Often Partisan

Scapegoats and the Sun

Former Birmingham City head of PR and Communications Andy Walker has seemingly incurred the wrath of The Sun, appearing on the front page today accused of infuriating fans because of the implied luxury that comes with his role as Head of Communications at the FA.

Having seen the backlash from Blues fans I know on Twitter last night, it appears I’m not the only one mystified by this non-story. Here’s a man, justifiably proud of his job and the work he has put in to get there, posting pictures before the tournament of things in his role that give him reasons to be proud. I know that if I was in the same position I’d be doing the same thing – what kind of a person has a go at a member of the media department because once again the team underperforms?

I’ve known Andy since he was a reporter at the Sunday Mercury and he has never ever been anything but a good bloke towards me. During his time at Blues he was the pioneer for social media; one of the reasons Blues have such a good social media presence is because of ideas Andy had that have been built on and pushed forwards. He’s justifiably proud of his achievements – so why the big deal he’s got his name on a headrest?

Some people might point to a slow news day but IMO the truth is much deeper and darker than that. While it’s certainly true that England as a team massively underperformed at Euro 2016, I think that sections of the national media rub their hands with glee when it happens because they can start doing what they do best – throwing mud and insults around at anyone and everyone who they think deserves it.

There has to be a scapegoat – a reason for England’s failure and the repeating narrative over the past few tournaments has been this perception of being spoiled. There is only so much you can push on players so it’s obvious that the Sun has looked for another target and found one in tweets posted by Andy.

I would tell you that I’m boycotting the Sun but as you can imagine it’s not like I’d ever buy their newspaper or click their site anyway. I’m not in the habit of telling others to do so either; the only thing I would ever say is that newspapers write this kind of crap because they think it’s what we want to read. The only way to stop newspapers filling their column inches with this hyperbolic bovine excrement is not to read it; to hit them where it hurts with loss of readership and loss of clicks.

Hopefully, Andy will have seen the positive response not only from Blues fans who remember his time at the club but from other members of the media who have spoken of what a good man he is and who have reviled the Sun for their incredibly stupid attack against someone who doesn’t deserve it.

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86 Responses to “Scapegoats and the Sun”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As you said, it’s a non-story. What the hell has this got to do with England playing sh*t?

  • Neil says:

    Probably also suggests that at some point he hasn’t played ball with this scummy rag and bent over and taken it from the sun newspaper – and this is their revenge.

    I can’t imagine for 1 second more than 1% of people believing this is a worthwhile story and that Andy is deserving of the focus.

    The players were terrible as demonstrated by the ease with which France took Iceland apart last night.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    AT LAST! We have found the reason for England’s under performance against Iceland…..
    …..It was And’s fancy headrest. Of course it is so simple when the Sun explains it to us.

  • Dean says:

    We need to support our own, and let Andy know that we think that he’s done nothing wrong.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Astonishing , embarrassing and trully legendary from the sun , nothing more important to talk about ofcourse so Andy Walker gets the backlash , what next ? KRO

  • There always has to be muck spreading to share the blame ……the facts are england only had 4 shots on target which on average deserves 1 goal . It doesn’t matter what the other team does 1 goal is very vunerable in a sudden death game . All 4 shots on target were in the box . 7 of the 11 shots off target were outside the box . The good thing about our own manager rowetts tactics of catching teams on the break is that when our players shoot there isn’t so many players screening the goal so more go in per shots on target ……the problem with us is that in playing one goalscorer up front it was easy to mark him out the game ….Englands problem was that although they had enough strikers to score more goals on the break the over defensive tactics by Iceland And the slow build up by the England team meant shots on target were bound to be low .the only way England was going to win was with having a poweful physical striker forcing the ball home from close in …’

    • Tony says:

      Have to disagree he works for the FA who are the fundamental reason we are in the current mess, he like the rest of them should keep a low profile.
      He is only a twopenny jobsworth no , great shakes.
      Its al right saying its the players on the pitch, who underachieved, but it was the FA Who appointed Hodgson a man without any redeeming factors, a man who was earning almost three times more than any other manager,a man who had the nerve to say he didn’t see why he should attend a press conference to try and explain what went wrong.
      The whole lot of then should be culled including this heads of communications why on earth do we need him for what does he do?, hes just another one on the gravy train.

      • almajir says:

        Tony – are you ever anything else but miserable?

        Serious question.

        • Andrew says:

          he has a point about the FA though

          • Steve in Yorkshire says:

            If he does have a point it’s the FA decision makers! Andy Walker is an ordinary bloke who was proud to have reached this position and proud to be at a tournament, nothing wrong with that at all. As fans we should be able to relate to this. Are you seriously suggesting that the England team shouldn’t have a Head of Communications post when Blues do?

            Andy Walker has done nothing wrong and should not have to answer for those who appointed Hodgson or Hodgson’s shocking choices. Should we all have a go at Colin Tattum if Blues were to get relegated, but having the audacity to watch them free of charge? Behave yourselves!

        • Tony says:

          Not miserable at all Dan,the FA Is one enormous gravy train, they care only for themselves Walker like the rest of them got his position because he knew how to say the correct things, a lot like Hodgson. He after all could speak 4 languages, had managed abroad, and was a diplomat, I’m not concerned if he is a decent chap he can be the biggest Bat–d on earth as long as he delivers.
          In my opinion the FA Should be disbanded forthwith, Staffs is correct the only Englishman remotely capable of doing the job is big Sam but they will never give it him he might speak his mind as Brian Clough would have done

          • almajir says:

            Why does it have to be an Englishman?

            And why is the FA an enormous gravy train? Tell me more about it Tony… with links to back up your claims if you may?

  • Waycoolblue says:

    I hate the media and the way the big thing up to bring them down. And I really heat bad journalism THE SUN and The MAIL. 2 of the Worse it’s a non-story but that’s what I have come to expect from them with the SUN a S***t Rag if there is no story they make one up.

    • Tony says:

      Never said it had to be an Englishman Dan, I said the only Englishman capable of doing the job Is Allardyce If not him then a German, say what you like about them they have a mental toughness unknown to English players.
      As for the FA Well Hodgson was on more than twice the salary of any other manager at euro 2016, Then we have the sports psycho, the cook, and god knows who. Its time to clear the lot out and start afresh

  • Blue Lizard says:

    The scapegoats should be the manager and players….not some bloke on a plane FFS …the sun should stick to tits

  • So who now DAN do we have has Englands manager .The England manager selectors don’t get it right . So Hoddle and Southgate should not be picked ..could it be Wenger …big Sam ????? KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I know he wouldn’t be many people’s choice, but I’d go for Big Sam personally. He’s no yes man and he knows how to organise a team. He’s never been relegated from the Premier league and what he pulled off at Sunderland last season, was nothing short of a miracle.

  • Henrybloo says:

    The Sun is a vile newspaper .Their coverage of Hillsborough sums up what it stands for .

  • royinamillion says:

    The Sun is one NP I would only use if we ran out of toilet roll.

    Like most tabloids they rarely print the truth and simply manipulte facts into fiction to create a story (the definition of which is “Tale”.

    Fodder for fools.

  • StevieW says:

    A gutter rag of the lowest standard. What kind of people actually read it? Why pick on the communications manager?

    Sewer rats and gutter grunts all of em, what a joke calling it the sun!!

  • StevieG says:

    Massive PR own goal from someone in his position so high up at the FA. Has been giving it the large one all through the Euros. Villa fan too

  • Mitchell says:

    If the FA are really serious about the next England manager,they should offer the job to Gus Hiddink. He ticks all the boxes imo.and streets ahead of any pretender for this vital position.

  • David L says:

    Can we just ignore this daily waste of wood pulp please?

  • Micko says:

    First of all, the FA are a group of totally out of touch life serving “blazers” – Greg Dyke tried to reform them and has now walked away in disgust- Roy Hodgson fitted in with their tired and outdated view of the sport. Secondly, The Sun has always been a “leaflet” (I will not credit them with the title of “newspaper”) spreading hate and lies. Andy Walker is just a hapless pawn caught up in the middle.
    As regards a new England manager – how about Slatan Bilic ??

  • Dave Mann says:

    Leave West Ham and that nice cosy Olympic stadium , I don’t think so though I agree he would be a good choice . KRO

  • Tony says:

    Everyone agrees the Sun is a disgusting wrag read by morons, I can go back further than Hillsboro to the Falklands war when they carried banner headlines saying Gotcha when an argentine ship was sunk with the loss of 600 lives.
    Rules of engagement were ignored that day the ship was sailing away from the conflict zone, the whole point is some people continue to read it who are these people? or what are they.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Shame that someone who has obviously worked very hard should be treated this way.The very fact that they have gone after him and splashed it all over the front page is bizarre.As you say it’s just not a story let alone front page material.

  • Bluesy6 says:

    The sun could always write about the old codgers who run the FA. England will never be any good until they clear the dross out from the top.

  • Mitchell says:

    Another Utility man? How many more does GR want.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Looking at some of the pictures from Marbella training camp … Is that Sony Aluko I see there or are my eyes deceiving me .. they propably are but looks familiar . KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      More likely to be Dwight Tiendalli. The Dutch full back is training with us. He can play both left or right back. Now there’s a surprise. :)

  • Dave Mann says:

    Cheers staffs but let’s hope he’s left footed and can defend and get forward also , just what we are looking for ! KRO

  • David L says:

    Wandering a bit off the point – sure, big Sam would organize us – so we’d be a kind of super Iceland/Northern Ireland. But would we want that? Would those used to the smooth style of those at the top of the PL accept that style, even if it brought success?

    And going a bit further away still perhaps, looking at the Germany/Italy game and thinking of our Italian international – would Fab have fitted into that Italian team – to which I’d answer strongly yes. He’s certainly the equal of that pint-sized lad who buzzed about as a substitute and also the balding guy who was one of the wing backs. Control, pace, skill, the eye for an incisive pass..he’d easily fit in.

    But how can we adapt our style to suit his skills : he doesn’t need to be a midfield battler, rather a wing-based rapier striker (that’s different to a goalstriker!)

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Well, the smooth style of the Premiership has gotten us exactly nowhere in the last 20 years. It’s time we started playing to our strengths, instead of trying to pretend we’re foreigners. We’re not and never will be. I’m absolutely convinced that if we’d had Andros Townsend and Andy Carrol in the squad, we’d never have lost to Iceland. Excluding them was Hodgson’s first and biggest mistake.

      • David L says:

        Appreciating how far this has gone from the original point, but I’d bring Wales vs Belgium up as evidence of what ‘continental’ and ‘British’ football might look like.

        Wales didn’t come back from 0-1 cos they went all British and played route 1 stuff. No, they calmly kept possession, got their way back into the game and eventually won with a third goal that was everything good about British footy.

        Spanish-style tika taka bores me silly – but we have to find a manager who can show a way to blend passion and possession. Ranieri?

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Ranieri is with the English champions. He’d be crazy to leave there at the moment. Same with Bilic.

          The four semi-finalists (Wales, Portugal, France and Germany) have Coleman, Santos, Deschamps and Löw… all born in their respective countries. I see no reason why we should be any different. Both Sven and Fabio had top class CVs when they took over England… and the less said about them the better.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          Club football and international managers jobs are completely different animals.The day to day of club management is full time with lots of pressure.International management is part time with the real business done within a month every couple of years (a week in England’s case).The job would not suit anyone more than Harry Redknapp for me and would bring back the passion you refer to in a Terry Venables Euro 96 way.
          By the way staffs I 100% agree on Andy Carrol.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            The idea of taking a 23 man squad, surely, is to have a choice of different styles and attributes. For me, we lacked variety in the England squad, too many players who were very similar. Mostly, the subs Hodgson brought on were like-for-like replacements… and he expected a different outcome? Crazy.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Redknapp was the perfect choice. Too late now. All the FA want are yes men.

          • Hillfield Blues says:

            Absolutely,He was fully fit and a right handful for anybody’s CB’s.Would have given us that option mind you I don’t think anything would have salvaged how bad we actually were.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            With Kane and Rooney taking our free kicks and corners.. it highlighted just how much we miss Beckham. It’s unbelievable how poor the English are at dead ball situations. Look at Blues for instance (other than Cotterill.)

      • Carl71 says:

        Staffs i am amazed that Wilshere got in instead of Drinkwater too an ever present who wins the prem league left out for a Londoner !! who has played 1 game ?????

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Yes, that was criminal. Drinkwater should have gone instead of Wilshere. Townsend should have gone instead of Sterling. Carroll should have gone instead of Rashford. Rashford will be a good player in the future, but he was only ever going to get cameos at this Euros. It was a place wasted for me.

  • Dave Mann says:

    And Wales 23 man squad as 9 players born in England .. Don’t think that would apply the other way round do you . KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It’s always been the same with the principalities Dave. If a player isn’t born in Scotland, Wales or Ireland, they’ll search a players lineage to see if he has Scottish, Welsh or Irish ancestors. I can’t think if England have ever had to do that tbh.

  • Dave Mann says:

    No and have said likewise but other countries do it but not us .. Maybe that’s why we never win anything . KRO

  • I have an Irish grandmother a Scots great grandfather , 2 welsh cousi ns and 500 years ago my family lived in a little village outside Stoke and some moved to small heath 2 hundred years ago , but really the welsh have more English in them than we do but in saying that we always have been multi racial …

  • Sorry about that , as I have got older history seems a lot more important to me now ….

  • David L says:

    To get this back to where it started, but also link in Euro 16:

    Redknapp – the very example of a Sun man – and I thought we’d agreed we didn’t want any of them!

    Squad – forget Rooney, Wilshere, Sterling (this decade’s Pennant) . Replace with Drinkwater, Townsend and yes, if you must, Carroll : he could have been our Gomez. Rashford at least showed youthful energy and was worth taking for that alone.

    Wonder how the likes of Rooney etc would have fared if they’d been German or Italian.

    Anyway, haven’t we bought anyone new yet?

  • Dr Peter says:

    It’s all very interesting to read about choice of manager and players but until and unless those selected have a real sense of pride and purose when they pull on the national shirt, the England football team are going to come up short. Just compare what has happened to our national rugby union and cricket teams – to beat the world champions (Australia) three games in a row on their own turf is a outstanding achievement from the rugby boys. I’d be playing excerpts from those three games in the Blues dressing room before each game next season – inspirational in both attack and defence. The England football team aren’t worthy to tie the bootlaces of the rugby boys.
    Oh yes, and both cricket and rugby have non-English managers – now there’s a thought?!

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      But you could argue that both the rugby and cricket boys also went out in the group stages of their respective world cups.The last real success we had as a nation in any of the 3 sports was rugby in 2003 so we seem to peak at the wrong times especially if you look at how the footballers sail through qualifying and the cricket team at present.Maybe as a nation we put too much pressure on them to do well.What happened in the second half against Iceland I don’t know but they looked stiff with fear.

    • Dave Mann says:

      I agree but foreign managers have won nothing with England . KRO

      • drpeter says:

        I take the point about group stage failure in both rugby and cricket, but what those two sports did was to act decisively. Our national footbal side were awful two years ago in the World Cup and before that we have had just too many ‘disappointing’ tournaments. What has changed?
        I would love to think that this time matters will be different. But I suspect that very soon the focus will be on the Premiership with much associated hype, much of which will surround non-English players. Any lessons we might learn from France will disappear as vast sums of money are traded with much of this leaving the country to fill the coffers of overseas clubs and agents. It will be intersting to calculate at the end of the transfer period, how much of the tv rights riches will trickle back through English football.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          The problem is the English Premier league is only 30% English.The German,Spanish and Italian league’s are the other way around.This effects our national game in 2 ways.The first one is that the influx of foreign players stifles the good young English talent coming through and limits their opportunities and ultimately their progress in the game.The second point is that England,unlike their European counterparts don’t have any definitive style of play that you could call their own.The Italians build from the back and are hard to break down or the Spanish have their fast passing style but England don’t really have an identity or style.I put that down to dressing rooms full of foreign players and more importantly managers.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I have to say, I agree with all that. But, the Premier league were so wrapped up in their own importance, they ignored the warnings that were highlighted by Scotland’s demise as a decent international team. They flooded their league with imports, to the detriment of their own players and their national team suffered as a result. There used to be a flow of great Scottish players filtering down to the English leagues, but these days, it’s barely a trickle. I doubt they’ll ever recover. We’re heading the same way.

            As far as young English talent goes, the best just get hoovered up by the big clubs, with little or no intentions of actually giving the lads a fair chance, because they’re never going to force their way past foreign players who have cost a packet. They end up languishing in academies or doing the rounds of lower league clubs, perpetually out on loan. It’s no wonder we don’t have the talent coming through the England ranks.

  • Blue Eyed Boy says:

    If the strong rumours are right from today Wolves are the latest club to possibly become owner by the Chinese,and the buyer is a registered billionaire(fact). My question to all is that with the Vile getting a “Big Bucks Owner” as well,why do we have to always draw the short straw and end up with the new guys who are only looking at £10m max to invest and that’s on everything!
    Or is it wishful thinking that they may sell on again to a bigger investor?
    Someone excite me,Dave Mann,Mitch where are you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mitchell says:

      Envy of our rivals getting merga Bucks owners is hard to take I totally agree BEB. Only consolation is that we are hopefully now solvent. What does disappoint however is the prospect of another utility player being brought onboard. Again it is where we are at. As regards your request for some excitement from the likes of Dave and myself-I would extend this to Staffs and William as well ,as between the four/five of us we can surely raise your spirits with only month away from a glorious start to the season!

  • Dave Mann says:

    A win at home to Cardiff , a glorious Donaldson hatrick , a faultless Tesche performance and 15 shots on target with only 5 off target ….. 3- 0 victory and three points to take to dirty Leeds .. That’s better hey Blue Eyed Boy :-) KRO

  • Blue Eyed Boy says:

    Ok over to Staffs and William,inspire a dejected but very loyal supporter.
    I need to attend Dave Mann’s B&B Course in Brixham but even he is not available when I booked some dates!!! Am I getting a picture here?
    I am totally convinced two quality strikers(not labourers),a centre back,right and a left back and then finally a sound goalkeeper will give us some hope – Maybe to many to brig in before season starts and may have to with on at least couple until January?
    Dan,I am currently organising my bi-annual business trip to HK,may try and get some updates whilst I’m out there,and update you

  • Dave Mann says:

    Ime as positive as I can be BEB and exited about the new season , get the players in we need in the positions you’ve stated and yes maybe we can make another push for the playoffs but we need those players in to do that …. Unfortunately I will be in Italy when your in brixham mate and I come back on the opening Saturday against Cardiff just in time for the game so lucky me … BEB I hope you enjoy Brixham as much as I do and the season to come and yes let’s get exited about the future because the future looks bright . KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t see any reason for doom and gloom at all. We’ve gotten rid of nearly all the dead wood at the club now, we’ve got a few bob to spend, not as much as we’d like, but a damn sight more than we’ve had for 4 or 5 years. We’ve got 2 new players on board already and, with just over a month to the start of the new season, Rowett insists he has his sights set on 2 or 3 more players who are an improvement on what we have. So, all-in-all, fings ain’t lookin’ too bad at the moment.

    How’s that Blue Eyed Boy? :)

  • Mitchell says:

    If I was the manager of our great club I think I could have gone a long way in pleasing BEB..My priority from day one would have been centred around a player who I have seen many times. Years ago when he played non-league i pestered Lee Clark to sign him-no response.Did exactly the same when he joined Peterbrough-no response. Then last season he became available yet again and has now signed for Bristol City. My opinion I appreciate,but Lee Tomlin would have done us well. Instead we invested in Fabbrini and Tesche. No comparison imo.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Yes, Tesche and Fabbrini may be a step up from what we had, but Tomlin would have been three steps up. It’s such a shame we’re never in for players like that. Footballers I mean.

  • David L says:

    Not sure that a 27 year old who has scored a few at Div 1 and championship level is a step above a 26 year old with 12 U21 caps and 1 full cap for his country.

    Mind you, they play in different roles, so tricky to compare.

    Fab clearly has quality way above us/Championship level – but after peaking in 2012 you have to start worrying if its the systems at the club he plays at, or the player himself that has caused the lack of progress.

    As I’ve said often before – I think he needs to be released from midfield battling and left as a free agent up front to punish defences with his speed of thought and passing…downside is that means the other 9 outfielders have to work harder.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Tomlin makes things happen and scores goals himself. One of the best in the championship.

      • David L says:

        Staffs – I’ve no desire to fall out with you but

        a) Fabbrini and Tomlin do different jobs, so difficult to compare

        b) So lets compare Tomlin to our main striker, the Don. According to wiki…

        Tomlin : 126 appearances at champ level, 33 goals strike rate of 26%
        Don : at the same level, 89 apps, 27 goals, strike rate 30%

        So, with respect, Tomlin might well be a decent player (haven’t seen him myself, so can’t say further), but stats say he’s no better than we have, and the comparison between him and Fab/Tesc is a false one.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I’ve not once compared their styles of play. I just think that Tomlin is a better player and we would most likely have gotten a better service from him. Personal preference that’s all.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Don’t take my word for it: Bristol City manager Lee Johnson on Tomlin.

            “I believe we’ve signed the most talented player at Championship level in terms of ability. He was fantastic for us last season and I believe his best football is ahead of him. He does things every day in training that make you smile – you think ‘how on earth has he done that?’ Hopefully it’s a statement of intent. It shows the kind of football we want to play.”

          • David L says:

            Was happy to leave the discussion where it was – you see one thing, I see another, but Johnson’s comment surely perfectly fits into the

            “Manager who has just signed a player for a club record fee claims this player is wonderful shock.”


          • StaffsBlue says:

            You threw stats at me (not even having seen the player,) I just offered a professional’s viewpoint.

            I know which I prefer. Let’s agree to disagree.

  • blu says:

    Thanks guys for your inspirational feedback,still out on jury for GR but going with the flow and bring on the season KRO Guys

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