Arsenal star Jack Wilshere in beer and shouting horror
The Daily Mail’s lead sports story on the backpage declares: “Jack in the Dock.”
He’s been arrested? No. The Arsenal midfielder has been “caught in a brawl”. Police are “investigating scenes of disorder” outside London’s sticky West End club Cafe de Paris at 2:15am. On page 84, Sami Mokbel says Wilshere was annoyed with a “fellow reveller who was attempting to film on his phone”. Film what? Wilshere, says Mokbel, was at a bureau de change on a night out, having been given permission by his club to “let his hair down”.
Daily Mirror (front page): “EXCLUSIVE: England’s Wilshere in 2am bust-up”
It’s not an exclusive. But the Mirror does have more news. It says Wilshere was “quizzed” by police in an alleyway after “allegedly being kicked out of a club”. He’s “accused of hitting another reveller, which he denies.” There were no arrests.
And so it is that footballer not arrested is the Mirror’s lead news story.
On pages 4 and 5, the Mirror puns: “Jack’s Bin Trouble.” But he isn’t in trouble as he stands by some bins in a “rubbish-strewn walkway”. He wasn’t arrested. And is it his fault the streets of London are grotty? Should he have picked a cleaner bit of pavement / walkway / alleyway? The story goes that Wilshere was then put in a taxi.
On Page 5, David Kidd says “our hearts sink at the sight of Jack Wilshere cowering behind a bin after being thrown out of a nightclub”. What happened to his being “allegedly” bounced? And do our hearts sink? Surely, at the Mirror they skip a beat at a footballer-at-large story.
The Sun (front page): “WILSHERE COP QUIZ OVER 3AM BRAWL”
3am. 2am. What matter the facts when a footballer is in the crosshairs? The Sun zooms in on the “crocked England footie star”. Only, he isn’t crocked. He was. But now he’s back in full training. The Sun says a man was punched. It says Jack and his mates were “asked to leave” the club.
The Sun then seems to accuse Wilshere of taking his rehabilitation from a broken leg lightly, declaring, “Ace parties..as he bids for Euro fitness.” This will make England fans “angry“. But Wilshere broke no club rules.
We’re left wondering what it is that Wilshere did wrong? As off-field misbehaviour goes, Wilshere’s antics were harmless. Are Arsenal fans who cheered on hard-drinking Tony Adam angry that Wilshere went out? Are England’s famously prudish and restrained fans angered by Wilshere apparently having a beer and a shout? The tabloids expect Wilshere to be role model, to behave in ways unlike most 24-year-olds – and not only those with oodles of cash in their pocket from an honest day’s work. Do we expect purity from everyone in the public eye, such as, say, newspaper editors, a chaste group of moralists who never put a foot wrong as they report the facts and only the facts?