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How Dele Alli got into a bit of a click-off

OPINION: Coverage of Spurs star’s 5am ‘argument’ in a posh hotel showed up our lemming-like tendency to fall for the same clickbait tricks

23 November, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Dele Alli made headlines this week after being filmed at a hotel in the early hours 

THERE are plenty of things to find supremely irritating about Dele Alli, the young lad from Spurs. He has been booked a zillion times for diving, he does infantile hand gestures when he scores, he didn’t turn up for England during the World Cup and, most likely, he will score against Arsenal next month in the derby.

His apparent argument at the counter of The May Fair Hotel over the weekend? Less so.

If you haven’t seen it, I’ll explain how we were all supposed to get angry about his apparent sense of rich entitlement, that here he supposedly was at 5am demanding a penthouse suite at a posh hotel with the old “don’t you know who I am?” gambit.

We were promised front-row seats to lively scenes after the exchange was “caught” on a mobile phone by somebody in the foyer and shared across the internet. Click, and our cravings to be constantly annoyed by something at all times would be blissfully satisfied.

And yet if you were lured into watching the footage by a hits-hungry “news” website, you’ll have quickly learned that you can’t really tell what Alli was actually saying at all. This is because the man filming it on our behalf was too busy telling us what terrible role models they were and dropping an occasional C-bomb.

We can only hope none of the tabloids paid for this charade of false outrage which boils down to a man prattling on behind a pillar while two footballers across the floor talk to hotel staff.

There is some pointing, yes, a brief sign of irritation, but the promise of a temper tantrum for us to go “oooohhh” at is never fulfilled, and in fact you wonder how our foul-mouthed narrator has himself not had a run-in with the hotel’s staff, or at least security.

All of this is a rum sign for how journalism is developing, and our lemming-like tendency to fall for the same clickbait tricks.

These smash-and-grab articles bring people to news sites on false pretences with oversold headlines, but each click is counted as if we were satisfied readers.

This in turn shapes the next load of stories – more of the same, more lukewarm videos of celebrities doing normalish things.

And, as a consequence, it encourages every berk with a mobile phone who sees a celebrity to think they are watching a major news story unfold.

Next week, watch enthralled as Hector Bellerin gets mildly peeved when somebody accidentally gets served before him in a coffee shop, Eden Hazard looks vaguely puzzled at how long a red light in Hampstead High Street takes to switch to amber, and Firmino is momentarily confused after pushing a door which says pull.

All on shady mobile phone footage, portrait way up.

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