Sunday, 7 July 2013

Murray: some mint front pages

It's been 36 years since we have had a British singles Wimbledon champion ... and 77 years since the title has gone to a man. So there's certainly been plenty of time for the newspapers to plan their front pages. This is how they played it  ...

There is one picture that just had to dominate. A Brit kissing the trophy after all these years. Most newspapers chose to go for that ... but not The Times.

After the success of its Olympic wraps last year, it clearly wanted to find a horizontal picture that could tell the story. At first glance it appears an odd choice, a Where's Wally concept. It sums up the moment though ... the Wimbledon crowd finally being able to pour adulation on to a British male champion. The headline, The History Boy, is understated and incidental. A classy cover. There is a fascinating piece on how the picture was chosen and the other visuals that were rejected by Times designer Jon Hill here.

One of the most radical pages is by the Eastern Daily Press. Instead of a conventional wrap it chooses to go sideways, effectively creating a broadsheet page. It is certainly bold, eye-catching and captures the euphoria, not just of Murray but of the Lions and local events. A real feelgood page. Normally a wrap works hard at keeping the front self-contained but editor Nigel Pickover hasn't let that constrain him. He says: "I see too many papers looking the same each day - and often that is dull. With sport at the centre of a super weekend it was clear that we could do a wrap taking in the back page as well as the front. But with so many elements - Andy Murray, Lions, Lord Mayor's Parade, sunshine weekend, big boost to local economy, I wanted a storyboard with x-refs rather than a predictable write-off. Whatever the reaction, it was different - and the public likes to pick up something new." 
Boring is the biggest sin in newspapers these days - and nobody could accuse the EDP of being that.

The Courier in Dundee also uses a wrap ... and a really tight crop on the 'kissing the trophy' picture. The front page is definitely self-sufficient here ... and no headline is needed. A fantastic use of the picture and a really confident piece of work.  

The Daily Mail, without doubt a tennis paper through and through, inevitably goes big on the 'kiss' photo. It's another good crop - neatly tilted - and nice repro too (at least on the PDF). For the headline, the Mail abandons the usual serif caps for a small lower case sans. It's slightly awkward phrasing though - I am not sure I have ever seen 'it'll' on a splash headline before. Nevertheless, a front page with impact.

The Sun has dug deep for this pun. 'And' for Andy might stretch it a bit ... but it's a powerful tabloid effort that endeavours to capture the mood. The strapline puts it all in context.


The Guardian appreciates the value of the 'kiss' picture too - and with the Berliner size can go big. The crop is looser than the Courier and even the Mail, leaving in the arms and more of Murray's head. The paper takes the view the word Champion placed unobtrusively down page will suffice. A paper that's raison d'etre is comment and analysis - with only one word on the front. It works though.

A similar picture - but a much looser crop - and one-word headline grace The Scotsman's front. 

And the 'kiss' picture also finds its way on to the Express front ... a nice tight crop, but not quite as bold as some of the others. The headline is just a simple bit of alliteration which probably wasn't 77 years in the making. Favourite Express characters Abu Qatada and Nigella Lawson push the tennis down the page a little.

The Daily Telegraph opts for a different image - a frontal view which captures Murray's elation and a rare beaming smile. A caps headline on the front of the Telegraph is rare too. The Telegraph is the only paper that puts any meaningful amount of text on Page 1. 

The Daily Mirror chooses a similar image to the Telegraph but with a tighter crop and a neat cutout. History in his hands works nicely with the picture.

The Independent plays it straight with a classic Wimbledon pose and the same one-word headline as The Guardian and The Scotsman. Detailed cutout of the trophy.

The 'kiss' picture pops up on my old paper, The Northern Echo, too with a crop almost as tight as the Mail's. Nice headline. This cover will have been a labour of love for editor Peter Barron, a big tennis fan and mean player.

The Daily Star clearly felt it ought to lead on Murray ... with a pun on his inevitable knighthood. Not a bad tabloid play on words and one that will hit a note with its readers. 'Andy on the lash' really means 'He's one of us at heart'. There is no way Murray was ever going to be the main picture though ... not with so much summer celebrity flesh on show. 

Unless, that is, you live in Murray's native Scotland where there is a far more wholesome Daily Star available.

It was great British sporting moment, with some memorable front pages to celebrate it. Collector's items ... and a good an excuse as any to go out and buy a selection. 

Thanks as ever to the excellent , @suttonnick 

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