Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sir Alex dominates the front pages

It's rare that a sports story makes it on to every national front page … the tabloids and the qualities. But Sir Alex Ferguson deserves it. The best manager English football has ever seen. I say it through gritted teeth of course. He out-psyched Kevin Keegan and probably robbed me of ever seeing Newcastle United being league champions. More recently he referred to Newcastle as a 'wee club in the North-East'. Ouch. But there is no disputing his record. He was simply the best.

The Manchester Evening News, as expected, pulled out all of the stops with a special late edition yesterday afternoon - real evening paper stuff. It carried a dignified, respectful photograph of Sir Alex with a breaking news banner, 'Sir Alex quits'.

This morning it carries a bumper edition with a 32-page souvenir tribute. It should certainly sell out - at least in one half of the city. The MEN, like many newspapers, goes for a play on Fergie Time - a neat and pointed reference to Sir Alex's successor, David Moyes.

Fergie Time is everywhere today so credit to The Daily Telegraph, which first speculated that the Glaswegian's reign was over, for being first with the headline as well as the story. This was the front page of its sports section yesterday morning. 

The Evening Standard, like the MEN, went for a breaking-news headline as the speculation became reality. It was a classic evening newspaper story. The Standard simply used 'Fergie Quits' with a great picture of the man in triumphant pose. Even in London, the Manchester manager was massive news.

Of today's front pages, The Sun has the most original image … a Red Devils' hairdryer hung-up in the Old Trafford dressing room for the very last time. No blurb, no second story … respect indeed. It's bold and nicely done. What the non-footballing readers will make of it is anyone's guess - but a classy page nonetheless.  

The Daily Star also went for the Fergie Time line … but it is really selling on something else altogether. Football and a naked Kate Moss - almost the perfect Star front.

The other angle, perhaps a more subtle one than the Fergie Time pun, is that Sir Alex is quitting for the sake of his wife. The Daily Mirror and Daily Express don't feel the story is worthy of the lead … there was after all the Tia Sharp murder trial and the Queen's speech to deal with ... but both give Lady Ferguson a deserved front page moment. 

It is no surprise that the Daily Mail chooses not to lead on Sir Alex ... you would be hard pushed to find many football splashes in the paper's history. It gives the story main picture prominence though. The Mail also goes for the female touch - Cathy by her man's side - and suggests he might be elevated to the peerage.

The Guardian uses a strong, vertically cropped and beaming picture of Sir Alex with a lively blurb promising a 20-page supplement. 

The Daily Telegraph also uses a blurb promising a 16-page pullout - labelled simply The Greatest, with contributions by Henry Winter, Paul Hayward and Alan Hansen. Sounds like a must-buy. It uses a dignified photo, on the left rather than the right, to give it more depth and put it squarely in the page's entry point. There's a nice quote too: 'He could have been a great leader in any field he chose. Manchester United were lucky he chose football.'

The icing on the cake in the Telegraph comes with Matt - as dry as ever.

The Times, perhaps surprisingly, limits the story to the blurb. I was half-expecting a wraparound.

Still, there's a quality 12-page pullout to look forward to.

The i also relegates Fergie to the blurb. There is, let's not forget, the small matter of the Queen's speech.

Football of course is also a big business story - a point not missed by The Independent: '£80m wiped off shares by the end of Fergie Time.'

Sir Alex also makes it on to the front pages of the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune. A rare occasion indeed.

In the sports sections there is only one story. Well done again the Telegraph, which has been ahead of the story throughout. The Chosen One is a good headline, used by others on the back pages, but it is the picture that makes it. Perfect choice.

The Telegraph goes big on pictures inside too, including this season-by-season spread on Sir Alex's record. Nice.

They are as committed to Premier League football over the water, as we are in England ... so no surprise that the Irish titles went to town too. Here's a strong cover from the Irish Independent's 12-page tribute supplement. Using the stats on Page 1 is a nice touch: '104 players bought' and '14 Manchester City managers seen off'.

There are some cracking pages today, marking the end of a 26-year era and the beginning of another. Hopefully, it will be one that sees other teams finally having a crack at Premier League domination. Newcastle United perhaps ...

Hat tip to , @suttonnick 

No comments:

Post a Comment