A STERLING RESPONSE
Certain grubby newspaper editors would pay fortunes for dirt on Raheem Sterling, yet pretty much all they can dig up to sling at him is stuff he himself chooses to share. That alone suggests he’s alright. There is, of course, plenty of other evidence indicating Sterling is a force for good – his thrilling play, for starters, or his philanthropic acts or the bright-shining example he offers of a youngster from a tough background achieving success through talent and discipline. But certain grubby newspaper editors don’t want you to read about that. We have to read between the lines to figure out why.
There was, of course, an eye-rolling inevitability to the Sun’s decision to devote its front page today to commentary on the new tattoo that Sterling decided to reveal to the world yesterday. The Sun most righteously disapproved of it and, in fairness, few creatures are better qualified than the editors of The Sun to offer analysis of abominations committed to ink. Sterling’s tattoo appears to be of a M16 rifle. Getting it done was obviously a vile deed too far from a man whose previous form includes buying a house and driving a car.
This time the Sun had to take a stand, especially as the dozing Daily Mail seemed to have fallen asleep on the job. The organ duly found an anti-gun campaigner to blast Sterling’s “sick” drawing, demanding he be axed from England’s World Cup squad unless he gets the offending image lasered off. The Sun’s anger was presumably intensified by the fact that they forgot to barf something similar last week when one of Britain’s feudal overlords got married in full military regalia (although not German, this time).
Sterling has shown in the past that he is strong enough to ignore tabloid hypocrisy but this time he decided to educate, one of the best ways of eradicating prejudice. “When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death,” the 23-year-old explained on social media. “I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life. I shoot with my right foot so it has as deeper meaning [and] still unfinished.” Sterling’s leg is his weapon, then. And he uses it a lot better than certain grubby newspaper editors use their arms.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Franz Beckenbauer said I was possibly the closest he had seen to a player like himself at that age. That was quite a compliment. But I always say that it goes to show, even Beckenbauer can talk some amount of sh!te” – RIP Neale Cooper, a fine footballer with a nice sideline in self-deprecating humour.
Yes, it’s our not-singing, not-dancing World Cup Fiver. Out every Thursday lunchtime BST, here’s the latest edition, a tale of Peruvian woe.
David Squires goes to town on Ramos, Karius, Carra and Him. Drink it in.
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“What’s worse, being a young BAME working class man that has done well for himself due to his talent, and getting a tattoo that means something to him personally, or hanging on to a news story for three weeks and then deliberately putting it out to make people angry for no reason and disrupt your country’s World Cup preparations? Asking for a friend who is too busy driving down to Greggs in a dirty Mercedes.” – Noble Francis.
“Steve Bruce can rest easy; any concern that POJT would not play Chelsea next season has been resolved” – JJ Zucal.
The podders look back at the Champions League final and Fulham’s return to the big time. Get your ears round it here.
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BITS AND BOBS
Frank Lampard is all set to plunge into Championship management with Derby County, with the former England midfielder in “advanced talks” to replace Gary Rowett.
Gary Cahill has admitted he feared the worst when Gareth Southgate’s name flashed up on his phone earlier this month. “I thought potentially it could be bad news because in my experience you usually don’t get the call – you just receive the information that you’re going to meet up and what times,” Cahill swooned.
New Sunderland head honcho Stewart Donald is not having a bar of the club’s women’s side being demoted two divisions. “It’s the ladies and girls that suffer so we just need a sensible resolution to the situation,” Donald seethed.
Over-reaction latest! Egyptian lawyer Bassem Wahba has filed a €1m lawsuit against Sergio Ramos for “psychological harm to the Egyptian people” after his challenge on Mo Salah threatened the forward’s Ethics World Cup participation.
Coventry shouldn’t get any rap for that contentious one-off kit after securing promotion to League One. “After the game against Notts County, Jordan Shipley came in without his top on. He said he gave it away and I said: ‘Well you can’t play at Wembley then, we haven’t got any left,’” Mark Robins insisted.
England’s date with Tunisia just got a whole lot more worrying – after the North Africans fought back to earn a stodgy draw with Portugal. “We are just beginning our World Cup preparations,” Portugal’s João Mário reassured.
And George Weah’s son Tim got on the scoresheet as USA! USA!! USA!!! beat Bolivia 3-0 in a friendly before they head to Rus … Ah.
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From Manchester United to Lewes, new teams will benefit from the revamped WSL, so-says Suzanne Wrack.
José Mourinho to sign Jack Grealish and Claudio Ranieri to Leeds? Today’s Mill, of course.