D.A.D. – Downton Appreciation / Assassination Day

Note – there is another post published last night below this on county cricket so read that if interested too.

PR Waitrose

Today is Downton Assassination Day. On 8 April 2015, Tom Harrison announced a restructuring of the ECB top brass and our man Downton was gone. Assassination sounds too harsh. I kind of appreciated him. Without Rupe, I wouldn’t have had much to write. Without Rupe, we wouldn’t have a title for this blog. We owe him much.


It is worth sparing a thought for the man, a great appointment, full of aplomb, and a titan in an era when we needed one. Lauded as “great behind the scenes” at the start of his wondrous reign, we will all remember the wondrous interview with Aggers (winding up with me getting a threatening Tweet from an Aggers fanboy), the “something must be done” stuff with Cook and Warne and then the will he be skipper stuff in Sri Lanka. Then came our favourite interview when he tried to get ahead of the World Cup elimination.

On this sad day let us be reminded of an article that bade him farewell. From the man who anointed him with aplomb on the day of his first public announcements..

Despite his 30 Test caps, his part in an Ashes-winning campaign and durable playing career, as well as being a thoroughly affable chap, Paul Downton will go down in cricket history for one thing. He is The Man Who Sacked Kevin Pietersen.

“A thoroughly affable chap”. There you have it peeps. That’s what it takes.

That will be his legacy as it was his curse during his short time as managing director of England cricket. He took what was a brave, perhaps necessary, decision within days of officially starting in the job last year and it came to stalk him wherever he went and whatever he did.

Because he never explained why. Lawyers or something. Disconnected or something. 10000 runs as an ambition or something. Fielding at fine leg or something.

Perhaps it came to affect his own outlook. Downton could barely emerge from his office without being asked about Pietersen and was never quite able to offer definitive reasons. On the occasion he did, he was lambasted for breaching confidentiality agreements.

It really is / was reprehensible for the paying public to demand an answer. Especially when the media weren’t exactly falling over themselves to find out.

As the months wore on, it became increasingly clear that Downton, while he had a deep love for the game, was out of touch with its modern version. He recognised that England were playing an outdated brand of one-day cricket but never quite detailed how he might change it.

It took a genius, after that World Cup, and that build up to recognise change was needed. Also he had a deep love for the game is a baseline requirement, not some special trait.

In his last public utterances, he was confident and measured until the name of Pietersen was mentioned, when he virtually seized up. It is not without irony that he should have said: “I’m not saying everybody’s job is safe and I’m not saying that everybody is going to be sacked. It feels as though, from your perspective [the media’s], there needs to be a scapegoat. There needs to be a target.

Said the man who scapegoated someone after an Ashes whitewash. I wonder why he had to go.

“All I’m saying is we’re in a position where we’re a transitioning side and that will take time. We have to take the right decisions to ensure we do that as  quickly and smoothly as we can. But it’s too early to say yet in terms of any definitives: he’s going or he’s not going.”

Confident and measured said the scribe. I’d say this indicates a frazzled mind and someone without a clue.

The article went on. The link is at the end.

Downton with aplomb - brenkley

Downton provided this blog with a ton of ammunition because he was out of his depth from Day One. We said it here and on HDWLIA. The press didn’t. Remember that. Some of the press were incredibly sceptical of the appointment of Moores, so at that point they might have been thinking there were doubts with the man making the decision, but they didn’t show it. Far more important to them was the grandiose decision, the “taking the bull by the horns” act of scapegoating Pietersen and yes, it did define him. In the process the ECB showed contempt for the fans, and the press showed contempt for their audience. They hoped they’d get away with it, and they probably have. But Downton is the main symbol of their approach. Sure, it’s a little unfair to pile it all on Downton, but he was their lightning rod, and he got the strikes. He was the first one truly jettisoned, and yet he did the ECB proud in disposing with you-know-who.


Now we await the ECB accounts to see how much he was paid off. For failure. They are due soon.




61 thoughts on “D.A.D.

  1. nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 7:03 am

    I’ll just leave this here shall I?


    • nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 7:04 am

      And for balance:


      • SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 8:19 am

        James Marsh and my favourite ever Tweet:


    • Mark Apr 8, 2016 / 8:53 am

      Brian Moore spouting clap trap again. No surprise there then!

      Having a different opinion is mob hate is it? Remind me never to use him as a lawyer.


  2. Sherwick Apr 8, 2016 / 7:10 am

    Anger and disgust.


  3. Julie Apr 8, 2016 / 7:26 am

    Pity the rest of them didn’t go with him.Wonder if they ever have a twinge of guilt about what they did to KP. I believe poor old Downton was always only going to be the tool to get rid of KP and the others would have clean hands.Sorry guys some of us will never forgive or forget.You’re all GUILTY.Am still angry that we never got to give KP, one of England’s best a fitting farewell after all he did for England cricket💛


    • Rooto Apr 8, 2016 / 10:48 am

      “we never got”…
      Julie! Not you too! No past tense, please.
      “we haven’t yet had”… surely? 🙂


      • Zephirine Apr 8, 2016 / 11:49 am

        It ain’t over till it’s over, Julie – mark my words. we’ll live to see Kevin Pietersen as Chairman of Selectors.


      • Julie Apr 8, 2016 / 11:54 am

        Sorry, am feeling a bit depressed tonight after reading Alec Stewart’s comments that KP wasn’t coming back. Yes let’s say “we haven’t yet said our goodbyes and thank you’s to one of Eng’s best batsmen”.


  4. SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 8:32 am

    A reminder how David Collier (for it was he) presented Downton’s appointment:

    “”Paul’s record of success both on and off the field made him the outstanding candidate to replace Hugh Morris. His experience of a World Cup final, Ashes success, six County Championship wins and 58 international appearances for England provides a wealth of cricket experience.

    “His background in law when coupled with his experience in the City provides the unique set of skills which is required to lead and manage the England cricket department’ s £100 million budget over the next four years. Paul will inherit a thriving team England operation, which has been exceptionally well led by Hugh Morris and the ECB wishes Hugh every success in his new role at Glamorgan CCC.”

    A wealth of cricket experience? Two decades previously.

    His background…. in the City? Only the ECB could present that as a plus (recalling clive’s “serial banker” still raises a smile).

    And Whitaker was appointed the same day.


  5. nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 9:10 am

    “Excellent move”


    Also features:

    “the return of Moores, a brilliant coach in the estimation of those who have worked with him in the last five years, is another excellent move.”

    Two pearlers like that, *and* Goochie’s dog-thrower. I think this is the most unwittingly hilarious load of toss Selvey ever wrote, and thought so even without the benefit of hindsight. He’s written pieces that made me much angrier, but nothing that made me laugh so much.


    • nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 9:34 am

      His BTL comments, however, are off the scale in terms of haughtiness and self-satisfaction.


    • Sherwick Apr 8, 2016 / 9:17 pm



    • jomesy Apr 8, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      Pretty well reasoned summary


  6. Maxie Allen Apr 8, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Paul Downton: arrogance, incompetence and malice. The only question is – in which proportions?

    My theory about Downton is that he brought to the role the analytical protocol of a golf-club bar-bore whose stock-in-trade is quarter-baked prejudice based on third-hand opinions.

    During the years before he arrived at Lord’s, he idly flicked through the cricket pages of the Telegraph during his train journey into the City. He glanced at the headlines about Pietersen and absent-mindedly formed the Corkian view that he (KP) was a “bad egg”.

    Then he took office as MD. Andy Flower told him to sack Pietersen (as the dodgy dossier informs us), and duly, he did.

    What’s truly staggering about Downton, though, is his total unexpectedness for the reaction – both from public and press. Why, on earth, did he not expect vociferous anger and constant scrutiny? Did he really imagine that people would obediently take the ECB at their word and then calmly move on? Did he never anticipate curiosity? And why did he feel prepared to take a decision for which he did not have a coherent explanation?

    Was he monumentally naive? Or bewilderingly arrogant? Or both?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alec Apr 8, 2016 / 10:33 am

      He was just staggeringly ill-qualified. This is in some ways not his fault as even now the job merely seems to be “don’t let Australia win the Ashes”, along with probably 90% of all the top jobs at the ECB.

      I reckon you could start an abattoir specialising in fresh kitten-veal at Lord’s and provided you did it either just before or just after an Ashes victory you couldsell it to the media as a vital cog in the success of the England team’s success.

      England’s progress had stalled under Moores and Downton and too many people saw that their jobs were in danger if things carried on as they were. Unlike last time, there would be nobody to pin blame to other than themselves (which is why you don’t dispense of the scapegoat when you lose series Down-Under, they’re far too useful for the end of the northern summer).


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 8, 2016 / 10:55 am

      I recall listening to his Agnew interview about how he got the job. People, that was your ECB.


  7. Rooto Apr 8, 2016 / 10:57 am

    The ECB need their Praetorian guard of senior cricket correspondents as much as vice versa. A lot of fans were angry, and a fair number of bloggers and junior writers/ cricinfo writers took that up too. If the senior men hadn’t known which side their bread was buttered, the ECB would’ve copped a lot more flak, and more directly in their faces. However, these senior guys are soon retiring. I have hope for the future.


  8. Clivejw Apr 8, 2016 / 11:30 am

    It seemed that the dumping of Downton would be the beginning of a wholesale clear-out with the arrival of Graves (who took up office a month or so later). But although Moores was also put out to grass (in a completely unprofessional and callous manner that actually aroused sympathy for Moores, despite his dire record), here we are, a year later, with Whitaker somehow still in a job, ***k still stinking up the captaincy and still failing to deliver runs in key series, and Giles Clarke still apparently pulling the strings, with Graves effectively neutered. So Downton’s ouster was very much a false dawn. I really got my hopes up with the appointment of Graves, but his treatment of KP was despicable, as blundering as Downton’s, and added insult to injury. Since when he seems to have gone into purdah.


    • Sherwick Apr 8, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      Well, at least Flower’s gone…



  9. SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Cook’s managed another one of his “oops, I didn’t mean to be undermining, despite all my decades of media training I’m just a bit maladroit” interviews again:


    ““The selectors have an interesting choice in the next few weeks because we haven’t got it quite right yet, especially in the batting department. When you average 20 in a series you’re not guaranteed for selection and that’s how it should be….The guys in the shirt who didn’t quite score the runs they would have liked are still holding the shirt. They played the last game and won a series so that holds a good bit of sway, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. We relied upon the batsmen in four, five, six, seven, eight and nine, which is our strength, but we need to get the top order right and firing”.

    Or to put it another way – “will nobody rid me of Hales and that weirdo Compton”.

    Speaking of averaging twenty as a top order batsman and not being guaranteed a place:
    Australia 2013 27.7
    Australia 2013/14 24.6
    SL 2014 19.5

    Pietersen never averaged under 30 in two consecutive series, let alone three.

    Cook also said:
    “To say we’re going to win seven games in a row is a bit too disrespectful to Sri Lanka and Pakistan”.

    Now, who did write exactly that just a few days ago…..?


    • Zephirine Apr 8, 2016 / 11:56 am

      “oops, I didn’t mean to be undermining, despite all my decades of media training I’m just a bit maladroit”

      Very accurate, Simon. That man is remarkably good at expressing no confidence in people. Going out to bat with him must be such a treat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Apr 8, 2016 / 3:50 pm

        Dmitri it’s extraordinary isn’t it? The ECB were all over Stuart Lancaster. He was their model of a good coach. On the night of the World Cup games Against Wales and Australia Andrew Strauss was walking up the touch line before the match. I remember because radio 5 live couldn’t wait to tell me about it.

        These people just rewrite history as if what happened in the past can be just airbrushed away. Then again when the cricket media in this country is happy to protect them and fawn all over them it’s not that difficult to invent history. The media help them all the way.


      • jomesy Apr 8, 2016 / 6:12 pm

        I’ve actually started enjoying team ECB without Cook. Admittedly my interest has been in passing – ie if I had nothing else to do rather than making time for cricket as I would have done before.

        Frankly I can’t stand the thought of Cook’s return.

        Ps – I can still remember where I was when I heard the news of D.A.D. – I was alone and stuck in traffic and I remember thinking in this order:

        1. Wow, effing wow – wasn’t expecting that!
        2. Glee – at his going – but how long would the skid stain remain
        3. Trying to cheer up sliver of hope that KP could, maybe, return…there’s at least some hope now in this black hole of personal misery that is English cricket
        4. Who might want to go for a drink to celebrate…quick traffic quick (starts making calls)


      • SimonH Apr 9, 2016 / 7:43 am

        One DM article by Cook’s stenographer-in-chef that covers similar ground but goes further in that it promotes named alternatives:


        There’s a second one as well just in case anyone missed the first. That one has some praise of Hales but I can’t find one line of praise of Compton (instead the only specific mention of him is that he “could” be the first to get the chop because he’s too intense. Presumably this sort of stuff in the media is designed to help him relax?). It’s strange how the argument used – quite reasonably – to back Stokes, that his stats don’t truly measure his worth isn’t used about Compton who scored hard runs when they mattered in SA then got a duck when a match was virtually over and failed twice in the dead rubber.

        The double standards are nauseating. Talking of double standards, can anyone imagine if Pietersen was in the team and saying stuff like this? Denigrating teammates and promoting named alternatives (including a county colleague)? The indignation would be off the Richter Scale.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Apr 9, 2016 / 7:51 am

          You are so right about the last part. These are five players Alastair Cook thinks can force their way in.

          Alastair Cook is not a selector. Any previous captain pulling this stuff would be told, in no uncertain terms, that he isn’t a selector. But not Alastair.

          I’m not saying he shouldn’t have input, of course not, but he seems to let these things out (and he’s a shrewd media player, Alastair) far too often for my liking.

          I wonder if Ali Lachef has anything to say on the matter?

          Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 4:02 pm

      The part of the Lancaster example that most interests me is that (to my knowledge) not a single suit has gone because of the WC c*********k.

      They’ve provided the template for if England crash-and-burn at the 2019 cricket WC:
      1) Set up an inquiry.
      2) Drag it out interminably so everyone’s moved on when (if ever) it reports.
      3) Stuff it full of tame placemen.
      4) Issue gagging clauses like there’s no tomorrow.
      5) Throw your mega-bucks at a top foreign coach.
      6) Win a few meaningless games and the media will be soon eating out of your hand again as if the WC never happened.

      You can bet your bottom dollar that Harrison, Strauss and co. have been following it very closely and taking detailed notes.


  10. Mark Apr 8, 2016 / 11:47 am

    He was chosen because he was, to re quote that famous Thatcher phrase “one of us” (and by that I don’t mean us outside cricket.) He was a company man. There must have been plenty of people who could have done the job, but they didn’t want people on merit. It’s a cosy club.

    What I find staggering, and why I will remain for ever outside of cricket is the philistine analaysis by so many so called experts as to why England have success. The idea that since 2014 Englands success has had anything to with Cooks captaincy is idiotic. He was bailed out by the bowlers particularly Jimmy Anderson who never let us forget told the world they decided to dump the plans and just bowl naturally. The idea keeping Cook as captain was an act of great leadership is drivel.

    Equally these same geniuses will have you believe that Englands success before this time had nothing to do with KP, or Swann but al about Strauss captaincy is equally absurd. It’s the cringing genuflecting of the officer class that is rife in the UK.

    The media defended Downton to the hilt until they didn’t? Then they backed Moores to the hilt until they they didnt. Now they worship Strauss. They are like lemmings. As long as “one of us” is in charge they will happily March over the cliff behind them. Complete balls.


  11. SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    ” It’s the cringing genuflecting of the officer class that is rife in the UK”.

    From two recent interviews (one in the G, one in the DM – I know I said I was going to give up reading them but it’s a hard habit to break!):

    “Trevor Bayliss was the correct choice. It’s been proved 100%.” (Jason Gillespie)

    “I fully understand and respect the decision to leave me out. I needed to step out of it and that was the advice Andrew Strauss gave to me. He said as a mate – and now as my boss – I should forget about cricket and see how I came back and felt about it”. (Ian Bell)

    “I got a phone call from Straussy and then he drove up and saw me as did Trevor Bayliss and I really appreciated that”. (Bell again)

    “Losing the vice-captaincy was a blow. Yes, I was hurt. I fully understood because Joe Root is a future England captain but I would have liked to carry on, into the Ashes in particular. As a senior player you don’t have to be vice-captain to contribute but when I was told I was gutted. I knew I was never going to be England captain because Cooky is a bit younger than me and he’s the right man for the job”. (Bell again)

    So that’s new England in the media – not only do you get shat on but you have to say how right it was that they shat on you. And that they shat on you really nicely. And don’t forget to praise Cooky…..

    It was also good to see from the DT’s interview with Ben Stokes that it took place in Hexham Waitrose. Just the gig for someone who’s been on the road for five months and now has two weeks off before another five months without a break. Stokes mentions in the interview how much he appreciated contact from Warne after the Final – Warne can be a Grade A tool but he can also do things like that and I bet it doesn’t get mentioned anywhere else. I know the interview was in Hexham Waitrose because the story mentioned it twice and there was a picture.


    • Zephirine Apr 8, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Bell has beautiful manners, he’s unfailingly polite and self-deprecating. Probably wrote Strauss a thank-you letter.


    • Rooto Apr 8, 2016 / 1:55 pm

      When you put it like that, Simon, I realise that Bell is never going to get back in the England side. It reads too much like the last line of Nineteen Eighty-Four.


      • SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 2:39 pm

        “If you want a vision of the future, imagine one of Paul Newman’s Hush Puppies stamping on a human face – forever”.


    • Mark Apr 8, 2016 / 4:08 pm

      And we all remember how well, and grown up Cooky took the news when he was dropped from captain of the ODI team. Gave a press realease as soon as the the WC was over denouncing the decision, and saying it had been proved to be the wrong decision (no it hadn’t. It was the right decision…. just 2 years too late.) Bell sounds almost grateful to be dropped. It is like an episode of Ripping yarns. “Thank you school bully for beating the shit out of me.”

      There is something almost creepy about this sense of awe everybody has to have of Strauss. It’s stinks. But this summer is going to be only about the magical 10,000 runs. That’s all we will hear about. Of course we won’t hear a squeak about how the ECB disregarded the same landmark when KP was wanting to achieve it. That will be airbrushed away. Along with Stuart Lancaster.

      As for Stokes interview at Waitrose it is just too much. The national team reduced to celebrity master chef.


      • SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 6:15 pm

        I used think this orchestrated fawning over Strauss and others was a product of insecurity. I’m not so sure now.

        Is it more part of the cult of the charismatic chief executive? These types who believe they really are ‘masters of the universe’ and that if ‘Atlas shrugged’ civilisation really would collapse around our ears?

        Coming soon – the movie ‘Andrew Strauss’ directed by Danny Boyle and starring Michael Fassbender as the charismatic CEO of English cricket. Tagline: ‘Can a great man be a good man? Of course he can – and don’t be impertinent’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Escort Apr 8, 2016 / 11:04 pm

        When the annointed Cook does get to the ten thousand figure he will be in the company of others who are well above him in almost every way.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Northern Light Apr 8, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      Well, at least they had the grace to talk to him face to face.

      It’s not much, I know. Just trying to be fair.


    • fred Apr 8, 2016 / 6:29 pm

      That’s quite funny. Interesting to see the cricket community is not the only one unhappy about inconsistent and inappropriate modding, especially for comments that disagree with the writer.

      It’s interesting when Nonox posts a link to an old article to illustrate a point, as he has done above, to see all the old names I’d forgotten about who have now disappeared. It underlines what an exodus of intelligent and informed cricket fans there has been from the gaurdian. What was a decent forum has become largely irrelevant, and all that remains is often not much more than petty nationalistic slanging matches. In my view, Selvey is the key reason for this, his infuriating, irresponsible reporting along with an aggressive, demeaning response to other people has set the tone, and the intelligent community voted with its feet. Wrecking a cricket site singehandedly; not a bad achievement for one man.

      I could log into that commenting article and raise what happened to cricket but I won’t, for two reasons. Firstly because I can’t be bothered, it’s their problem and my respect and esteem for the paper has deteriorated so much I’ve no real motivation to help them. Secondly, it wasn’t the commenting mechanism that caused the problems. It was the ATL coverage, and one man in particular, that sent the commenting community into a death spiral. If you want good comments, get good writers to write about important stuff.

      It’s strange the sports editer has not addressed this. James Walsh works there, comments on cricket blogs (or used to), is clearly a dedicated cricket fan, and may be a moderator for all I know. In a time when media outlets are seeking ways to retain customers, it’s odd the community has been allowed to fall apart like this. Still, the gaurdian’s loss is BOC’s gain.

      Liked by 3 people

      • nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 7:11 pm

        There are two particularly outstanding BTL comments on the “excellent move” link, from simonk and jbkingsangler.

        The latter is the most succinctly brutal and accurate knifing I can remember seeing on there.


    • Rooto Apr 8, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      Thanks Tregaskis for the link. I’ve just done my democratic duty and slagged off Selvey’s moderation policy.


      • Tregaskis Apr 9, 2016 / 10:11 am

        Thank you Nonoxol for this link. It must have missed the article first time around.

        If it was the first piece anyone had read in the Guardian, you’d might be forgiven for thinking “sounds reasonable to me.” But in the context of the Guardian’s track record and its alarming shift towards controlling its BTL community, the insidious wordcraft sent an involuntary shiver down my spine. Of course it’s not censoring or controlling, it’s “curating.” It’s not creating a safe space along the ludicrous lines seen on student campuses up and down the land, it’s creating a “welcome space.” It’s not weeding out dissenting voices, it’s moderating “abuse.”

        The Orwellian double-speak is troubling enough, but the paper’s practices and end goal make me despair. They are not in the least bit progressive as the Guardian would have us believe. They are anti-intellectual, censorial and prissy. It seems to me that the Guardian’s evolving policy on comment is designed to narrow the breadth of opinion and not enrich the debate; its heavy-handed enforcement is designed to disallow any challenge to ATL ideas. 

        Unsurprisingly, there is little transparency in how the moderators define abusive behaviour that offends so-called community standards. Nor is it easy for commenters to acquire any kind of “common law” understanding of the definitions because offending posts are usually gone before one can make a mental note of what the moderators considered a breach of the rules. It is like Josef K never knowing the reason why he is caught up in an arcane judicial process. Nor is there any discernible consistency it the way moderators apply the rules. The BTL guard donkeys that bite, kick and chase away dissenters appear to enjoy a licence denied others.

        Perhaps the Guardian is struggling to come to terms with the digital age and the democratisation of opinion. Instead of embracing discussion or alternative thought, it is seeking to control the platform. It seems clear to me that the Guardian is looking to impose a far stricter code of conduct on its BTL commenters than it does on its own journalists. The rules of moderation do not seem to align that closely with the paper’s own editorial code, certainly in practice.

        Sadly, the Guardian will soon enough enjoy the community it wishes for. It will be either an extension of its own editorial position or be so completely benign and dull as to be a waste of pixels and screen space. When the Guardian employs editorial practices that mimic this or that in-house political journal, another bit of democracy is dead and CP Scott’s legacy finally dismantled.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B Apr 8, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      Having seen the same thing done in B2B, I’d be a little careful. Often it’s done to block those ‘who might disagree with the author’

      Very good piece Dmitri btw.


  12. SimonH Apr 8, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    Some brilliant comments on that thread.

    Take this one and its replies:


    A perfectly reasonable point about the moderation of criticisms of moderators and the total disappearance of such comments. Within 15 minutes a reply calls it “whining…. tedious, self-absorbed and dull…. definitely off-topic”.

    Who there does the Guardian think is being abusive, lacks respect and has a fixed agenda? Not UncleDunedin I’d hazard to suggest.


    • nonoxcol Apr 8, 2016 / 8:51 pm

      The poster PeterGriffin nails it over and over again. And the ATL article is an insidious, mealy-mouthed defence of censorship, with the poor ickle writers to be protected even when exposed by intelligent commenters.

      The Guardian as we know it is heading straight down the toilet – this piece confirmed it for me.


      • Sherwick Apr 8, 2016 / 10:04 pm



      • fred Apr 8, 2016 / 10:19 pm

        When the Panama Papers story came out, I didn’t even bother reading, as it seemed like a targetted attack on Putin, highlighted in lurid yellow. It turns out it’s a bit bigger than that, but that’s the angle the guardian chose to lead with. Offguardian did a great critique on that.

        It’s reporting on Syria has been repeatedly shown to be misleading. I don’t believe a word it says now about Syria.

        I haven’t gone back to check against the archives, but it seems there are more first person “attitude” articles than there used to be. Instead of getting the news, I get what it’s like to be a female cyclist in London abused by men, or a shark attack in Australia (because what else happens there?), or a pseudo science article about nutrition, which is actually just a promo piece for someone who’s written a book. I’m sure it didn’t used to be like this. The upside of this is that it’s made me search for and appreciate alternative news sources.

        It’s a shame, as I used to consider it the best paper in England, but now it’s just another contender. I guess it has no choice but to take a populist route, or introduce a paywall, what else can it do?

        It’s a great disappointment that it failed to address the big three heist, that’s where my frustration really began, and of course it’s blindness to the ECB and the Cook/Messiah thing was a descent into complete parody, even though that issue was less pertinent to me personally. That’s when the likes of westcork started to feel at home, and the game was over. Guardian as a serious cricket reporting site was finished.

        Maybe things will change if Selvey moves on and they get a serious senior cricket correspondent. Otherwise, follow the zeitgeist: treat the guardian as just another voice, inform yourself from a variety of sources, and don’t passively accept any voice of authority. Which I guess is what everyone here does anyway, and indeed is why they’re here. (Dmitri, you bloody troublemaker:)).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Apr 9, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      I don’t believe for one minute the guardian wants to engage with their readers. It’s just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The real problem is the Guardian is pretending to be something it ain’t. It is still masquerading as a tolerant, liberal newspaper. While filling it’s editorial with the complete opposite.

      That suggests a newspaper that is dishonest in what it is doing. It is hoping people don’t notice and just sink into the propaganda. Well many have either left or don’t bother to contribute. If you are going to be a Neo con Washington controlled outlet than admit it. Don’t pretend to be something else.

      As for the cricket coverage……is it just me? but now the KP thing has died down and the New England set is up is up and running…… suddenly it wants an open BTL section? It’s had massive censorship , and now it feels it can relax it a bit because it has achieved the result it’s cricket editor wanted. It’s all part of the sanctimonious modern saying about “moving on.” Which means We won, now get in line and stop moaning. Doesn’t work like that I’m afraid. As Fred said, they broke it, they can fix it. But meaningless reader surveys won’t cure the problem. The problem is the editorial machine.


  13. BoredInAustria Apr 9, 2016 / 6:40 am

    Interesting article on “journalism”:


    “And I think we need to understand that we [journalists] generally know very little about what is really happening…. If you are one of those poor people who have to report Brussels, you’ll know how difficult it is, even for the guys with the press passes, to get the story. They just get handed effectively a series of semi-leaks and spun information.”

    Not what Selvey wants to hear.

    Ps – Lovely post Dmitri


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 9, 2016 / 7:08 am

      May I tip my hat to what I assume is your wonderful retort to Selvey yesterday. Bravo!


      • BoredInAustria Apr 9, 2016 / 8:03 am

        Bad spelling – must be me. Surprised it is still up!


    • fred Apr 9, 2016 / 4:11 pm

      Yes, Paul Mason used to write some interesting stuff in the guardian (no longer) and on his blog. And it seems he’s a Greek specialist. I haven’t kept up with him unfortunately as I’ve been overwhelmed with other things but he seemed like a voice worth listening to. The link you posted reinforces that. Thanks for the link.
      His resignation from C4 reinforces my impression that to be a successful journalist you have to be a rat-bag arsehole like John Pilger or George Monibot, otherwise you just won’t get to the truth. They don’t tell you if you ask nicely.
      At least the guardian published this, I’ll give them credit for that.


  14. nonoxcol Apr 9, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Buried treasure…

    In all the thousands of BTL posts on the subject, I don’t remember this angle coming up. The replies to this tweet are truly fascinating.

    Obviously Mike Selvey was better informed than both Alec Stewart and Pietersen’s wife. I mean, obviously. Otherwise one might think he was a credulous shill.


    • Mark Apr 9, 2016 / 12:13 pm

      What a golden find Nonoxcol, well done.

      It’s all very fine if you are the one doing the kicking hey mr Selvey? What a fuss you made about KPs book. We could dig up all your sanctimonious whining about that. But when it was KP getting a good kicking It was just good old satire.

      As they famously said during Watergate, “What did Mr Selvey know about the players running the fake Twitter account, and when did it no it .”


      • fred Apr 9, 2016 / 3:02 pm

        “What did you know…” but it’s gone beyond the search for facts, they treat facts with disregard. The ECB said it couldn’t speak due to a confidentiality agreement lasting 6 months. Something about a dossier. Cook said we would understand once the facts came out. And that was it, nothing else was ever said. When the time came for the facts, there was nothing, nothing. It’s not about facts, it’s about prevaricating until people get bored with it all. Who cares what Mr Selvey knew, it’s not as if we’re having an honest discussion here, so facts are not very relevant.

        Australia is often criticised for the hard way it plays cricket. It’s true that it can be excessive some times, but it’s a great antidote to pretension and group think. I heard Allen Border challenged a few years ago on commentary, might have been by a South African commentator, about the abrasive approach of Australians. He paused for a moment and just said “well that’s the way we play it in the clubs in Australia, and that’s why you see it in the national team”. In other words, that’s the culture of Australian cricket. Mostly that’s led to good results. I’d rather that, than the serpentine political conniving that has riven English cricket recently. Maybe English cricket will be refreshed by some of the young talent coming through, although I wouldn’t hold my breath, as it’s not just about the players.

        Australia fucked up a little, especially around the time of the homework incident, but I put that down (conveniently but maybe unfairly) to a South African coach. They’ve recovered since, and are back in business. Drawing deeper on the well of national prejudice, I’d give alot of credit to England’s recent success to having employed Bayliss:) Fair?

        England has moved from being chronic underachievers/jokes, to being successful but despicable (the cynical but years of Strauss/Flower/Cook with dry bowling, time wasting, hubris and refusal to face reality), to being quite an interesting young team. For the first time in quite a while, I’m quite interested in what they do, since they play interesting cricket, and in Root at least they have a serious batsman. Stokes is perhaps a little hard to love, but watching keenly to see what happens next.

        Sorry, drifted off topic a bit, I guess I’d be moderated in the guardian for that. All I wanted to say was that facts haven’t mattered when it comes to English cricket administration.

        Liked by 1 person

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