The Sun Newspaper Reaches New Low with Aston Villa Report

Graham Hill @ The Sun

Graham Hill and the Sun’s picture editor commit possibly the greatest hack job of football journalism in print history.


You’ve Gone too Vlaar, Ron


The Sun Aston Villa


1. Where does one start? Well, how about with something that isn’t even taught at sporting journalism school, because it’s so bleeding obvious?

Namely, getting the names correct of the teams that are playing.

When it comes to football match reports, you know, it’s kind of fundamental…

This is no momentary brain fart, for as well as writing ‘Roma ‘in the scoreline, Hill name checks Parma’s goalkeeper Antonio Mirante as the ‘Roma goalkeeper’.

I once joked on MOMS that nowadays fans might need to take hallucinogenics when visiting Villa Park to liven up the experience, but I  didn’t mean it literally, Mr Hill. I wonder what he took to turn Parma into Roma?  Trippy…

2. Was Graham Hill even at the game? Now that’s the real question. Literally phoning it in? Maybe.

3. If he was at the game, he would have got into it for free and also had his transport costs covered. Meanwhile, thousands of supporters who did know who was actually playing, paid their way to watch the 0-0 draw.

4. The Sun’s sports desk picture editor also needs to collect his P45.

First up, the name of the Villa mascot is wrong. It’s not ‘Hercules’, but his female counterpart ‘Bella the Lion.’

Okay, so you don’t know your Villa mascots; we’re not going to send you to the guillotine for that, although the Daily Mail managed to name her correctly when they wrote an article using the same picture.

Unfortunately a stay of execution for a sports picture editor, who doesn’t know their football mascots, isn’t going to last long if they don’t know the difference between Roy Keane and Villa boss Paul Lambert.

The laughs on the Villa bench in the picture might as well be at The Sun for their horrendous gaff of mistaken identity.

Roy Keane Villa mascot
Can you see Paul Lambert in this picture? Err, no.

5. It’s not funny though when you think that this newspaper is meant to bring the nation its news. I’d hate to think of the mistakes they make on a daily basis on serious issues. How could you trust this newspaper? If you have any sense, you’ll already know you can’t.

6. I can’t see any other journalist or newspaper topping The Sun’s gross incompetence here in future Media Muppet columns. To make so many mistakes in such a short article really is an achievement.

7. If you’re a trainee journalist or your studying sports journalism, you should take a copy of this article to any interview you go to. When asked ‘Why do you want this job?’ Just show them the Aston Villa vs Roma (Parma) match report and answer: ‘To improve the standard of national newspaper journalism’.

You might be able to try this interview technique soon, as there should be a vacancy coming up at The Sun very soon.

Media Muppet Score: 100/100 (we have to mark this one out of 100 just to do it justice)

Thanks to Ryan Griffiths for the heads-up.

Simon Jones @ Daily Mail


Ron Vlaar on QPR radar as Harry Redknapp considers move for Aston Villa’s Dutchman


QPR are considering a bid for Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar should they fail to sign Steven Caulker from Cardiff. Roma are also keen on Vlaar while Villa want to offer him a new contract.


1. Yes, that was the entire article – 34 words. The bare minimum effort to justify the link-bait headline.

2. The story was from a couple of weeks ago. The journalist must have been getting bored of those Vlaar to Southampton links, so wanted something a little different. ‘Ron Vlaar on Everton radar as Roberto Martinez considers move for Aston Villa’s Dutchman’…you see, Media Muppets can do it too. We wish got paid top dollar for writing such meaningless sentences like Mr Jones does, though.

3. Since when would a player widely regarded as the best defender at the World Cup suddenly be regarded as a second choice option to a player relegated to the Championship? It”s fair to say, Caulker would have signed for any team who offered him Premiership football.  At least get it the right way round.

4. Is Ron Vlaar really going to cash-in on his recent World Cup kudos by leaving an ever-present Premier League team that he’s the captain of to join a renown yo-yo club? Nah.

Media Muppet Score: 9/10

Simon Gallagher @What Culture


Pardew Turns Attention To Christian Benteke


Though he is currently injured, the Chronicle have suggested that Newcastle are interested in Aston Villa’s Belgian striker Christian Benteke – following reports earlier this month that he was on the club’s radar – and also that Villa would be willing to talk. The transfer fee would be the remaining point on interest for the powerful hitman, who has scored 29 goals in 60 appearances for the Midlands club since joining in 2012, but his loss of form last term and the injury that has wiped out his summer might mean a more sensible valuation than what he would have garnered last summer.


1. I now can’t think of a Villa player that hasn’t been connected to Newcastle in the past few months. Oh, apart from Joe Bennett, maybe? Pardue must really regard Aston Villa as a top-notch team. Maybe he should just become our manager? Surely it’s a lot easier than trying to buy all of our players?

2. Gallagher lists his source as the North East local paper The Chronicle. It seems not only do Newcastle fans have an owner taking them for a ride, but also a local paper that is willing to do the same. Good solid passionate fans surely deserve better on all fronts.

3. Again, Christian Benteke is injured and out until September. Teams don’t normally sign injured players. Also teams don’t normally let their prized asset go cheaply after fighting tough and nail to keep them 12 months ago and giving them a long-term contract.

4. No disrespect to Newcastle, but Benteke will have his sights on one of the major European clubs, if he left Villa any time soon.

 Media Muppet Score: 9/10

Thanks to Matthew Ingram for the heads-up

If you’ve spotted an article that is just lazy journalism or worse, and perfect for Media Muppets then leave the link in the comments below, DM us on facebook or send it to us via twitter @oldmansaid


  1. You write about footbsll for a paper that claimed Liverpool fans looted and urinated on their own dead…. anybody who is associated with that paper is beneath contempt

  2. Ok, I’m going to come back on this one as my original report said ‘Parma’ (just checked in case I really had cocked up). Somehow the next morning it had been mysteriously changed to ‘Roma’. Currently trying to find out what happened. Fans quite right to pick up on the mistake – but it wasn’t one made by me. Happy to speak to anyone at MOMS who wants to chat more about this.

    • Respect for coming on and posting in reference to The Sun’s gaffe. Since the introduction of spellchecker in journalism errors have gone up, ah the irony. Anyway the game was hugely forgettable, this story was probably the highlight.

    • Do get back to us if you find out who’s fault it was, in terms of putting you in it (we can put an update up to cover you, if you were a victim of the Sun’s subs). The newspaper obviously has a lot to answer for, as that short match report was littered with shocking mistakes.

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