The Reserve Squad: British Press Misinterprets “Sacking” of League 1 Manager

A number of major media outlets were forced to issue red-faced retractments today, as they discovered that Oldham Athletic’s sacking of their manager referred not to his firing, but to a ceremonial smack in the groin by club directors. That the Latics had released manager John Sheridan had been widely reported before the clubs announcement that he was, indeed, still at the helm.

“Despite the best efforts of our reporters, and our tireless pursuit of accuracy in every story, mistakes are sometimes made,” read a statement issued by The Times. “We hope that our error has not caused any trouble for the club, the individuals or the families involved.”

The BBC was similarly remorseful, saying “the fault for the misinterpretation lies wholly with us, and shall drive us to further hone our reporting methods.”

“We don’t really know what to say,” read a statement (in it’s entirety) issued by The Guardian.

The incident stems from a press release issued by Oldham Athletic, stating that, in at the close of a disappointing campaign, club officials had decided to “sack” Sheridan. Contrary to the common understanding of the term, “sacking,” in this case, did not refer to Sheridan losing his job. Rather, as per a long-standing – but apparently rarely enforced – club bylaw, Sheridan’s failure to bring promotion to the Greater Manchester-area club warranted a hefty kick to the groin by club chairman Simon Blitz in his office at Boundary Park.

A statement issued by the club acknowledged the apologies offered by the media, but refused to comment on the unusual punishment, other than to say that “a large bag of ice was present at the time” of the sacking.

Greater Manchester Police have been informed of the incident, but are unlikely to pursue charges against Blitz or the club. Rumours around the club suggest that Sheridan actually chose the boot to the crotch over not only various other forms of redress, but also a job offer from Newcastle United.


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