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More boredom about boring Spurs and how smoking pot leads to a cocaine addiction...

Last Updated: 29/11/13 at 12:33

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Description Of The Day
'This curious Portuguese egg' - The Daily Mail's Jeff Powell on Andre Villas-Boas.

Gateway Drug
'Match-fixing is the elephant in the room. Our living room,' begins a foreboding Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail as he warns of the evils threatening the English game - concerns that should certainly be taken seriously, to a point.

'As footballers are arrested on suspicion of rigging bets in the Conference, can we be absolutely certain the contagion cannot, will not, spread to the upper, televised echelons of the English game?

'It has happened before so what is to say it won't happen again?'

Powell's fears may be justified - and a predictable reaction to the allegations this week - but Mediawatch can't help but feel slightly less concerned about match-fixing at the top level when he details the example he has in mind.

'My mind goes back to the 1960s and 70s when players used to laugh and joke about not only being paid to give away the first throw in of a match or the first corner, but of placing winning bets themselves,' writes Powell.

'Do such seemingly trivial incidents, we are asked, really affect the outcome of matches? Maybe yes, perhaps no.'

So we should be worried about match-fixing in the Premier League now because players threw the first corner of matches some 40 years ago? Forgive Mediawatch for not being entirely convinced by this argument.

'But once a player has been turned a little, the easier it is to lead him on to more serious offences, so vulnerable does he become to blackmail,' Powell continues.

'Even easier when there is a culture of cheating in football which blurs the moral parameters.

'It is like drug addiction. Just as smoking pot seems mild but often leads to cocaine, so the sly dive can be but a short step from a little, seemingly harmless spot-fixing.'

Leaving to one side the amusement caused by Powell writing about 'smoking pot', Mediawatch doesn't believe cheating is so black and white. You either are or you aren't seems to be Powell's suggestion, but obviously there is a lot of grey between diving to win a penalty and taking a bribe.

However, unless there is a Premier League angle on the match-fixing news ('former Premier League footballer Delroy Facey has been accused', etc), then the papers quite rightly fear that no-one will be interested. It is right to worry about protecting the game's integrity when such practices are revealed, but forcing a tenuous Premier League perspective only risks leading to apathy.

Pulis Academy
"We had a young lad (Sullay Kaikai) who scored a hat-trick in the U21s and he will be coming to Norwich. I'm hoping there will be two or three of those," said Tony Pulis as he talked about bringing youngsters through at Crystal Palace.

"Ryan Shawcross was captain at 19 years of age at Stoke, we had Asmir Begovic at 20, Marc Wilson at 20, Steven N'Zonzi and Ryan Shotton - they were all young players who came through."

Shawcross was appointed captain at 22, Begovic joined at 22, Wilson at 23, while N'Zonzi was rather embarrassingly awarded Stoke's Young Player of the Year award last season at the age of 24.

Mediawatch wouldn't say promoting youth is one of Pulis' strong points.

Slight Difference Of Opinion
'Chelsea and Man City given boost in Edinson Cavani chase as Arsenal baulk at wage demands'- Daily Star

'Arsenal are preparing to battle Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for PSG striker Edinson Cavani in January' - Daily Express

You won't be surprised to learn that both stories reach their conclusion using identical quotes from French tabloid Le10Sport.

'Boring, boring Tottenham. There you go - someone needed to say it, so it might as well be me.'

Congratulations to Robbie Savage for having the cojones to say what everyone else has been saying for three months now in his column for the Daily Mirror.

'I'm not interested in how Tottenham got on in the Europa League last night,' writes a man who is paid to watch football. 'I don't care if they saw the Northern Lights or if they managed to build any snowmen in the Arctic circle.

'Ultimately, Villas-Boas will be judged on whether they qualify for the Champions League.'

Hang on, Mediawatch was sure Savage was already judging AVB on Spurs' style of play just a moment ago. Huh.

The problem with writing a Friday column is that everything you have to say has already been discussed at length throughout the week and, despite Savage's 'unique' take on things, his stale perspective offers nothing new on the problems at Spurs.

'AVB spent £110million on a major overhaul of his squad, and it was always going to take time for seven new signings to bed in at White Hart Lane,' he continues.

'But I don't think he is getting the best out of them.'

Well, no s**t. Mediawatch was under the impression that everything was fine and dandy at White Hart Lane.

'Based on what I've seen so far this campaign, they have no chance (of qualifying for the Champions League)' writes Savage, despite tipping Spurs - who are only two points from fourth - to finish in the top four at the start of the season.

And who said football pundits are fickle?

Curious Egg
'Andre Villas-Boas considers himself immune at Tottenham, writes Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail.

'Not with only nine goals scored in 12 Premier matches this season. Not when he is giving Jermain Defoe, one of the most natural of English finishers, hardly any playing time while getting ready to ship him off to the MLS in January.'

Mediawatch would suggest that Defoe didn't appear quite so 'natural' when he scored just once for Spurs in 17 matches at the end (well, the middle to the end, truth be told) of last season.

The Glorious Return Of Acewatch
'Former Gills ace Delroy Facey released on bail in match-fix probe'

Three goals in 32 games for Gillingham. Ace.

Quote Of The Day
"In the space of one sentence they went from asking for my autograph to offering me £10,000 to lose 2-0 against Liverpool ... When I went inside and told Barry Fry, who was our manager at the time, he just made a joke of it and said 'You should have taken it because we'll probably lose to Liverpool anyway'" - former Birmingham keeper Ian Bennett.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Ryan in a r-age' - The Sun.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A clown epidemic has hit King's Lynn, and local police have told the public to ignore them.

'Several unnerving clown sightings have been reported around the Norfolk town, with the craze spreading around the country having initially started in Northampton.

'A member of the public contacted police on Tuesday after being scared by a man in full clown outfit in Gaywood, near King's Lynn, reports The Metro.

'Superintendent Carl Edwards said no one had been injured or assaulted, but advised that people ignore the clowns so as not to give them the attention they's looking for.

'"Firstly I'd like to stress that it isn't against the law to dress up as a clown," he said.

"Nobody has been assaulted and it appears that the people involved are waiting for a passerby to be startled by their appearance and run away, and then the clown runs after them for a short distance.

'"We appreciate this can worry people, especially the young or elderly. The most effective way to behave if you are to see someone dressed up is to give no reaction - because that's what they are after."' -

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Julian Rawlinson and James Tong. 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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