Tony Gillan: Kelvin Mackenzie knows that controversy sells

The Hillsborough disaster.
The Hillsborough disaster.
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There are people on this earth who crave attention and have little scruple as to how they get it. Notice me, notice me, notice me...

They include José Mourinho, Joey Barton, the England “band,” Alan Green, Nigel Farage, Ronnie O’Sullivan and streakers.

To this merry band we add the name of Kelvin Mackenzie, former Sun editor and still a columnist there; a man with no concept of what constitutes a legitimate target.

Following a nasty, cliché-strewn and largely unwarranted attack on Everton’s Ross Barkley and the people of Liverpool generally, Mackenzie has been suspended by the people who allowed his drivel to be printed in the first place.

Mackenzie may be an oaf and not overly literate, but he isn’t stupid. He has a tabloid talent and knows that controversy sells, even if it is self-generated gibberish.

His attempted witticism that Liverpudlians with a few quid are “drug dealers” was printed the day before the 28th anniversary of Hillsborough.

Tasteful and no doubt entirely coincidental, but the Sun’s circulation won’t drop any further on Merseyside, so that’s fine. Following the paper’s shameful conduct over Hillsborough, Kelvin finally apologised in 2012 for what was possibly the lowest point in the history of British journalism.

Still, that apology will be alacrity itself compared to that of Margaret Thatcher’s former press secretary Bernard Ingham.

Fact-free Bernie wrote in 1996: “Who if not the tanked up yobs who turned up late determined to get into the ground caused the disaster? To blame the police, even though they may have made mistakes, is contemptible.”

Next Wednesday is the first anniversary of the complete exoneration of any fans at Hillsborough. Bernie has had one or 21 years to say sorry, but remains too small a man to do so. I just thought I would remind you.