Anorak News | Guilty


by | 1st, July 2004

‘STOP all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Prevent Timmy the Labrador from barking with a juicy bone…

Pack your bags, you’re leaving

Tim Henman yesterday completed what the Express calls “the nation’s sporting week from hell” when he was dumped out of Wimbledon by unseeded Croat Mario Ancic.

And the Sun shows just what a bad loser it is by lining up the culprits – Henman, David Beckham, Michael Vaughan and Lawrence Dallaglio – under the headline, “Guilty”.

Never mind that Henman has got to the last eight at Wimbledon for eight of the past nine years (including four semi-finals) or that he was beaten by an inspired performance by Ancic.

The Sun insists that “dim Tim’s straight three-set defeat to a 20-year-old nobody was criminal”.

Never mind that Michael Vaughan’s England cricket team has just won the first Test series in the West Indies for 35 years and also beaten a fancied New Zealand side.

Never mind that Lawrence Dallaglio was part of the England team that won the Rugby World Cup less than a year ago.

Never mind that David Beckham’s England football team was only a highly debatable refereeing decision away from the Euro 2004 semi-final.

The paper insists that “our sportsmen and women have the best fans in the world” – fans like the Sun, which accuses “gutless” Henman of carrying the hopes of the nation “with all the strength of a knock-kneed gnat”.

The Sun is the media equivalent of the knuckleheads who were standing outside the bars in Albufeira singing “No Surrender To The IRA” and terrorising the Portuguese locals.

The Mail at least understands the depth of Henman’s hurt at yesterday’s defeat – “his most bitter disappointment so far at the All England Club”.

And it reminds us that Henman probably should have won a first set “of astonishing quality”, the tie-break turning on a dubious line call.

Maybe the match would have turned out differently had he won that set, maybe it wouldn’t, but the defeat certainly wasn’t for lack of trying on Henman’s part.

However, how many more chances will Henman have to fulfil his dream?

Under the headline “Over The Hill”, the Mirror hears him admit that his days are numbered.

“The reality is that I don’t have an endless number of years for chances and I felt this was a good opportunity,” he said.

“I’m sure that my desire and motivation will always be there.”

Meanwhile, Portugal earned a place in the Euro 2004 final last night with a 2-1 win over the Dutch, who – like England – complained about the “home” decisions given by the ref.

Unlike Urs Meier, however, Anders Fisk will be able to go home and walk the streets of his native Sweden without fearing for his life.

Meier, thanks to the Sun, can’t even return home. His crime? A marginal decision in the last minute of a football match.

If the Sun wants to know who’s really guilty this morning, it should look in the mirror.’

Posted: 1st, July 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink