Sad news, friends. The triumphant tale of average England supporter Pavlos Joseph (above, center) and his search for a toilet that led him into the team's dressing room is now being investigated as a tabloid plot. Mirror reporter Simon Wright, who somehow managed to snag an exclusive interview with Pavlos while South African police searched for him after England's 0-0 draw against Algeria, was arrested Monday and charged with helping to set up the dressing room pop-in.
The paper said its reporter had not done anything wrong and rejected the accusations.
"The police have reason to believe this incident was orchestrated," [national police commissioner Bhaki] Cele told a news conference in Pretoria.
"The police believe the motive was to put the World Cup security in a bad light and possibly to profit from it." [...]
Cele said Wright was alleged to have booked Joseph into a hotel under a false name and had made him sign a contract for exclusive rights to all interviews after the incident.
"We know that there was a seven day contract to speak to only that journalist," Cele said.
Wright has been charged with attempting to "defeat the ends of justice" and contravening immigration laws. He is due to appear in court on Wednesday and has been ordered to surrender his passport and is on bail of 3,000 rand.
Well none of that is nearly as fun as a common mortgage advisor stumbling into the England dressing room, declaring, "I'm Pavlos and I actually need the toilet," and telling the team how awful they were. Although, being charged with attempting to "defeat the ends of justice" does sound like something out of a comic book.
Wright's publisher is denying these charges.
"He was engaged in a legitimate story for his newspaper and any suggestion that he or the newspaper was involved with Pavlos Joseph before he entered the England dressing room is entirely false," the paper’s publishers Trinity Mirror said in a statement.
Meanwhile, old Pavlos is still in South Africa, out on $65 bail and is due in a Cape Town court on Tuesday. And I don't think that pleading, "I'm Pavlos and I actually need the toilet" will work out as well for him there.
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Photo: Getty Images
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