The Independent London Newspaper
24th September 2018

SCORE BLIMEY: Read the register of interests before the match report

    Published: 22 September, 2016
    by RICHARD OSLEY

    THERE is a sports reporter in the north-east who was told by his paper this week that he could no longer cover Sunderland because he had been unmasked as the worst thing on this troubled Earth, a Newcastle United fan. 

    His old Facebook posts had been discovered by an online mob of Sunderland fans and he soon found himself apologising for what he called “infantile” messages that he had posted years ago. 

    Given infantile is one of the kinder words I’ve been told this column amounts to – you’re not still doing that “thing” on the back of the Camden Advertiser?, I get asked at society weddings – the case has been a huge wake-up call for me. 

    As such, I no longer hold much hope of reaching Fleet Street as a Spurs correspondent. 

    Of course, I’d bring a critical level of scrutiny to such a role, free from the peril of sycophancy that comes with journalists writing about the team they support. 

    But no, the big money job now can’t be for me – not in this new world of grasses, always looking you up on the web to see if you’ve ever made a joke about lasagne or Tim Sherwood’s Arsenal tattoo. 

    You have to wonder about the Sunderland fans clicking angrily at a petition to potentially remove a reporter from his source of income, though.

     We all have to sit through Clive Tyldesley’s commentary of Man United matches, including his creamy, limitless capacity to reference to their treble win in 1999. But you’re not going to find many of us pitchforking up outside ITV with effigies. A bitch in the pub will do it, a frustrated tweet and a running joke about the shrine he may or may not keep to Fergie in a cupboard at home. Actively campaigning for blood is, however, a major step towards madness.

     You could instead just turn the sound down on Tyldesley, and you can read another guy’s match report. The bloke on the Echo used offensive, laddy-lads language on Facebook but, if we boil it down, are we saying all football reporters are allowed no private allegiance to a club at all? They are not referees, they were all kids once. Maybe a register of interests for all journalists is now needed so readers understand the full context of their work. Here’s mine. 

    Richard Osley:

    – 1982-1986: Member of Junior Gunners. Wore 1989 replica kit. Refused to put Spurs players in Panini sticker album. 

    – 1995 to present: Paid Arsenal Football Club several thousands of pounds I didn’t have for match tickets. 

    – 2002 to present: Wrote several articles in local press discussing the seasonal failures of Tottenham Hotspur. 

    There you go, full disclosure. But if there are big-salary, plum-job givers reading, did I ever mention how much I admire the tap-in prowess of Harry Kane? He is a fine human. 

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