Martin Samuel now likes managers that criticise players, but wants everyone (other than him) to stop talking about gay footballers. Plus youth hostelling with Chris Eubank...
Arsene Wenger was fuming and seething, Ian Wright picks his mate, Martin Samuel takes on a straw man, John Cross reports on a 'revolt' and more...
On The Same Page
Ian Ladyman lauds Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable year in Thursday's Daily Mail before, rather oddly, writing: 'In short, vanity - selfishness even - was a recurring theme of Ronaldo's time in England and perhaps during his early time in Spain. That has gone now.'
Mediawatch would argue that the accompanying photo of Ronaldo prodding his chest in celebration proves his vanity is still perfectly intact.
Suits You, Sir
It may be something of a slow news day, but that is a weak excuse for a rather wonderful non-story on the Daily Mirror football website this morning.
The entire premise of John Cross' article - and sit down because this one is a world-rocker - is that Arsenal have had their team photo taken...and they are wearing suits.
The headline to the article gives you enough warning ('Arsenal's sharp suits show a club with tradition and values - and fans should be proud'), but those still determined to read on are provided with even more tenuous suggestions.
'What a touch of class to bring back suits,' begins Cross.
'In an age when football is losing touch with some traditions, it was terrific to see Arsenal deciding to wear club suits to Premier and Champions League games at the Emirates.
'They like the tradition, values and appearance of the club. The suits only goes to strengthen those values and it is great to see Arsenal players in those suits.
'It's part of why, for many fans, Arsenal is their second team even if they don't support them.'
Perhaps there is a point to be made about keeping the age-old traditions of a club at heart, but it all reads rather like a marketing e-mail.
Arsenal's press officer must be sat back in his chair, cigar lit, smiling rather smugly to himself.
Least Surprising Revelation Of The Day
"There were no names," said Brendan Rodgers of his cringeworthy envelope trick.
The Sun reveal that Joe Hart will return to the Manchester City bench this weekend, but Neil Custis' story includes some hugely implausible reasoning over Manuel Pellegrini's lack of faith in the keeper.
'Hart has not played for City since his last-minute howler at Chelsea on October 27 which gifted Jose Mourinho's men victory,' writes Custis.
'In fact, Pellegrini was so unconvinced by Hart between the sticks that he wanted to axe the 26-year-old earlier than that after his mistakes against Bayern Munich in the 3-1 Champions League defeat on October 2.
'The Chilean only kept faith with Hart so as not to affect England's World Cup qualifying chances in the matches against Montenegro and Poland.'
So Manchester City's manager, despite his desire to do otherwise, kept faith with Hart so as not to harm England? Forgive Mediawatch for not being entirely convinced, especially given that Hart started City's three matches that immediately followed the England qualifiers.
Doom and Gloom
Mediawatch isn't at all surprised to see The Sun focus on the negatives ahead of the World Cup draw, but it is no less irked at Shaun Custis' column on Thursday.
'If England fans have learned anything over the last week it is that Roy Hodgson's England team needs all the help it can get,' writes a despondent Custis.
'It is time to get out the prayer mat and plead for an easy group.'
Of course, the performances against Chile and Germany did little to inspire optimism about England's chances of making an impression at the World Cup, but The Sun's reaction is so tedious and so predictable, emphasising the failings at the 2010 tournament to further disseminate doom and gloom.
Custis continues: 'England have to be drawn with one of the eight seeded nations, so the best-case scenario would be to get Switzerland.
'They are ranked a surprisingly lofty seventh ahead of powerhouses such as Holland and Italy.'
Switzerland are obviously the team everyone would choose out of the top seeds, but surely their victory over Spain in the opening group game in South Africa proves that there is little point in writing off England's hopes of a decent tournament at this stage?
It's a point that will no doubt be lost on The Sun, however, as they continue their biennial quest to harsh everyone's buzz in the build-up to another major tournament.
'It was not just 10 v 10 at Wembley on Tuesday, it was 10 v 11 as the visitors made such impressive use of their man between the sticks, Roman Weidenfeller,' writes Terry Venables in The Sun.
'I'd hazard a guess that he used his feet more than his hands, as he was rarely tested by England's strikers.'
Considering England didn't manage a single shot on target, we'd say you're probably right, Tel.
After revealing that little-known Lionel Messi could win the Ballon d'Or in his 'WORLD FOOTBALL UNCOVERED' column for The Sun on Monday, Antony Kastrinakis now 'amazingly' tells us that Cristiano Ronaldo is in the running.
Pseud Of The Day
'Rather than fighting together, the two bodies are fighting themselves. It has been going on for so long that the epitaph of the England football team could well be the words of another Richard - William Shakespeare's Richard II - when he lamented: I wasted time and now doth time waste me.' - The Sun's Steven Howard is full of woe.
Quote Of The Day
"He used to fine us £10 if we called him Rob!" says Leon Britton, who seems to take great pleasure in referring to former boss Roberto Martinez as 'Rob' throughout the rest of his interview with The Sun.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Good In The Sak' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'People living on a UK street fear house prices could suffer after Google Earth images showed their estate resembles a giant penis.
'Locals on George Road, Edward Road, and Yeoman Cottages in Hoylake, Wirral, fear potential house-hunters wouldn't want to buy a property in the phallic-shaped area.
'When viewed from above, the red roofs on the homes - which have an average £200,000 price tag - make the cul-de-sac look like a penis.
'Resident Carl Hodge, 45, said: "Since someone spotted this on Google Earth we have all become a laughing stock. You can't argue because it really does look just like a man's cock and balls.
"I haven't heard of anyone moving out because of it but we are definitely worried it would put of potential buyers if we ever wanted to sell. Who would want to live in the cul-de-sac that everyone is taking the mick out of?"
'Another Hoylake resident who lives nearby added: "It is so funny, everyone knows it as the cock and balls road."' - The Telegraph.
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