During his appearance on TalkSPORT late on Thursday evening, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish definitively put to bed all of the rumours linking winger Wilfried Zaha with a move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer. Sadly, the mere presence of Wilf’s name in the press has provoked the Daily Mail into assassinating his character, just for old time’s sake.
There is little to no doubt that this country’s “bigger” clubs receive a favourable ride in the press compared to their less fashionable relations in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but the long running obsession that certain media organisations appear to have with the personality and past of Wilfried Zaha is bordering on an obsession, built on nothing more than assumptions and broadly held stereotypes rather than good old-fashioned facts.
If you have been paying attention to the ups and downs of Crystal Palace FC for more than a season or two, you’ll almost certainly remember the glee with which the general press jumped to criticise Zaha during his time with Manchester United; a hobby which the writer of the above piece Kieran Gill appears to have taken great joy in kick-starting for no reason other than to rev up the angry mob who read the drivel that his employers so readily churn out on an hour by hour basis.
In truth, it is no coincidence that we are seeing a “feature” of this nature published on the pages of the Mail, given their penchant for stirring up anger and dismay for the sake of sensationalism rather than logical journalistic principles. You would hope (as I have for years) that the characteristics which dominate their general newsroom (they still employ Katie Hopkins to write a regular column) wouldn’t seep into their coverage of sport, but Mr Gill’s article above is proof that there is no hiding place from such rubbish within their walls.
The headline offered to the aforementioned piece is in itself not enough to base more than a few words around, leading the writer in question to wander inexplicably off course in a bid to justify his own salary, evidently taking little to no care for the feasibility of the thoughts spilling out onto the keyboard in front of him.
Any talk of the adoration Wilf has amongst Palace fans? His status as a successful graduate of our academy or his efforts in taking us the Premier League in the first place? No, of course not; there’s no controversy to be had in such trivial matters, let’s just bring us his alleged “bad attitude” again, that’s always got people talking before.
There are a number of news organisations who have willingly jumped head-first into the gutter in recent years, sidling up alongside the Daily Mail in the hope of learning a thing or two about creating a tsunami in a teacup. Your everyday punter loves nothing more than to look down their nose disparagingly at a young and wealthy footballer, leaving papers such as the Mail with the a figurative tap-in to an empty net when names like Zaha’s crop up.
Sadly, it’s a trend which shows little to no sign of slowing down.