group of Everton supporters The 1878s have called Sky Sports’ coverage of the victory over Newcastle a “absolute disgrace” because they were reporting from the Wirral before kickoff, rather than Goodison Park.
On December 8, the morning after the team’s thrilling 3-0 victory over the Magpies, the group took to Twitter to express their dismay at the broadcaster’s implication that the stadium would resemble a “dangerous war zone” in the wake of protests from the fans.
The 1878s claimed that none of the protests have actually caused problems. Sanny Rudra had been on the other side of the river earlier in the evening, declaring, “as broadcasters we want to keep away from any trouble,” as Toffees supporters staged another protest against the Premier League over the points deduction. However, Rudra later went to the game.
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“As a group, we are extremely disappointed with [the] Sky Sports News coverage before last night’s game,” the 1878s wrote in their post. The group had staged two protests before yesterday’s match, one at our home stadium against Manchester United and the other away at Nottingham Forest, alongside thousands of other Everton supporters.
Together with the one we had last night at home against Newcastle United, both of these protests have been flawless, effective, and incident-free. Since the protests have all been conducted politely, we are dissatisfied with Sky Sports News’s report that they were avoiding any unrest at Goodison Park.
Before the game, Sanny Rudravajhala of Sky Sports News implied that Goodison is similar to a dangerous war zone while reporting from the Wirral. However, the same reporter, who was present at Goodison for the game, tweeted, “Goodison Park under the lights.” Fewer English football sights can compare. Will be sad to see it go.
Evertons have never engaged in any violent or hazardous activities. To suggest otherwise is utterly shameful.
To be fair, it is unlikely that Rudravajhala made the decision to avoid the area surrounding the ground, but regardless of where the decision originated, it was a bad one.
It goes without saying that journalists shouldn’t be in danger when attending a football game, but on Thursday night, that threat wasn’t present unless Sky had a specific reason to think it would be.
Yes, Everton supporters are upset about how the team has been handled by the authorities, but that is very different from Sky Sports broadcasters risking their lives to express their outrage—covering it is after all, their job.
Reports of “trouble” surrounding the protests during the Manchester United game in the first game following the announcement of the points sanction, the away victory against Forest, or even the thrilling victory on Thursday night have not surfaced.
Therefore, making the drastic decision to stay away only served to unfairly portray Everton supporters as a problem, even though there doesn’t seem to have been any justification for it.
It sounds a lot like the same mindset that the previous board showed almost a year ago when they claimed there were safety concerns before canceling home games for months at a time. The police also acknowledged they had not been notified of any such threats, despite the fact that the apparent safety concerns were never supported or verified [Daily Mail, 16 January].
Everton supporters have endured years of mismanagement at the top of the team, relegation battles after relegation, unending concern for the team’s future, and now a hefty fine from the league and an ostensibly independent commission that has seemed to many like an arbitrary procedure designed to single out Everton.
The supporters are impacted by all of those factors, even though none of them were truly their fault. Therefore, it is completely irrational for them to be singled out for demonization within a year by both the league’s partner broadcaster and the board of their own club, seemingly without any justification.