“One of the most common headlines in sports writing is an insistence on using ‘insist’, one of the few legacies of the recently deceased, but stylistically unlamented, Ceefax” insists (ahem) When Saturday Comes Daily’s Ian Plenderleith. Let’s not even consider whether not the mutinous players of QPR insisted they’d never play for head-butt specialist Jim Magliton, as Plenderleith has some other brazen examples ;
Before Liverpool’s home game with Man Utd, the Daily Telegraph ran a story on its site with the headline Jamie Carragher insists United will face backlash. The image you have is of Jamie Carragher picking up the phone, chin out, all aggrieved and badgering a Telegraph reporter time and again with his views, then waiting outside his house to repeat himself once more for good measure. OK, that image fits pretty well with the Liverpool captain, but what he actually said in the story was: “We’ve got a lot of fight and character and will want to show that against United, particularly after what happened against Lyon.” Nothing quite as violent as a “backlash” and more the sound of a man responding to a question than of someone insisting on anything.
On to the Independent, where a story about Leicester City’s attempt to sign Edgar Davids was headed Mandaric insists Foxes have muscle to sign Davids. Then you read the story and find that Leicester’s owner Milan Mandaric is not really insisting anything at all but pointing out: “We are in conversation with Edgar and his agent, and at this point that’s all I can say. We are progressing and it is potentially exciting, of course, but we are not there yet.” And there was nothing about having big muscles either.
The same paper managed to cast a quasi-sexual shadow over the story that Fabio Capello said the issue of whether or not he will select Michael Owen had turned the player into his tormentor. I’m tormented by Owen obsession, says Capello ran the headline, evoking pictures of the fiendish England manager in his cellar surrounded by walls covered in Owen memorabilia, with the striker himself gagged, chained and locked inside a cage wearing nothing but a leather thong.