The Page That Knows The Cat Is Away

Roy Hodgson is asked the perfect question, Mr Grumpypants is back, Jamie Redknapp hates making comparisons. Plus Ace-watch, you lucky things...

Last Updated: 06/12/13 at 12:35

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The Perfect Question
Almost every paper (and this fine website itself, although we whispered rather than shouted) runs with the story that Roy Hodgson has claimed that he would put his money on England to win the World Cup next year.

However, before you remark 'Goodness me, that's rather bullish, bolshy and ballsy isn't it?', let's remind ourselves how the media works.

Hodgson was asked by a reporter which team he would bet on if he had £10, leaving the manager two options:

Option One - Choose England, generating headlines of 'Better Than Brazil' (Daily Mirror), 'You Bet We Can Win It' (Daily Star) and 'Back England' (Daily Mail)

Option Two - Choose ANY other country, leading to headlines (and we're making certain assumptions here folks) such as 'Roy Writes Off England's Hopes', 'Save Your Money' or 'Roo Wot Roy?' just about everywhere.

Stop the search, for we have found the perfect question - where every available answer creates a story.


Woe Is Me
If The Sun's Steven Howard wants to shake off his reputation as Mr Grumpypants, today's column does little to reach that end.

Howard starts relatively chirpily, lauding the 'wonderful goals and packed houses' from the Premier League on Wednesday night, but then somehow manages to crowbar this into a dig at the England team. As is his way.

His first jab is just bizarre, claiming that Roy Hodgson must be worried because Norwich had seven Englishmen who allowed Uruguay's Luis Suarez to score four goals against them.

'It's fair to assume that a player who has 11 goals in four games against them rather fancies his chances against our boys.'

Given that those seven players share 44 minutes of England experience (and John Ruddy accounts for all of those), we can't imagine Roy lost too much sleep over that result.

Howard then takes a rather open goal swipe at the lack of English players in the Premier League, bemoaning the fact that only eight of the 32 midweek goals were scored by Englishmen - 25%.

Which is all very well, but we have some news for His Grumpy One. Because whilst only eight goals were scored by Englishmen in midweek, ten of 29 were scored at the weekend by those from this green and pleasant land. Or 34%.

And what of Germany, and the greener grass of the Bundesli.... Oh. This weekend, just six of the 25 goals in Germany's top flight were scored by Germans. And that's 24%. Which is less. Somehow we can't imagine Herr Stefan MurrischHosen is writing the same thing.

There is clearly an argument for the Premier League suffering from a lack of home-grown players (and goodness knows we have heard it enough times), but using excitement, large crowds, a shonky defence conceding goals and an unconvincing statistic as ammunition seems an odd way of doing so.


Home Banker
The problem with the Daily Mirror asking their man in Merseyside David Maddock what he considers to be the greatest individual performances of all time that he has witnessed is that, well, he is their man on Merseyside, and therefore his selections are likely to be slightly skewed in that geographical direction.

And, lo behold, of his six choices, three are from Liverpool players and one is Scouser Steve McManaman in the Champions League final in 2000 whilst playing for Real Madrid.

One of his two 'independent' nominations is Eric Cantona against Sunderland in 1995. Wow, that's quite brave, choosing a United great on your list.

'That moment [Cantona's chip] was awesome,' Maddock drools, 'but Suarez produced four of those moments last night.'

Ah, fair enough. As you were.


Nothing Compares To You
Classic Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail in his small piece under the optimistic tagline 'Insight'.

'I'm not a big fan of comparing players from different generations,' Redknapp begins, in a piece on the greatness of Luis Suarez.

Can you guess what the next two words in that piece are? A small prize to you if you guessed 'Kenny Dalglish'.


Hazardous Warning

'Eden Hazard has sent a warning to Arsenal - we will topple you by the New Year,' shouts out the The Sun.

Actual quotes from Hazard: "Arsenal are top so we need to take three points every game. There are big teams with us and it is difficult. But we have a good team, so we will see where we are after December and January."

Additional note to The Sun - the 'New Year' begins on January 1, not "after December and January".


One Minute Man
Bryan Oviedo on his Everton struggles: "Last season I didn't play a minute."

True Bryan, you didn't. You played 225 minutes. In the league. And another 192 in the cups.


Maths With Keown
Martin Keown in the Daily Mail today claims that Luis Suarez would have made Arsenal much better (we know, groundbreaking), but qualifies this opinion rather oddly:

"If he'd gone to Arsenal then the Premier League would have been sewn up by Christmas."

Even if Arsenal had won all 17 of their games before Christmas and every other club had drawn every game against each other, Arsenal would hold a 33-point lead at Christmas. Enough to be wiped out by March 1. Winning the league by Christmas is an impossibility, with or without Luis Suarez.

Incidentally, the title cannot be won until the 23rd match, maths fans.


Maths With The Sun
'With the bookies quoting England at a lengthy 28-1 to lift the trophy, a £10 stake would represent a massive return of £280 to brave punters.'

Or £290 if you don't give your stake as an overly generous tip to the bookmaker.


Real Banter
The Daily Star really care about the FA Cup, so much so that they have got a 'FA Cup Special' in their paper today, interviewing Salisbury City's Jake Thomson. They spend at least 80% of the 'FA Cup Special' asking Thomson about Gareth Bale, who he used to know. That's how much they love the FA Cup.

The story describes how Bale used to be a 'prankster', 'joker', 'lad' and 'wind-up merchant'. Sigh.

Imagine the hilarity as Bale:
- 'Spent two hours taping toilet paper to people's doors to freak them out'
- 'Hanging up people's clothesto take the mickey'
- 'Placing a cup on top of the toilet door so people got drenched'.

All aboard the banter express. Next stop LADtown.


The Glorious Return Of Ace-Watch
That Daily Star piece describes Jake Thomson as a 'Salisbury ace'.

Having played for Torquay United, Exeter City, Cheltenham Town, Kettering Town, Forest Green Rovers, Newport County, Lincoln City and Salisbury City in the last three years, it seems lots of clubs want to share in the acey-ness. He's started one game for Salisbury.


Uneasy Image Of The Day
Sports betting's 'top tipster' Derek McGovern:

'Every coach in the competition will fly out to Rio to watch balls pulled out of a hat, even though they could get the same information if they watched the draw naked in front of the computer, as I intend to do.'

Someone turn off the webcam.


Damning With Faint Praise Of The Day
"He's an unbelievable finisher. I call him Defoe after Jermain at Tottenham because that's how it is."

Given that Defoe has not scored in 14 Premier League games and has one in his last 25, we'd say that Victor Anichebe should raise his expectations slightly if he wants to flatter Saido Berahino.


Headline Of The Day
'Draw Of The Worlds' - The Sun go for simple, yet effective.


Worst Headline Of The Day
'Dane Over' - We think that 'Dane' is a play on the word 'Game' from The Sun on Nicklas Bendtner, but it could be 'Done'? That we're not sure is a bad thing, and it stinks either way.


Non-Football Story Of The Day
Police say a 41-year-old Ohio man was reportedly high on hallucinogenic mushrooms when he mutilated his genitals on the grounds of Ypsilanti Middle School last week.

Sgt. Geoff Fox of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office tells AnnArbor.com deputies were called to the school around 1 a.m. June 18 to find the man on his knees, naked, with blood all over his legs.

"He mutilated his genitals with his bare hands," Fox said. "He was doing a lot of yelling and screaming."

Fox said parts of the man's body were transferred with him to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where he remains in stable condition.

The Detroit Free Press reports the man told investigators he picked up the mushrooms earlier in the day while in town visiting friends.

Fox said the man does not have a history of mental problems. He said results of extensive toxicology testing are pending - FoxDetroit

Thanks to Jack Robinson. If you do spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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