Arsene Wenger is 'NOT UPSET', Roberto Martinez issues a dodgy guarantee and the 'daunting' 0.0868% chance...
Do as Dave says or he'll sack ya, the healing hands of Tony Pulis and more unpleasant images...
Well that didn't take very f*cking long, did it?
The flares had barely been dunked in a bucket of sand before the tabs stuck the first boot into Roy Hodgson's ribs, declaring a 'race row' (The Daily Mail) over a slightly odd but innocuous joke Mr Roy told in the England dressing room at half-time of the Poland game. The joke was described as 'insensitive, perhaps, in the current highly charged racial climate in football' by The Daily Mirror.
It is a little unclear who this 'race row' is with or who it was 'insensitive' towards, since Andros Townsend, the man who could potentially have taken offence, took no offence. He tweeted this morning: 'I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken! It's not even news worthy!'
And Hodgson apologised anyway, even though Townsend didn't take any offence. So if Hodgson apologised for something being offensive that wasn't actually offensive to the person it could have offended, on the offence/row scale we're actually a few points into the positive here.
Still, the red-tops go to town, as you might expect, and our favourite bit of The Sun's coverage was this handy explanation: 'The term monkey is often used by racists to insult black people.'
Thanks for that lads.
However, even some of the more chin-strokey and 'cerebral' journalists appear to have wasted time, energy, electricity and ink discussing this 'issue.' Henry Winter in The Daily Telegraph recognises that Hodgson wasn't in fact being racist, but tells him off for being overly long-winded, which for a start sets off the irony klaxon long and loud.
Winter writes: 'It was surprising to learn that he chose a lengthy story at half-time when the players are rarely capable of concentrating intently as they sit there, swigging their energy drinks, fiddling with their laces and catching their breath. The best half-time messages are invariably the simplest. Rafa Benitez's famous interval intervention in Istanbul ran to 100 words maximum. It is a time for giving a few rallying words. It is as much about the tone as the content.'
Unless Mediawatch has missed a rule change, half-time lasts 15 minutes these days. The 'joke' Hodgson told was about 80 words long. That would take 30 seconds, tops, to tell. That gives the players 14-and-a-half minutes to do whatever the hell else Winter thinks they should be doing during their break. A 30-second gag is hardly going to have the team clacking their tongues and looking at their watches, is it?
The real problem here is twofold. Firstly, as you know, papers like The Sun (front page - front page this morning: 'ROY IN ANDROS MONKEY GAFFE') will take the role of chief cheerleader next summer, crying god for Harry, England and St George and bullying everyone into a patriotic fervour to get behind our lads. They will paint themselves as the best supporters of the England team, when this sort of steaming horsesh*t non-story that can only undermine the manager and sabotage the team exposes them as the very worst.
And secondly, this was very clearly a slightly misjudged gag with absolutely no genuine racist intentions. To characterise it in any way discriminatory diminishes the impact of genuine racism, which as we know is still a real problem in football, in the stands and on the pitch. Millwall fans spitting abuse at El-Hadji Diouf is racism, and is serious. This is not, and is not.
What A Difference A Week Makes
Said Harry Redknapp on Wednesday: "They (the FA) made a good choice. Roy's an excellent manager and nobody disputes that.
"Looking at it he was better equipped and better qualified, maybe at international level, than I was.
"I don't want to dispute that. He's a very well-qualified guy.
And here's 'Arry in the Daily Mail last week: "I wouldn't trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it. How would they know? What clubs have they ever run? Who do they speak to who really knows the game?"
Sometimes this sh*t writes itself.
'We have been here before,' writes Mr Grumpypants Steven Howard in The Sun.
'Just three years ago, the England team seemed on the crest of a wave.
'Fabio Capello's side reached the 2010 World Cup with nine wins from ten games and more goals - 34 - than any other European country.'
Or, three years ago that wave had already crashed on the rocks after a disappointing tournament in South Africa.
How difficult is it to count to four?
In the moral wasteland of modern football, the Daily Mail's Charles Sale has searched far and wide to find a story to warm even the coldest heart.
'It was reassuring to find one of England's cosseted millionaire footballers having to join the real world on international duty,' writes Sale in his Sports Agenda column.
'Jack Wilshere was searching late on Tuesday night - along with others - for just where his vehicle had been left in Wembley's cavernous main car park.
'Wilshere had declined the usual chauffeured FA transport - that picks up players in a secured underground area - because he lives near the national stadium.'
It brings a tear to Mediawatch's eye.
'England fans planning to follow Roy Hodgson's team to Brazil next year could be faced with a bill of around £10,000 for their football fix,' writes Christian Gysin in the Daily Mail.
'In the event of England getting to the final of the tournament then a fan would have paid in excess of £1,100 on tickets following the team through the group, quarter and semi-final stages.
'That bill would be further swelled by accommodation costs of almost £5,000 based on a hotel room costing £150 a night for a 32-day stay.'
BREAKING NEWS: Month-long World Cup holiday in Brazil could be expensive.
Headline in the Daily Mirror: 'Allen vow: Play me and I'll score.'
Actual quotes from Joe Allen: "If I have the chance to play further forward, like I did in pre-season, goals are obviously another big element that I'd like to add to my game."
Cap In Hand
Martin Keown discusses the big England issues in the Daily Mail, providing the sort of answers you would expect to 'five key questions' like 'Wilshere good, Lampard experienced'.
Mediawatch was a little alarmed, however, by the final question posed to Keown:
'Will Carroll Ever Win Another Cap?'
He's a 24-year-old struggling with a foot injury, for Christ's sake. We wouldn't pack him off to the glue factory just yet.
Headline on the Daily Mail online: 'Eriksson emerges as surprise candidate for Sheffield United job.'
There is not a job in the world for which Sven Goran Eriksson would be a 'surprise candidate'.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Woj 'em go now' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A near-toothless Dover man has been jailed for eight years for biting and gnawing a neighbour's penis in a row over loud music.
'The trial judge told Jason Martin, 41, he had carried out the attack to humiliate his former pal Richard Henderson who had accused him of "being back on the drugs".
'The father-of-one had told a jury: "I didn't do that..I am not a gay man in any way. The thought of putting a man's penis in my mouth..well it's not for me. Not in a million years would I do it!"
'But he was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause serious injury by grabbing Mr Henderson's penis and testicles during the bust-up near their homes in Folkestone Road, Dover.' - Kent Online
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