It’s one thing for the Liverpool Echo to taunt Everton, which they seem to do on a regular basis despite purportedly covering both the city’s teams equally. But when the paper backs a ‘journalist’ who goes off on a tirade comparing a German club to the Nazi regime and simultaneously denigrating sovereign nations and individuals, surely that’s just about enough.
In a paid-only section of the website, writer Derek McGovern went so far over the line of what is acceptable journalism that he was encroaching on the kind of disgusting murky territory that the S*n’s Kelvin MacKenzie thrived and waded in.
His piece “Who in God's name are Leipzig? - the kind of club who knock Everton out of a Europa League qualifier before finishing bottom of their group” has drawn plenty of criticism and has already had sections of it retracted due to the outrage it has sparked. As reported by the The Independent, Echo editor Alastair Machray apologised and claimed a review process would be instituted.
Where were Machray and his staff when McGovern described RB Leipzig, the club that have stood fast and refused to sell Naby Keita to Liverpool, thusly -
“[RB Leipzig] are hated in Germany because they are designed for profit rather than football. In fact they are the most hated outfit in Germany since the SS.
“Liverpool have made two bids for Keita and the only response they got from Leipzig was: ‘Show me your papers’.”
Someone has actually read this and gone "yep, we can publish that."— Michael De Asha (@MichaelDeAsha) August 1, 2017
And just in case you were wondering if that was it, there was more, this time disparaging Keita’s nation Guinea. Pray tell why would the player come to Liverpool when they’ve just finished trashing his motherland.
“Guinea is one of those places you are vaguely aware exists but you could never imagine yourself visiting. A bit like Goodison.
“It is the world's second-largest producer of bauxite. I will let you know which country is the largest producer of bauxite just as soon as I find out what bauxite is.
“Guinea is of course in Africa, just above Sierra Leone and just below £1.06p. It doesn't strike me as a hotbed of football. In 2014 there was an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea which led the government to ban the sale and consumption of bats, so I suspect it's no longer a hotbed of cricket either.”
Of course, McGovern has demonstrated in the past that he is utterly incapable of writing without tabloidesque mudslinging, having said equally cringe-worthy things about Honduras, obesity, Leeds and multiple time Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It’s a bit of an embarrassment being in the Europa League, rather like being spotted with a fat girl.”
“It’s a surprise Ronaldo has flourished under Jose Mourinho, who once criticised his lack of education. The words bounced off Ronnie’s back, especially the ones with more than two syllables.
“In one end-of-season Old Trafford quiz, Ronaldo was asked to name the four seasons and he reeled off salt, pepper, vinegar and mustard.
“He thought a seizure was a Roman emperor.”
McGovern is trying to be funny, we get it. To aim cheap jibes at Everton as he has done over the years when at the Mirror and now at the Echo is about par for the course. But when he sinks this low, it’s almost incomprehensible that editors higher up are not held accountable for his writing. Shades of MacKenzie at the S*n once again.
It isn’t just the racism and bigotry that has gotten the Liverpool Echo in hot water this summer. Blatantly false reporting and typographical errors have been prevalent, too. Among the errors was the repeated misspelling in various forms of the name of Dutch goalkeeper Eloy Room, who has been linked with a move to Everton (surprise, surprise).
Elsewhere, the Echo firmly claimed that AC Milan forward M’Baye Niang was physically at USM Finch Farm while the player followed up the report by posting a photo of himself on holiday. He has still not signed for Everton.
As fellow fans ourselves, we know the struggle for accurate and in-depth information is real. Especially during silly season, fans are finding themselves increasingly without any sources of reliable Everton as newspaper websites rely more and more on unsubstantiated rumours within live trackers, without providing any real detail beyond click-baity headlines.
The kind of journalism that the likes of McGovern peddle though, there is no place for that in football and in the world in general, and kudos to all those who spoke out against him and the paper earlier today.