BBC BLOGS - Sport Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Spotlight on the bigger picture

Richard Burgess | 09:34 UK time, Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sometimes the media can become intoxicated by a single story: just think Madeline McCann or the missing canoeist.

The Daily Mirror led their front page with 'canoe-gate' for eight successive days last week and the week before, while I've given up counting how often the London Evening Standard and the Daily Express have led with the Maddie story.

(If you're interested - and you can see I've done a bit of research here - the Daily Star surprisingly haven't led with the canoe story once).

But it's not just been the tabloids who can obsess about one story or another, the BBC and every media outlet have dedicated plenty of air time and column inches to both those stories.

Let's face it, they've captured the public imagination in a remarkable way.


It's the same in sport, of course. When both England and Scotland are looking for new football managers, their search is bound to dominate the news agenda.

In fact, only Jose Mourinho and his dalliance with the FA managed to knock 'canoe man' off the Sun's front page throughout most of last week.

And that's hardly surprising - for the media, the prospect of Mourinho becoming England manager was almost too irresistible to contemplate.

Somebody at Chelsea once described him as a "walking headline-making machine" (just notice how the number of
column inches devoted to Chelsea have plummeted since Avram Grant took over). Combine that with the most high profile job in English sport, and you are in sports editor's heaven.

However, when one story dominates the agenda, it can also pose important questions for every editor. Amid the feeding frenzy over whether Mourinho would or wouldn't say yes to the FA and the eventual pursuit of Fabio Capello, every other story can get swallowed up.

From the BBC's point of view, we need to cover every twist and turn in the England manager saga, but we also cannot neglect all the other sports stories around - and the bigger issues at stake.

Our report on the state of English football - and in particular the proposed National Football Centre - attempts to address some of those big issues.

Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's head of football development, caused a stir in September when he told us the future success of the England team was under threat from the number of foreign players in the Premier League.

His comments now about producing the next generation of England footballers are equally forthright. He says England's footballing authorities have been "hugely negligent" about player development over recent years and that the decision over Burton is one of the most important in the Association's recent history.

The FA's chairman, Geoff Thompson, spoke about a 'root and branch' review of the game following Steve McClaren's sacking. However, on one issue, there seems to be a general consensus: English players just don't have the technique of their foreign counterparts.

Carlos Alberto, the captain of Brazil's World Cup winning side in 1970, knows a thing or two about the finer qualities of football. As far as he concerned, young English players have the wrong mentality - he says they don't "feel" the game.

It's a pretty damning indictment and sums up the size of the task facing Brooking, Capello et al.

For the BBC, while we'll continue to cover all the day-to-day news across all sport, we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture. With the FA due to publish its strategic review in March next year, the future direction of English football will remain one of the most important issues on our agenda.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.