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The Daily Mail are still talking about Ashley Young's 'dive' while Alan Shearer refuses to praise hard work...

Last Updated: 13/11/13 at 14:39

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Question Of The Day
Why on earth would you adopt this pose for your first photo as a club's new manager?

Numbers With Micah
Said Micah Richards: "I'm getting to that age where I'm not 18 anymore."

Mediawatch would argue that the 25-year-old Richards got to the age where he wasn't 18 anymore around, oh, six years ago.

There was a hint of the usual dullness of international week in the papers on Tuesday but the absence of domestic football only truly hit home for Mediawatch when it turned to Martin Samuel's column in the Daily Mail this morning.

'Today, this column reveals the best-kept secret in football,' begins Samuel.

'It is a confidence that has survived across decades and through generations. An omerta preserved by individuals who would, under normal circumstances, sell a grandmother, or a kidney, for a decent story. It is a vital piece of information withheld from the closest of friends and colleagues, a disclosure that at one time could have got the informant ostracised by every football reporting press man in the country.

'It is this: the Toulon tournament plays 40 minutes each way.'

And it really doesn't get much more interesting from there.

Samuel continues to suggest that regular participation in the Toulon Under-20 tournament could help to solve many of England's problems as well as build stronger bonds with the press. Because we all know that's the most important thing.

However, the only thought Mediawatch was left with after reading Samuel's column is that if it's possible to dedicate the opening 12 paragraphs to the fact that matches only last 80 minutes, then it's unlikely there are enormous benefits to boast about.

Unless you're a member of the press pack who enjoys a jolly, of course.

Fun With Owen
Michael Owen is a dull man at the best of times, but even Mediawatch is surprised by how quickly he lost our attention in his interview with the Daily Mail.

"I was never really one for having my house adorned with all my memorabilia. I had put it all away," says Owen at the start of his ego trip, which of course includes the former England striker referring to himself in third person.

"I never wanted to put them up while I was playing in case something miraculous happened and I won another FA Cup or something, but now I've finished and I'm getting them all together.

"I know the number of caps and shirts and I'm framing the special ones. I've got a set number of frames and I'm going through in order, with my different debuts and the shirts from every cup final and ... OH GOD WHEN WILL IT END?

Ash Fall
Mediawatch knew there must be at least one soul in this godforsaken game who's still preoccupied with Ashley Young's 'dive' against Real Sociedad - a whole eight days ago now - and so it wasn't disappointed when it turned to Neil Ashton's 'Ash Wednesday' column on the Daily Mail online.

Ashton's angle is essentially to defend Young (perhaps because he did a few kick-ups in a video for the Mail), claiming that players are required to dive to avoid injury or something. The problem is, he conflates several issues to result in a rather confused argument.

'As a tricky, nimble and flighty winger, Young has been used to getting clobbered by clumsy defenders throughout his career with Watford, Aston Villa and United,' writes Ashton.

'This does not exonerate Young from his propensity to go to ground too easily: he knows it will not be tolerated in English football.'

Well of course it bloody doesn't. The problem isn't Young falling to evade tackles on the wings, it's quite clearly his propensity to drive into the area and then look for the slightest hint of a tackle before throwing himself to the ground. There are no 'mitigating circumstances' as Ashton suggests, least of all Young's injury problems in the past.

Hard Work
Said Alan Shearer: "I said on Match of the Day at the weekend that I'm always reluctant to praise anyone for hard work alone. As a footballer that should be the norm - you get lads who work their socks off for a Sunday morning pub team, so why shouldn't Premier League players do the same?"

Good for you, Alan. Sticking to your guns and...

"But the workrate Rooney put in against Arsenal was exceptional."


Olivier Holts takes the opportunity to have a pop at Andre Villas-Boas in his column for the Daily Mirror, but his typically high-and-mighty stance has rather puzzled Mediawatch.

'The events of the past 10 days have proved that when it comes to incompetence, the Spurs boss is on a roll,' writes Holt.

'Let's recap. Apparently oblivious to growing concerns about the effects of head injuries, Villas-Boas refused to substitute Lloris after the goalkeeper had been knocked unconscious in a shuddering collision with Everton's Romelu Lukaku.'

If Villas-Boas was 'oblivious' then Mediawatch was similarly in the dark over these 'growing concerns', for we can't remember a single mention of the effects of head injuries before Lloris' scare made it the cause celebre.

Invitation Of The Day
"It's going to be impossible to keep Fraser with the way he is playing. Inevitably, I think a huge club will make a huge bid for him."

Forgive Mediawatch for thinking that Neil Lennon isn't entirely convincing in his claim he wants to keep Fraser Forster.

Quote Of The Day
Said Mark McGhee: "If there are any Scottish players out there we don't know about please phone us."

Now that's a recruitment strategy.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Ice Ice Maybe' - the Daily Mirror.

Football Story Of The Day
'In Iganga, a staunch Arsenal football fan is looking for a home for his family after he lost his house in a bet over a game between English clubs Arsenal and Manchester United.

'Before the game, Henry Dhabasani staked his two-roomed house in a bet with Rashid Yiga, that Arsenal would win the game. On his part, Yiga staked his new Toyota Premio car and his wife that Manchester United would win.

'The two put their stake in writing, with local leaders and fans witnessing the deed. Dhabasani, married to three wives with five children, fainted at the end of the match on realizing Arsenal had lost the game 1-0. On Monday, several Manchester United fans stormed Dhabasani's home and threw him and his family out.' -

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Hundreds of people lined up at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday to buy a limited-edition bobblehead doll of embattled Mayor Rob Ford, which quickly sold out and began popping up on eBay for as much as 15 times its purchase price.

'Mayor Ford, who insists he will not step down despite admitting smoking crack cocaine, was on hand to sign the figurines.

'The sale of 1,000 Robbie Bobbies was conceived before Mayor Ford admitted last week that he had smoked crack cocaine in "one of my drunken stupors."

'But the furore did not mute demand for the little statuettes - a recreation of Mayor Ford's head on a springy neck - with lines that stretched around the cavernous City Hall lobby.' - The Telegraph.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Assad Mugenyi, Darren Leite and Garret Cleland. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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