Sale? Mail? Fail!

On what was an otherwise forgettable day for Burnley Football Club, it was a moment that captured the imagination and drew praise from far and wide. Having a group of the club’s older supporters take to the field as mascots, hand-in-hand with the players, sent a terrific message out; that the club values those senior citizens amongst their fan base. If by this gesture Burnley have in some way helped to give out a wider message about valuing older people in our society, particularly in a sport such as football where players are considered old in their early thirties, then it has to be seen positively, surely?

Apparently not…

The Daily Mail covered this story on the day of the match, and as well as photographs and words of praise they included quotes from social media which universally praised Burnley. The article is here…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4237326/Older-Burnley-fans-act-mascots-Lincoln-FA-Cup-tie.html

So why, a few days later, does Daily Mail writer Charles Sale see fit to describe it as a “doomed innovation” and questions whether Burnley will ever repeat it?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4243362/Greg-Clarke-rips-FA-blazers-governance-reform.html

There is some suggestion that the club wouldn’t want to do so again because it preceded Burnley’s home defeat to Lincoln City of the National League, a huge FA Cup upset. However, the senior Clarets didn’t actually participate in the match. Whether the result and performance that followed were good or not, that surely wouldn’t be a reason to cast doubt on such a heartwarming, life-affirming action, would it?

No, the reason that Sale attempts to make this sound like a failure is because of who suggested this to Burnley; Alistair Campbell, the former Labour party spin doctor, a lifelong Clarets fan. Now I can’t claim to be a fan of Campbell, however before it became wider knowledge that it was he who, having seen this done elsewhere in European leagues, raised the idea with Burnley, the Daily Mail were happy to view this as a positive act. How churlish of Sale to essentially perform an about-face on behalf of his employers simply because of Campbell’s involvement.

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