Following in the ink-stained footsteps of The Independent’s successful makeover into tabloid form (and a copycat attempt by the Times), the Guardian is about to unveil their “Berliner” edition.
Forget Big Paper and its eagerly-anticipated redesign as Medium-Sized Paper, these are exciting times at Fiver Towers too. Why? Because today sees the start of the largest integrated promotional campaign in the Fiver’s history, as we prepare for the launch of the new Berliner Fiver on Monday.
Bigger than a betting-slip but smaller than a medium-sized Indian restaurant, the new Berliner Fiver’s unique selling point is that it will be completely identical to the old non-Berliner Fiver, featuring the same antiquated masthead, unimaginative font, dizzying array of misspellings and typographical errors, not to mention the usual coterie of lame gags, bad puns, factual errors and smug, patronising, holier-than-Rio comment. Except for one small thing – it’ll be written by moustachioed Germans who’ll be so stereotypically efficient that they’ll dispatch it by 10am every morning and deal largely in stories about saurkraut, lederhosen and Mary Shelley’s Oliver Kahn.
Which should come as a relief to cricket-loving England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was conspicuous by his absence from The Oval today after cancelling a trip to the fifth Test for fear of incurring the very vocal wrath of thousands of the Barmy Army. But if he’s lost the support of the public, it’s good to see that the beleaguered Swede has at least got the support of his Premiership counterparts and peers. “Sam [Allardyce, above] wants the job and the Bolton chairman knows it,” Big Sam’s agent Mark Curtis told the BBC today, while his one-time right-hand man, Derby boss Phil Brown agreed: “There would be no better man to replace Eriksson. Sam would have no problems dropping big-name players.”
And while the prospect of seeing Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen making way for Bruno N’Gotty and Kevin Davies in the England team is an appealing one, we don’t really have time to dwell on it as we’re well into the last paragraph and still haven’t mentioned Arsene Wenger’s take on the Sven situation: “It would be madness to let him go now,” he said. “Like the new Berliner Fiver, Sven’s England is emulating and even exceeding the excitement generated by the Independent’s relaunch,” he didn’t quite continue.