How Macca mucked it up for the media too

Journalists and players are missing out on Euro 2008, but the former England boss will be making the trip after all. Jonathan Brown reports

Many charges have been levelled against Steve McClaren, the hapless former England boss whose downcast form sheltering under his FA umbrella on the Wembley touchline last November came to symbolise the tarnished summer dreams of a once proud sporting nation.

In the aftermath of defeat against Croatia, the "Wally with the Brolly" as he was exquisitely dubbed by the Daily Mail, faced a further deluge of criticism. He was accused not just of playing his "Golden Generation" of players out of position and failing to step up to the leadership plate, but of extinguishing the joyful prospect of a collective experience looked forward to by millions of fans as they prepared to party and shop their way through three glorious weeks of top-class football.

Despite the passage of time, the brickbats have continued to fly as the implications for the inability to qualify have grown increasingly apparent. England's failure, exacerbated by the absence of the rest of the home nations from the Euro 2008 finals, due to kick off in Basle next month, is expected to cost the economy between 1bn and 2bn, accounting for as much as half a percentage point off the UK gross domestic product.

The big losers will of course be the brewers and the pubs, with some 35 million pints now going unquaffed. The gloss also came off the bookmakers' summer. For retail chain Sports World, England's failure wiped 70m off its balance sheet in lost sales. Wigan-based JJB Sports was also badly hit and last month announced the closure of 72 stores with the loss of around 800 jobs.

This pain has percolated through the wider economy. Nationwide, the England team's official sponsor, already struggling to cope with the effects of the credit crunch, was forced to shelve much of its marketing strategy planned for this summer. It is the same for a myriad of other brands, from chocolate to car makers, all of whom had been hoping to boost sales with sustained marketing drives in the run up to June.

The impact on the media has been equally dramatic. According to Claudine Collins, group press director with MediaCom, the defeat against Croatia cost some newspapers an instant 1m in shelved advertising revenue.

While the popular newspapers have been worst affected, the quality press has been hit too, and both will miss out on anticipated football-related summer circulation boosts. "Everyone has been affected by this. From a business point of view, newspaper sales will be affected. Circulation can always be expected to rise a few per cent on the back of a successful England run. We are looking on the bright side though, at least we have the Champions League final even if it is just one day," she says.

It is the same story in television. Estimates suggest the home nations' absence from the tournament will cost ITV upwards of 10m in lost advertising revenue due to reduced audience interest. That is in addition to the hefty fee, shared with the BBC, for the rights to televise the tournament. A measure of the reduced interest is ITV's decision not to show the final. ITV publicist James MacLeod puts on a brave face: "We believe there is a demand for international football played at the highest level. Some of the best players in Britain will be on display Fabregas, Torres, Ronaldo, Henry. Football fans are increasingly aware and interested in the European game," he says.

But without the presence of the Three Lions or the Tartan Army, 20-million-plus viewing spikes will be noticeable by their absence. Media attention will now be focused on just how low viewing figures will fall for unglamorous clashes of the Switzerland v Turkey variety. But while ITV concedes that it has had to bow to the inevitable commercial pressures and scale back the extent of its coverage, at the BBC there seems to be no such sentiment.

Already sending a team of 437 to cover the Olympics in Beijing later in the summer more than the number of GB athletes the corporation has found sufficient manpower reserves to dispatch more than 100 staff to Austria and Switzerland. Among them, much to the delight of England fans, will be none other than the wally now clutching the licence-payers's lolly, Steve McClaren himself, who will be sampling the Alpine air as he provides "expert analysis" for Radio 5 listeners. Though the prospect of a tournament with no patriotic interest prompted BBC Director of Sport, Roger Mosey, to ponder in his blog "Euro 2008: So who will be watching?," the BBC says it was pleased with the turnout at its press briefing to outline its coverage plans, which includes all live matches in high definition, with highlights packages available on the new iPlayer and a clutch of web and mobile-phone-based services.

But Matt Wilson, promotions director at talkSport, says his network had already taken a number of contingency measures, having never been fully convinced that McClaren's reign would end in glory.

While it would normally broadcast all games, it will now only cherry-pick the best of the matches. "Typically we would be working with a single sponsor for a match. When England are involved we would expect to work with six. That is not the way it will be this year," he says.

Newspapers are also faced with trimming their coverage of the tournament. The first casualties will be the sports-news correspondents who spent a memorable World Cup summer in Germany two years ago cruising the autobahns in pursuit of the latest on the shopping exploits of the England Wags.

But the football writers will suffer too. One hack, now looking forward to a summer with the family, said most desks were cutting back on the numbers they would send, dispatching only chief writers and top commentators to do the best matches.

"It's a huge disappointment," he says. "When England are involved it is a huge story and all journalists like working on big stories. This year it just won't be the same."

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncappd Comm: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - Signs and Graphics

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The key requirements of the rol...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Digital Performance Account Director – Performance & Data Driven Marketing Technology

£45k - £55k + amazing benefits: Sphere Digital Recruitment: Digital Performanc...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Enterprise Sales Manager – SaaS based solutions – £50-60k

50,000- 60,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: Enterprise Sales Manager – SaaS ba...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible