about the need to brace ourselves, we will see a whole lot more of these stories between now and September, when the window finally closes. Had England gone on to the final (which was unlikely with Germany next) we might have had an extra week’s reprieve, but instead we are going to start seeing stories start coming in thick and fast in the next few days/weeks. The problem is that once one “scoop” has made it out, the other papers will have to start their own sensationalism, otherwise they risk not selling as much garbage as their rivals.
Now of course I’m not saying that Spurs will not get Sigurdsson, it is just that I think it more likely that Spurs have made an inquire into whether Sigurdsson will want to go to Spurs. I base that on the fact that at this stage Spurs are manager-less, and that Sigurdsson’s reason for not going to Swansea is uncertainty over who their manager would be; and that he wanted to be with Rodgers again. It also strikes me as odd that Spurs would necessarily go for Sigurdsson, without actually having a manager in place. He’s done well at Swansea, but that’s not necessarily confirmation he will be a success at another club, and the new manager may well not want that particular player making it a pointless purchase. I can however, see Spurs checking on the price and moving things forward in case their next manager wants to buy him.