The Page That Will Never Turn The Corner

Juan Mata takes a 'swipe', Kastranakis believes bringing back Jaap Stam is the answer, Neil Ashton is spellbound by Oscar...

Last Updated: 27/01/14 at 12:19

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'Juan Mata has insisted Jose Mourinho drove him out of Chelsea,' is The Sun's take on some incredibly benign quotes from Mata, who is wonderfully handsome but not especially interesting. Isn't that always the way? Mata talks of 'difficult situations' and 'complicated situations' without once 'insisting' anything of interest at all, but that does not stop The Sun describing his anodyne love letter to Chelsea fans as a 'swipe'.

Indeed, there are more than one, as Jonny Fordham writes: 'In another swipe at Mourinho, Mata lavishes praise on previous Blues bosses Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez for their "unlimited trust" in him.'

Which might have been a 'swipe' (or at least vaguely noteworthy) if Mata had not gone on to say: "And to Jose, for making me a stronger player."


High Jinx
Fordham's in fine form on Monday - somehow suggesting that Nigel Clough's failure to beat Premier League Fulham with League One Sheffield United (reduced to ten men) on Sunday was evidence of Brian Clough's FA Cup jinx 'rubbing off on him'.

File under U for 'utterly, utterly bizarre'.

Bootroom Boys
At least we thought that was utterly, utterly bizarre until we read Antony Kastrinakis and his 'world football uncovered' column, which he uses to urge Manchester United to bring in more former players to work at the club, despite already having Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Brian McClair on the payroll.

'More key players who graced United under Alex Ferguson's (sic) must be brought in all areas of the club,' writes Kastrinakis, who is apparently the only man on the planet who believes that a lack of excellent former players in the dug-out is a bigger problem at Old Trafford than a lack of excellent players on the pitch.

And why has he come to this conclusion? Because Ajax have ten former players on their staff and they're now the best team in Holland. Yes, the biggest club in Holland now has the best team in Holland again. They're not still in the Champions League or anything but they did beat mid-table Go Ahead Eagles 1-0 this weekend.

So clearly 'their model shows United need to bring in more winners from their recent past. And fast'.

And that, folks, is 'world football uncovered'.

Ask The Expert
Alan Shearer in The Sun on Manchester United buying Mata: 'I would suggest the need for another couple of midfielders to bolster a slim-looking squad.'

Thanks. For. That.

Love Split
While The Sun's Chelsea acolyte Rob Beasley was writing that Chelsea missed Juan Mata against Stoke on Sunday ('There was something missing - and it was all too easy to say £37.1million reject Juan Mata was that something'), his Daily Mail equivalent Neil Ashton wrote girlishly about Oscar being 'intoxicating', 'easy on the eye' and 'spellbinding'. Stay away from him Oscar, he's on the rebound.

Best Of The Rest
Headline in The Sun: 'I'll make Aguero the new Messi...Pellegrini pledge to superstar striker.'

Opening paragraph in The Sun: 'MANUEL PELLEGRINI has told Sergio Aguero he wants to make him the best player in the world.'

Actual quotes from Manuel Pellegrini: "He has the quality to be among the best players...Sergio is one of the best in the world...Sergio is one of the best and we are lucky to have him."

It's almost like he a) believes he's one of the best players in the world and b) makes no pledge at all.

Jake's Progress
Astonishing stuff from the Daily Star, who crawl so far up BT's bottom that they will need one of those sprightly telecoms engineers to perform an extraction. Here are our favourite extracts, presented without comment or punchline as neither is required...

* 'With 90 minutes to go before the cameras roll, the star of the show sits in the deepest, darkest corner of a cold truck. That man is Jake - BT Sport's Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Mesut Ozil rolled into one. The lynchpin, the class act, the heartbeat.'

* 'Jake stops for a moment. He says he's tweaking a script - but it's a rewrite. Red pen is everywhere. He's sabotaged it. He's a perfectionist. He wants it done his way, the right way. And what Humphrey says goes.'

* 'Every moment you look, he's talking into the microphone, reading through script after script. Like McAllister would have been on the training ground, waiting to curl free-kick after free-kick into the top corner, he won't stop until he's nailed it.'

* 'BT have taken a gamble. They have torn up the rulebook, ditched the safety of the studio and are mixing it with the punters. It's live TV and anything can happen - but their numbers have come up. The gamble has paid off.'

* 'Jake's masterplan - if ever there was any doubt - has worked.'

* 'Humphrey and David Moyes started their new jobs at the same time last year - but there is only one award for best newcomer. Thanks to a three-year deal worth nearly £1bn, it will be Jake who is enjoying the Champions League.'

The God Of Hellfire
Mediawatch is amongst those that believe Chelsea are perhaps the only team with the ability to stop Manchester City scoring a hatful at the Etihad. We call this group 'people who know something about football'.

In the other corner is Mark Lawrenson, who writes in the Daily Mirror that 'Jose Mourinho is perhaps the only man with the firepower to shoot down Manchester City at the Etihad'. Erm, firepower? While four teams have scored more goals than Chelsea away from home this season, no team has conceded fewer. We're pretty damn certain Chelsea won't be entering a shoot-out, Lawro.

Birthday Parting
From The Sun: 'There was even a rousing version of Happy Birthday to the 51-year-old Blues boss. Jose acknowledged the Shed End with a wave and a smile.'

From the Daily Star: 'In the 64th minute fans at the Shed End tried to lift him by signing 'Happy Birthday'. But he ignored them and it's the last we heard of it.'

Quote Of The Day
"I don't just see him as a centre half, I see him as an Iniesta, Xavi or a Charlie Adam type" - Ian Holloway on new Millwall signing Shaun Williams.

Headline Of The Day
'LONG TO WAYNE OVER US' - The Daily Mirror on Rooney's new powers.

Worst Headline Of Day
'Roberto Indi need Ov Lift' - The Sun.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A 51-year-old man, who was naked from the waist down and carrying a bag of dildos, walked into the White Hart Pub in Stoke-on-Trent and told customers: "If anyone has a problem with me, they can take it outside." No one took it outside. Instead, according to the prosecutor, it sounds more like people were too shocked to do much of anything. David Sherratt later told police that he "may have taken too much" of a class B amphetamine that was found on his person. Magistrates handed Sherratt a 12-month community order and fined him £85' - The Vice.

Thanks to Mediawatch spotter Daniel Nutterfield. 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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