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Posted by on Feb 25, 2010 in BlaBla, South Africa, Sport | 18 comments

UK Sun Newspaper You Suck

And I use the term “newspaper” with great hesitancy. This rabid tabloid waste of paper was responsible for causing the big stink this past weekend over the condition of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Complex outside Rustenburg which will house the English football team for the duration of the 2010 World Cup.

The paper labelled the venue “a builders’ yard” and headlined the article with “England training complex a dump”. Read the article attached to that link at your own risk. The bile and over-exaggerated nonsense in it made me nauseous and I had to have me a little lie down afterwards.

The truth about the complex and it’s state of readiness for the English teams’ arrival is far better reported on in this SkyNews clip from Emma Hurd:

So who are you going to believe? The trash tabloid Sun garbage, or the hot SkyNews reporter Emma Hurd? Yeah, us too.

Ironically, the SkyNews report was broadcast on the very same day that the Sun article appeared.

A day later and Fabio Capello is on ITN Sports News saying things like “We are really happy, the pitches are good and will be better, etc.” after actually seeing the venue for himself:

So again: Sun newspaper you suck! The World Cup is coming to South Africa and none of your scaremongering “useless Africans it’s going to be a disaster” bull is going to change that.

Besides that your team will probably only be inconvenienced for the 3 group games before being sent home, being jealous that our “builder’s yard dump” looks a hell of a lot better than your semi-detached council estate home really is pathetic.

Edit by Greg in response to Voteds! comment  (09h30 – 26/02/2010)

The project is a (very small) part of the Bafokeng Nations’ 30-year Master Development plan. (Download the outline to this here.) This community has development plans and targets in place that stretch to 2035 and beyond!

What the UK media are doing is harping on about the construction site of something that is not going to be ready until 2013, BUT which has absolutely no bearing on the England football teams’ use of the Sports Campus as a 2010 SWC base.

The final complex will be huge, have two hotels, 6 full size football fields, an athletics track, multiple tennis and netball courts, swimming pools, medical facilities, classrooms, indoor courts and gyms, etc., etc. And I mean seriously HUGE: Check the full site plans here.

When the UK media report that “Jordaan says ‘The place is finished. I could take you there now and walk you through room by room and show you,’ even though it clearly is still a building site and obviously isn’t finished” they are being a little disingenuous.

Jordaan also said: “All England need is a hotel and two training pitches and they have that. England are not concerned about phase two or three [of the development] because that will finish in 2013. What they need is a first-class hotel and training pitches and that is what they will have at Bafokeng.”

Presumably when England move in to the COMPLETED section of the campus in early June, construction on the other UNNEEDED areas, sections, phases and facilities will be suspended for the duration.

As for construction timetables, as the only community owned facility being used for SWC2010, the campus is 100% owned by Bafokeng holdings. There is no public funding involved in it at all and the stadium (which is really the only thing required by the public) was completed comfortably on schedule.

Ultimately, the accommodation & training venue for the English team is of no direct consequence to the public, and should only be a concern for the English team. And, in terms of the words from the mouth of their manager in the video clip above, he seems pretty happy with things.

The whole point of our original article was to highlight the sensationalism and pathetic “clutch at anything to make them look bad” approach that the some in the UK media have taken to this story. Report the facts, keep things straight and honest, and be fair in your reporting and we don’t have an issue.

But for goodness sake, stop with the subtle SA-bashing nonsense.


  1. I have to say that I agree with you. The Sun really is a disgusting piece of tabloid junk.

    Place looks pretty spiffy in that Sky News clip. I think the lads will be more than comfortable. Hopefully looked after well enough to stay on a little longer than you are predicting though…

    • Hi John

      Thanks for the balanced opinion.

      I do so wish that more UK visitors would have the foresight to read around a little. The amount of bad press that publications like The Sun and The UK Guardian have been spreading about the 2010 SWC here in South Africa is shameful. Journalistic exaggeration to sell papers in most cases.

      Not that certain about your team staying longer than the Group games round though… 🙂

  2. What I would like to see is published timetables of construction progress. That way the public can always decide for themselves if the project is behind or ahead of schedule.

    • I will/have edited the original post with some more information in response.

  3. Applaudes Gregs' additions – Well said sir!

  4. Nothing subtle about the SA BASHING going on in the UK. When EN G LAND get knocked out in the first round they will have something to blame their poor performance on. I will tell FLY to post a link to this blog for reference…..

    • "When EN G LAND get knocked out in the first round they will have something to blame their poor performance on. "

      Ahha, now it all makes sense.

  5. Guys, all this chat is good and well, but I think you're missing my point entirely.

    Emma Hurd. That face wouldn't lie to us. Hmmm. "Thinking man's crumpet" is what they used to call Gillian Anderson of X Files fame. I think we can transfer that to Emma now.

    Now focus you lot!

    [Emma, in case you ever read this: I use the term 'crumpet' here in the highest, most honourable and praiseworthy sense of the word. There is no intention of objectifying or demeaning you in any way. On the contrary.]

    • We completely understand bla's attraction to Emma, even if it is for her journalism skills……

  6. Interesting if savage article above!

    Look, Ian McGarry who wrote the piece for The Sun, was not alone in being surprised at the state of the Bafokeng Sports Palace Complex. Sure he's Scottish and would rather Algeria won the World Cup, but he wasn't being stupidly unfair. Just pushed it further than the rest. Martin Lipman on the Mirror and Mick Dennis on the Express wrote similar pieces.

    It's all my fault really. I drove up there after England's Test at Centurion, found the place ("behind that tree", read my blog at ( and wrote the piece just before Christmas, explaining how it WOULD be finished in time.

    When we returned to The Wanderers for the final Test, I showed a top photographer where it was and he flew out of Lanseria for some overhead shots. Then he sold the pix to the Sun, so presto, they went big on it using pictures about six weeks old. The rest used less impressive snaps taken on the day.

    I leapt into action (and emailed Rich Mkhondo my old Rhodes University pal, head of communications for 2010) and did pieces for Sky News, talkSPORT and the Daily Express here, as well as 702 in South Africa explaining all would be fine, calm down.

    While I was in South Africa, during the Togo shootings at the African Cup of Nations, I went on Sky News on a similar mission, to say Cabinda is a long, long way from Johannesburg. I told Emma Hurd the story and she covered it beautifully when she got up there.

    These things tend to blow over. And they have. England confirmed Rustenburg as their training base two days later despite The Sun claiming they were considering a volte face. All's well that ends well I guess.

    We've moved on to Wayne Bridge now! Expect further attacks on South Africa from our press, but I'll be ready to defend them. It's going to be a cracking World Cup. Let nobody suggest otherwise!

    • Fantastic comment Neal! Much appreciate you taking the time.

      For those not aware of Neal, besides all the media work he does, he is also the author of "A Game Apart: The Real Story Behind the World Cup in South Africa, 2010" You can read about Neal himself and the background to the book here:

      And his follow-up post regarding the state of the England base is on his blog page here:

      As for the Bridge/Terry shenanigans Neal… we have a hard enough time keeping up with the marital and extra-marital goings on of our politicos never mind our sports stars!

      • Rumour is the lady involved, underwear model Vanessa Perroncel, has nearly as many partners as President Zuma, but without the cultural acceptance!

      • Roflmao! And cultural acceptance is so important these days!

  7. Hey guys, great post and great video clips. You might want to see this BBC story for a bit more balance:

    All one big storm in one very small teacup – but then people who read the Sun hoping for real news may be beyond help anyway.

    • Thanks Mark. Appreciate the link – you're right the BBC story provides a solid balance to the whole story. Really like the following comment below that post too:

      #21. At 10:39am on 25 Feb 2010, Anuj Mital wrote:
      What nonsense! Isn't it about what these jokers do on the pitch that's important, not the hotel they're staying in.

      By "these jokers" I think it's safe to assume the Anuj is referring to the English team. And, he's right – it certainly should be about what they'll do on the pitch.

  8. Good feedback, I like it, I like it alot!

  9. Yeah, that’s me Neal – interesting but savage!

    Thanks for the comments and thoughts. Read your posts as well and you are clearly better suited to the polite but pointed approach to these things than I am. Hope I didn’t offend anyone’s sensibilities along the way.

    And Emma: she covers EVERYTHING beautifully!

    Thanks again 🙂


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