As featured on News Now

Does the editor of The Times have a problem with Everton?
by Peter Bottomley

Last season, back in December, just after Everton had won at Old Trafford and more than matched Arsenal at the Emirates, Tony Evans, Football Editor of The Times, wrote that all Roberto Martinez was really doing was “papering over the cracks.” He opined that come the end of the season all the loan players would be gone and in any case an ageing Gareth Barry was not a man to build a team around; Gerard Deulofeu would go back to Barcelona; Romelu Lukaku would be “hawked around for the biggest price.” He predicted that this summer for Everton would be “another summer of cautious spending” and quipped “how long Everton can rely on a policy of begging and borrowing is anyone’s guess.” In the same article he even had the temerity to claim that Martinez should be well disposed to his predecessor David Moyes because he had “bequeathed Ross Barkley” to him, overlooking the fact, even if he knew it, that Moyes never trusted Barkley and most of the time kept him sitting on the substitutes bench and that all his real development had come under Martinez. A few weeks later Evans was at it again; criticising Martinez for his use of the loan market arguing that “borrowing judiciously can be good but sometimes the payback is painful,” finishing off with the classic lazy logic of “Martinez is (merely) using his time on Merseyside as a staging post.”

Fast forward to the present. The Times like all the sports media have been getting fantastic mileage out of the Ross Barkley situation, peddling rumours of his imminent mega-money transfer to a ‘big’ club almost on a daily basis. Thus one would expect the news that he had tied himself to his boyhood club by signing a lucrative 4 year contract would be worthy of extensive, in depth, coverage. The press conference at which this was announced took place at 4-00 pm on Tuesday afternoon. How surprising that Wednesday morning’s edition of The Times carried no mention of it. Plenty of coverage of United’s pre-season tour of the States, and plenty – a double page spread in fact – of Liverpool’s pre-season tour too. But of Barkley’s new contract, not a single word. All understandable of course, because United and Liverpool are part of Sky Sports’ magic circle.

It is of course well known that the football coverage of The Times (and The Sun) serve only one master. That master is Sky TV; promoting the broadcaster is the priority. Any pretence of neutrality or balance have long ago been subsumed by the requirement to serve the interests of Sky TV.

Tony Evans’ views on the World Cup also bear examination. Last December, just after the World Cup draw had been announced, he let go a broadside saying that the tournament is bloated, is getting all the excitement diluted out of it and that the group stage matches have a “ho-hum feel about them.” Views which turned out to be completely wrong. Views which presumably had nothing to do with the fact that Sky TV weren’t carrying the World Cup and that it was free-to-air on BBC and ITV. Glad to see the guiding principles of The Times football editor are at least consistent.

Now if you didn’t already know, or hadn’t guessed there is something you should know about Tony Evans. He is a big Liverpool supporter, his twitter profile disingenuously proclaiming that he is “neutral in the paper.” Presumably being the football editor means he controls the content, direction and tone of the newspaper’s output, which to be fair must be tough. After all the amount of column inches devoted to the so called ‘big four’ Premier League Clubs indicates that the requirement that his paper be used as an adjunct to Sky Sports’ football coverage takes precedence over all other considerations.

Written by Peter Bottomley

Blogs for Everton site Dixie's60. First game at Goodison: 5 Nov 1960, EFC 1 - WBA 1...hooked ever since Follow me on Twitter: Follow me on Twitter: @dixies60pete


Send this erudite, measured and concise article to the hacks at said news(sic)papers and any other meeja outlets you feel may have the balls to run with it
Good on yer, pal

by Shanks on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Well done Peter, exposing something we all knew was happening but never really understood why.

by Neil Powell on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Clear and concise. I am a Times reader but really cannot stand the partisan comments of Evans. So much so I might have to move to the excellent Henry Winter writing in the Torygraph!
As for the Rom signing Ive not been so excited since we bought Bob Latchford from Brum. Yikes there goes my age!

by mark smith on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Absolutely brilliant piece of writing. The times sums up the general outlook from most media outlets when referring to Evertons policy last season of using the loan market. Let’s face it Paul there silence now that martinez foresight has paid off for the blues and their silence here after speaks far more sense then their tiresome dirge ever did.

by Gareth Higgs on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I have to be honest this is no surprise as Liverpool and United have always been favoured by the majority of the tabloids and sports writers. In my eyes this isn’t such a bad thing as if people like mr Evans where a toffee then others would be putting down our club at its supporters instead of the aforementioned reds. Let him and people like him have and build their little empires they are welcome to it. COYB

by Mike C on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

You absolutely nailed him here, Peter

by Sean on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Tony Barrett of the Times is also a Liverpool supporter. He provides big page spreads on Liverpool and relegates news on Everton mostly to very few column inches.

by Bill Carlen on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

So true Peter, spot on and I liked the way you left the absolutely obvious point about Tony Evams being and absolutely biased red until the end – brilliantly done . I cant figure out how he got the job, he has complete editorial control and is uber biased towards Liverpool and is clearly anti Everton. He often pops up on TalkSport to talk Liverpool, its not as if he hides it! I wonder if the Times would publish this if you sent it to the Editor ? Dear Sir ……

by Steve Jones on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Beautifully written – nailed it!

by Nick on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Thanks for the article. Keep exposing these so called journalists and their sordid agenda. Unfortunately most football clubs have sold their soul to the god that is Sky TV. Jounalists should however provide objectivity, instead these 2 are just salesmen for a dirty product–Sky.

by ian simpson on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Great piece, Peter. Incidentally, doesn’t Murdoch own The Times and Sky? What’s that smell….

by Nick Page on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:51 pm

We have many [most of them] reporters like that here in the States. Whether they’re employed by ESPN or the local media they are all “homers” to a great extent. My satisfaction will come watching the EPL expert pundits spend the next decade or so trying in vain to explain why the Toffee’s have finished above their beloved sides once again.

by Andy Boda on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Well said Peter. The Times integrity regarding unbiaised football journalism open to question!

by Des Bill on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Thank you for highlighting this papers failings. Now I know why I don’t read it. The guys just jealous cos he was not chosen like all us evertonians

by Mike pickering on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:43 pm

If you wish to read liverpool dietribe, you will read Tony evans at the times. well known fact he is biased, although he feels he is a neutral?

by Graham Lloyd on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm

You can add Alyson Rudd and a few others as Liverpool supporters who, at best, are condescending about Everton.

How the hell did she get a job writing about football? I can only guess….

by Peter Ferns on Jul 31, 2014 at 10:59 pm

I get the i to do the crossword . We hardly ever get a match report in it.

by Steve McDarby on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Thankfully we live in a society where we can choose not to buy these tainted and blatantly biased papers. These last seven days have been the best since the 1987 championship in terms of being an Evertonian. Roberto Martinez oozes class, intelligence and charisma. What he has done to our club must really stick in the gullet of the hacks on the payroll of these polluted media propagandists. Sky Sports, Fox, ESPN, they are all the same to me; pandering to the golden circle of the self appointed big clubs.

by Alan the Toffee McMillan on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:24 pm

What a great article, written by an honest guy, now you know why we have, Souey, Jamie 1, and Jamie 2, Daglish, big nose Thompson, the bankrupt krout Hamman, all pontificating on why the shite are the so good, and don’t get me started on the BBC, just take a look at who sits on there cosy armchairs, COYB.

by Terry Finnegan, on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:47 pm

To use the words of Paul Keating, former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Evans is a “lickspittle” a monotonous little man with a poisonous agenda, a the consumate anti-blue, a raving lunatic Kopite despite his laughable claim to neutrality, a genuine turd in the sandbox if you will. I REFUSE to read ANYTHING that bears his name as I find him galling. He is of course entitled to his opinions, however biased, loaded or just plain wrong we perceive them to be, and we, are equally entitled to ours with the same proviso and for the record here is mine. Tony Evans, you are a little man that exists within the little bubble of your fictitious reality. As your ‘adversary in support’ I relish the image of you bedgrudgingly reporting on the re-emergence of Everton as a super power.

by Kris Wetton on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:38 am

The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch and so is Sky TV. Anybody who buys anything to do with that piece of dirt deserves all they get. Evans is just another willing puppet. Nice article but nothing new in it. All Murdoch employees are paid to hate our city and if they can’t hate that lot across the park they direct it against us. But well said Peter Bottomley.

by Neil McGiven on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

Top draw stuff Peter. Well written and clearly delivers your message and intention… Evans can take his biased opinions and crawl down Anfield Road!

by Alan on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:57 am

This is the sort of comment that needs to be aired constantly. Sky is a machine churning out the nonsense the bias and the bile on a relentless basis. The fact that the Times has the same qualities, comes as no surprise. Many thanks to Peter Bottomly: a top class article.

by Paul Kerr on Aug 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Absolutely spot on this article. It’s not just The Times; The Mirror is also highly anti-Everton. There is little point in reading the back pages of tabloids anymore as, you quite rightly said, they serve the Sky TV favourites. Ironically the club’s with the most money – coincidence? We should take no notice; they are clueless and will always try to pull us down because they know that we’re a good side. They know that we are serious contenders to break into the top four and they don’t like it.

by James on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Brilliantly observed and written article Peter. I stopped buying the Times 2 years ago after Tony Barrett (another red) wrote a report on the Merseyside Derby (the one just before the FA cup semi) . He wrote an ‘insider’ said ‘it was like playing against the Land of the Giants’ despite the fact the the reds had the two tallest players on the pitch in Carroll and Kelly. Biased garbage that they get away with all the time. I hope your article gets the exposure it deserves, but I think we both know the answer to that.

by Kevin Harris on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm

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