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The Sun wheel out their supercomputer, Paul Ince is a grumpy old man ranting about foreigners and Nemanja Vidic and his agent need to talk...

Last Updated: 06/02/14 at 13:19

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OK Computer
Mediawatch genuinely loves 'the SunSport computer'. It's around this time every year (after the transfer window closes; we're sure it's a coincidence) when The Sun claims to have a 'especially formulated' computer that predicts who will win the title or who will be relegated. We like to think it's kept in its own locked room like a supercomputer from a 1970s sci-film film.

And it turns out that The Sun's computer says that Manchester City will win the title ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea. So we can all go home now. Sorry, Arsene. But second is pretty good, right?

But wait a minute, how has 'the SunSport computer' come to this conclusion? By deciding that the three title-chasers will win all their remaining games against the poorest sides but drop points against the best, of course. So City will win the title because they have fewer difficult games. It's almost like 'the SunSport computer' has been programmed by Mark Lawrenson.

This, computer historians, is what Charles Babbage dreamed about when he wasn't insisting that his name be pronounced 'Babb-arge'.


Worst Gauntlet Ever
Headline in The Sun: 'YOU'RE GUNN FOR!'

Sub-headline in The Sun: 'Sktrtel's dig at Wenger.'

Opening paragraph in The Sun: 'MARTIN SKRTEL last night threw down the gauntlet ahead of Liverpool's Saturday showdown with Premier League leaders Arsenal.'

Actual quotes from Martin Skrtel: "I am confident we can beat Arsenal, because we definitely have the strength to do so. They are the leaders at the moment but we can give them a hard time. It won't be an easy game but I am sure we can do something in front of our own fans."

And the good news for the gauntlet-wielding Skrtel is that the SunSport computer agrees. Wouldn't even bother training if we were you, Martin.


Communication Breakdown
'NEMANJA VIDIC has been left fuming over his Manchester United contract snub,' according to the lesser evil Custis in The Sun. 'The club captain's currrent deal is up at the end of the season and there has been no approach from United about an extension. Vidic. 32, is angry at being left in limbo.'

Perhaps the 'angry' and 'fuming' Vidic, 32, should talk to his agent Silvano Martina. A month ago he gave a radio interview in which he said: "There was no contact with Napoli and I do not think that this is a trail to follow. The player's contract is expiring, but the blues (Napoli) have not contacted me. Manchester United has already proposed the renewal and several clubs have approached him. Offers from Italy? The player wants to finish the season at United and then we'll see."

A week later Martina was saying: "At the moment, I would rule out an extension with Manchester United. Vidic, given his contract situation, has several teams looking at him. For the time being we remain calm."

Was he using the royal 'we'? He really should talk to his not-calm-at-all client. He's sodding fuming. Or at least that's what somebody's told Neil Custis when he needed a back-page lead.


Pious Nonsense Of The Day
Not for the first time, we go to Brian Reade ('at the heart of football') of the Daily Mirror for a dose of overblown rhetoric from the old man in the corner.

'Chico Flores could have no complaints if the FA ordered him to take a three-hour trip to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital,' he writes.

'Maybe staring at young men who've had limbs blown off in Afghanistan might make him think twice about falling to the floor as though he's been hit by a sniper when all that's happened is an arm has brushed the top of his hair-bun.

'Or maybe not.

'Although it might make him realise what a disgrace he is to his profession and his manhood.'

Mediawatch finds something delicious in the irony of Reade's extraordinary overreaction.


Grumpy Old Man
"When I see all these kids in the England Under-21s, they've not been in the real world. They get too much, too soon. You see them driving around in nice cars and I'm thinking 'you've not achieved anything yet'. I see them with earrings and tattoos. They think they've made it."

Astonishingly, Paul Ince is only 46.


Foreign Invasion
Of course we cannot leave Paul Ince and his Daily Telegraph interview there - and we won't spend too much time wondering quite how much credit he should be given for being a 'pioneer' and a 'trailblazer' (his words) as the first black England captain and first black Premier League manager when the former was somebody else's long-overdue decision and the latter was a complete disaster. And completely untrue as Jean Tigana and Ruud Gullit came before him.

We will concentrate instead on his lazy 'everything is rubbish these days, blame it on the foreigners' schtick. Perhaps we should have stopped when we read that Wrighty "does a fantastic punditry job" but we felt compelled to carry on as Ince basically argues that him and his mates should be more heavily involved in management. Because it went so well for him, Alan Shearer and Tony Adams in the Premier League, right? Or did they actually just win six out of 41 Premier League games between them?

"Even watching the City-Chelsea game on Monday, I was thinking everyone was foreign. That can't be right. As a former England player, that kills me," says Ince, who reveals a great deal about his character with the revelation that he watched a compelling football match between two of the best three sides in the Premier League and could only scream 'where are all the Englishmen?'

And there's more...

"The problem we have is that the Premier League are not interested in England. The FA are, but don't have the power. We get through the group phases at a World Cup, play against a better team, get beaten and all of a sudden everyone says: 'Damn, we don't have enough world-class players.'

"Well, we're not going to have enough world-class players if we keep bringing in foreign players. There has to be some stipulation where you can only bring so many foreign players in. But the Premier League is so big now, it's a train that's not stopping.

"It saddens me more over what will happen next for England. Steven Gerrard is coming to the end of his career, probably has another two years. JT and Rio are not playing for England. Look at the all the great players we had - Shearer, Campbell, Adams. We're not getting those players anymore."

Remind us how many major tournaments all those 'great players' won for England, Paul. Remind us how many you won. It's almost like, and this might sound crazy, players like Tony Adams were only considered 'great players' because they were the best in England at a time when there were fewer foreigners; they still achieved the sum total of bugger all on the international stage.

Or is that too nuanced for you, Paul? It's a lot sodding easier to blame all the foreigners, right?


Land Of Hope And Glory
'New signings wil save me...Rene backs awesome foursome' is the headline in The Sun. What does Rene Meulensteen actually say? "Hopefully the new players coming in can help."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a battle cry.


Headline Of The Day
'Caught Marshall' - The Sun on the Cardiff keeper's new contract.


Non-Football Story of The Day
'A woman who was convicted of assault for pulling her cheating husband's testicles so hard he required stitches, had her sentence reduced by the High Court in Pretoria, The Star newspaper reported on Wednesday. Gladys Chauke was initially sentenced to a year in prison with the option of a R3000 fine, but judges Ronel Tolmay and Cynthia Pretorius lowered it to three months in prison or a fine of R1000, according to the report. The judges said the Limpopo magistrate who originally sentenced Chauke should have considered, as a mitigating factor, that it was a crime of passion.

'"The assault itself was not of such a serious nature. The sentence induces a sense of shock..." said Tolmay. The magistrate justified the sentence saying Chauke deserved it since she attacked a "very delicate, intricate part of the human anatomy". The assault happened at the husband's girlfriend's home.

'Chauke, 27, allegedly locked herself and the two of them in a room. After the husband allegedly attacked her, she grabbed his testicles, hit him over the head with a wooden spoon and bit him. He then reportedly jumped through a window and fled, "with blood steaming from his testicles".' - mybroadband.


Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Muhammad Peer. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@footbal365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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