What the papers said about . . . Mike Atherton

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The Independent Online
'If the captain of England's cricket team fails to uphold the values of his society - or the values to which his society aspires - he is unworthy of that uncommon honour which the captaincy represents. He should be replaced.' Times

'The soiled captain.' Mirror

'In the interests of equity he deserves now to be allowed to get on with a job he has done quite remarkably well so far given all the parameters.' Telegraph

'Stupid boy, Athers.' Today

'So, Michael, my advice is: pack it in, concentrate on being the best batsman in England and get on with your life.' Sun

'Dragged through the dirt.' Star

'I formed the distinct impression that had Michael Atherton smothered the ball in gooseberry jam, axle grease, HP Sauce, golden syrup, boot dubbin, tomato puree, wet cement, Beluga caviar, brewers' yeast, Holy Water, high octane aviation spirit or even Semtex, the outcome of the Lord's Test match would not have been appreciably different.' Mail

'And so the choirboy looks remain, but the halo has gone forever. . . This was a dim-witted offence, but it is not a hanging one.' Independent

'It is hardly surprising that a nation which conducts its politics in such a private code should be capable of treating a fairly minor misdemeanour on the field as more important than the Rwandan crisis. . . Atherton has made the regiment look silly, by undermining English cricket's ludicrous claim to moral superiority.' Guardian

'Sacrificing Atherton, at the behest of cricket's selective moral outrage and the usual platoon of wiseacre politicians, might make a lot of people feel better about themselves - and the game. But what would it really achieve?' Express

'To make sure you can pocket some of this precious stuff, we are giving away 20 packets crammed full of Atherton's finest dirt.' Sun