F*cking fitter, f*cking happier, no disrespect and gloryholes in sticky situations...
Rowley Birkin QC shoves the goalie aside and gives us the most open of goals...
The Times They Are A-Sickening
As you may have heard, The Times have apologised for Oliver Kay's Dream Football League story which they admit was 'invented and had just enough plausibility to be seductive'. We could argue all day about whether having 'just enough plausibility to be seductive' is really enough to stand up a massive splash, but the fact remains that people make mistakes.
Even if you only look at life only through the prism of football, you see players, managers and referees making mistakes every week. Journalists quite often get things wrong - from a badly spelt name to an erroneous transfer 'exclusive' through a knee-jerk reaction later disproved and forgotten. This was a particularly massive thing to get wrong but it was an honest mistake.
The Times have now apologised. Which is nice. But they've apologised in such a smarmy, 'mea culpa' style in an attempt to claim the moral high ground that Mediawatch almost put its fist through its internet machine.
Football Editor Tony Evans writes: 'It would have been possible to ride out the storm, tell the world that time would vindicate the newspaper and allow memories of the furore to fade away.
'But that is not how The Times does things. We value our reputation. There will be changes now to the way we operate, and an extra level of scepticism will be incorporated into our working practices.
'But one thing will not change. If we get it wrong, we will hold our hands up and admit it.'
Excuse us while we vomit into our bag of granola.
No, Mr Times, you'll hold your hands up several days after the rest of the football world pointed out that you'd got it wrong. And while the rest of the world was pointing out that you got it wrong, you were being all indignant and sniffy.
Like The Times' Matt Dickinson, who tweeted last week: þ'Amazing how many clever dicks out there rushing to knock other people's stories without a single fact of their own.'
But that was nothing compared to Matt Hughes of The Times...
'@jensweinreich Anyone thinking @OliverKayTimes hoaxed by an obscure website has never read him. No journalists are knocking this story.'
'@OliverKayTimes spent days/weeks on this story. He doesn't need defending & am more concerned with the way many attack proper journalism.'
'Do people really want bland player quotes, corporate deceit from clubs and sarcastic blogs from students? That's where we're headed.'
We make that Sarcastic Blogs 1 Proper Journalism 0.
There were plenty of journalists rushing to the defence of Oliver Kay last week - they're at least as tribal as football fans - but we're nothing if not predictable so we will concentrate on our old friend Oliver Holt of the Daily Mirror.
'Great story on lavish Qatari plans for a Dream Football League by the brilliant @OliverKayTimes . Big repercussions for game if it happens,' was his tweet on March 13.
When one of his followers pointed out that internet rumours were circulating that the Dream Football League was a hoax, Holt was indignant:
'@PED7 @OliverKayTimes don't believe those reports. Always people trying to spoil someone else's story.'
Rough translation: 'I have no idea whether he's right or not but he's my mate so leave him alone.'
It's still Sarcastic Blogs 1 Proper Journalism 0 but the home side are pushing for a second.
Paul Merson has a history of substance abuse. You should remember this when you read his piece in the Daily Star on Saturday about new Reading caretaker boss Eamonn Dolan.
'READING will have an old friend of mine in charge at Old Trafford today - and if he wins, they should give him the job permanently. I grew up with Eamonn Dolan at Arsenal. We used to play in the youth team together and he was always staying round my parents' house at weekends. He's a good lad who knows his football and when he talks, you listen. The players will work for him, and he will be with them.'
What a lovely testimonial. It is also a very odd testimonial because there's nothing on Eamonn Dolan's Wikipedia page to suggest he was ever with Paul Merson at Arsenal. On the contrary, Eamonn Dolan's career appears to have begun at West Ham...at roughly the same time Eamonn's twin brother Pat was at Arsenal.
In fairness of Paul, he obviously remembers very little before 1995. Mediawatch is kind of impressed he remembers that he was at Arsenal.
Lawro, Lawro Nonsense
'Great win for Aston Villa on Saturday - but their results this season have proved you cannot rely on Paul Lambert's men. My three to go down are QPR, Reading and Villa,' writes Mark Lawrenson in the Daily Mirror.
Which is funny, because the Premier League table constructed from Lawro's predictions for the BBC website this season features QPR in sixth - three points ahead of Tottenham.
Going down, according to Lawro's predictions, are Swansea City. That's gone well, boyo.
Tortured Intro Of The Day
Barry Glendinning in The Observer: 'At the end of a week in which a new pope was elected, it seemed fitting the Saints should prevail in this contest against a woeful Liverpool side that were far from infallible. Goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez won the match and moved Southampton above Sunderland in the Premier League table, three points nearer safety. For a beatifically happy St Mary's congregation, this was the stuff of miracles.'
Creep Of The Day
"We press high, we don't anyone respect," says Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez of boss Mauricio Pochettino. "We're more than good enough to beat any team. Everyone in the squad knows how to play and it's a great feeling. You can see from the way we've played that he's (Pochettino) had a massive effect on us."
And there speaks a man who has started six of Southampton's last eight Premier League games after starting just 11 of 22 under Nigel Adkins.
Worst Headlines Of The Day
All from The Sun and all horrible.
Childish Giggle Headline Of The Day
'AVB pledges a happy ending' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Pennsylvania woman whose boyfriend was keener on his Xbox than a roll in the hay faces charges of indecent exposure, simple assault, open lewdness, and harassment after allegedly assaulting the gaming aficionado, then giving pursuit naked from the waist down as he made for a nearby convenience store to call 911.
'Heather Hayes, 24, of Lansford, was arrested in the early hours of 26 February outside a Turkey Hill store by an officer responding to an emergency call, who found her "standing by the trash container, nude from the waist down". According to an affidavit of probable cause, reported here, Hayes explained to Officer Jeffrey Ohl she'd "gotten into an argument with her boyfriend, Eric Zuber, after he refused to have sex with her".
'She claimed Zuber had been on the Xbox for two days with his mates, and "not paying attention to her". When Zuber declined the offer of intimacy, an argument ensued, and Hayes "began to slap and punch him about the head and back ... bit him on the left forearm, and grabbed his testicles and began to twist them", as the victim put it' - The Register.
Thanks to day's Mediawatch spotters Andrew Barnes and Adam 'he hates Everton' Bate. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.