Tony Gillan: What I really, really want is for the childish attacks on Sunderland to stop after focus shifts to Spice Girls gig

The Daily Mail remains in a self-inflicted huff over Sunderland AFC. On May 22, they printed a widely-ridiculed attack on the club’s owners.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 18:05 pm
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 18:05 pm
Fans enjoy the Stadium of Light Spice Girls gig.

It was a badly-written piece that largely avoided tedious, inconsequential details such as the truth.

The article, nominally about the takeover of SAFC in 2018, was clinically dismantled by Stewart Donald and the paper has been fulminating ever since.

The latest playground spite came from, of all people, the Spice Girls. The group’s Sunderland show was ecstatically received by everyone else, including the audience, club, other media, police, promoters and the band themselves.

However, following their gig at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh last Saturday, the paper ran the headline: “Spice Girls reunion tour: Group bounce back from the chaos of their Sunderland show as they perform at a packed stadium in Edinburgh.”

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The “chaos” was a regrettable but brief punch-up between three women in the stand “in front of shocked children” (for added piety). Someone filmed the fight and the, ahem, “stunning footage” was gleefully appended to the paper’s website. Not even the Mail could blame the football club for the incident. But guilt by association will do.

Good old Edinburgh: upholding decency and civility where Sunderland couldn’t. It was interesting therefore to read reports of the gig in other newspapers.

The Daily Record mentioned a concert-goer who: “Walked out in disgust at the Murrayfield event after he was battered twice and had booze thrown over him by drunken revellers.

“He said the night was ‘absolutely diabolical’ claiming he feared for his own safety with ‘missiles being launched all over the place’”.

The Edinburgh Evening News reported “people urinating in the stadium corridors as toilet facilities weren’t up to scratch”.

They also mentioned “one Edinburgh resident claiming that a concert-goer left an unwanted gift in her garden”.

For the Mail, however, the Spice Girls’ Edinburgh concert was a Shangri-la of courtesy and propriety – with which they could bludgeon Sunderland.

The unsavoury incidents at either stadium were not trivial for those who had to put up with them. But almost 100 per cent of the 117,000 people at both gigs behaved impeccably.

The tiny, tiny amount of unruliness was given a media prominence it simply didn’t warrant. Such behaviour on an average Saturday night wouldn’t even be reported.

It’s a pity the Mail didn’t notice the Edinburgh shenanigans. They could surely have blamed them on Charlie Methven on the premise that he went to Eton and wears red trousers.

Will they have more anti-Sunderland cobblers to print as we draw closer to the new season? I rather think they will. I can help them too.

Stewart Donald eats raw children. Aiden McGeady is addicted to midget gems. Lee Cattermole wears a toupée.

All not true, but that is clearly no obstacle to employment at the Mail, and I hear they pay very well.