On the front pages all the talk is of the Crewe byelection and ditching the Prime Minister. On the back pages it’s all about Moscow and ditching Avram Grant — oh, and Real Madrid wanting to buy Ronaldo. This speculation is all about one thing — selling papers and begging for viewers.
Papers need to sell copies. TV shows need ratings, especially twenty-four hour TV news shows, condemned to recycling the same clips hour after hour, like some strange punishment by the Greek gods. What they both need is news, any news, but ideally big news. The disappearance of a young girl is good, especially if she isn’t found. The story of a mad Austrian abusing his children is good for a week. But as Summer approaches, and New Zealand are touring, England aren’t in the European Championship, Paula Radcliffe has a stress fracture and the Olympics is in a different time zone, far, far away… So all eyes on Brown, Ronaldo and Grant (and Lampard and Mourinho).
Labour haven’t got a replacement for Brown, so they will stay steady if they have any sense. if Chelsea had any sense they would thank their lucky stars for Grant, sell Drogba, Shevchenko and Malouda, find some young players and stay steady. If Ronaldo had any sense he would look at what going to Real Madrid did for Robinho and the Galacticos and stay steady. But staying steady doesn’t sell papers. The pundits and editors need a story so they will press on regardless. On the back pages, they are more used to this kind of thing. They know that the three months between the Champions League Final and FA Charity Shield are a terrible time, the dog days. So they will push on with transfer stories. It’s the only game in town.