The Sun has accused its critics of “a sense of humour failure” after coming under fire for publishing a front page headline playing on new England manager Roy Hodgson’s manner of speech.
The newspaper said media critics and the Football Association (FA) had over-reacted to yesterday’s cover story, which was emblazoned with the words: “Bwing on the Euwos! (we’ll see you in Ukwaine against Fwance).”
In a show of defiance editorial chiefs led today’s edition with a story emphasising that the controversial headline – which picked up on Hodgson’s difficulties in pronouncing the letter R – was intended as a joke.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned red top enlisted the help of chat show host Jonathan Ross, whose pronunciation is similar to that of Hodgson, to argue that yesterday’s front page “should be taken in the fun spirit intended”.
Today’s front page story carries the headline: “Wossy: Roy Row is Ruddy Ridiculous”.
In the story The Sun quotes the television star as saying: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and I’m sure Roy is big enough to take care of himself.
“The world is bankrupt and we’re worrying about The Sun doing what they do…who really cares? Everyone knows The Sun has a cheeky sense of humour.”
The FA said it had also received a “large number of objections” to The Sun’s coverage.
FA chairman David Bernstein said yesterday: “We are delighted at the media response to Roy’s appointment but are disappointed with the headline in The Sun, which we consider is in poor taste and disrespectful.”
The FA said it would not be making an official complaint to the PCC but it had raised the issue with the newspaper and “made it clear” the organisation found the front page unacceptable. The PCC has received more than 100 complaints over yesterday’s headline.
Hodgson, 64, signed a four-year deal when he accepted the role, taking him to the end of Euro 2016. He later admitted he would have to be on another planet to be oblivious to the fact he was not the people’s choice.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp had been the overwhelming favourite for the role following the resignation of Fabio Capello on February 8.