The Page That Also Has A High-Tech Bunker

Won't someone think of the fax machine? Plus maths with Jose and the bias of narrative...

Last Updated: 27/02/14 at 12:28

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New-Fangled Doo-Hickey
For an industry awash with so much money, football is notoriously slow on the uptake when it comes to technology and so forth. Perhaps that explains the series of stories in the papers this morning, marvelling at the plan David Moyes and everyone else at Manchester United has hatched to turn their train wreck of a season around.

Apparently the scouting system at Manchester United basically used to consist of Fergie talking to his brother every now and then, so Moyes has found a power extension cord and dragged the whole affair into the modern day.

The Guardian speaks of a 'bunker' in which Moyes 'has installed a bespoke facility that houses whiteboards, computers, high-definition screens, iPads and other state-of-the-art digital technology', while The Daily Telegraph describes all this witchcraft as a '21st century operation'.

Computers, iPads, high-definition screens. It's not a 'bunker', chaps - it's an office. Do they know such things are pretty common, and not some sort of hocus pocus from the future, right? Hey, do you reckon they have 'telephones' too? Perhaps even some of those portable telephones that can fit inside a standard motor car?

All japes aside, there is a serious point to be made here. What of the humble fax machine? The staple of football business, sitting forlornly in the corner, like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear shows up, out of date, a relic superseded by the shiny new technology, only being asked to whir into life when the fancy machines have crunched the numbers, selected the player they think United need from the database and an actual offer needs to be made.

We can almost hear it plaintively whimpering: "Is that all guys? Is there anything else you want me to do? Guys? I'm still here you know. OK, I'll just stick around and let you know if they get back to us. I'll just be here, OK? Guys?"

It could be dangerous for United too. What if a fax comes through offering United Toni Kroos for £5million and Moyes misses it because he's playing Flappy Bird on his text machine? What if the machines become sentient and take over, leaving Carrington a scorched wasteland after taking your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle? What if an iPad stages a coup and shows up in the Old Trafford dugout by the end of the season.

Actually, it probably couldn't do much worse. Maybe this is a good idea after all.

Summary: Nobody Has A Clue
'David Moyes is safe for now as Manchester United manager but his position is coming under increasing scrutiny from the Old Trafford board' - The Daily Mail.

'David Moyes has one more transfer window to save his job' - The Daily Express.

'David Moyes retains the backing of Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family, despite the first signs of the embattled manager losing the faith of the club's supporters in the wake of the Champions League humiliation against Olympiakos' - The Daily Telegraph.

'United board losing faith in flop Moyes' - The Daily Mirror.

'David Moyes's position as Manchester United manager remains secure despite the dismal 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday evening' - The Guardian.

'The Old Trafford hierarchy is nervous but will not wield the axe yet' - The Sun.

February 10: Jose Mourinho responds to Manuel Pellegrini by questioning his opponent's mathematical chops. "Everybody knows what Manchester City are. Pellegrini was talking about the money we've spent. He's a fantastic coach, and I respect that, and he's a qualified engineer. I don't think an engineer should need a calculator to see that we sold Juan Mata for £37 million and Kevin De Bruyne for £18m - so that's £55m brought in. Then we bought Nemanja Matic for £21m and Mohamed Salah cost £11m. That's £32m spent."

February 26: Jose Mourinho responds to Roberto Mancini discussing percentages. "I'm not good at maths. And football is not maths. If football was maths, I'd be coaching in the Third Division. Because football is not maths, I coach Chelsea."

The Bias Of Narrative
People talk a lot about 'agendas' and 'bias' in the press. While it would perhaps be very comforting to believe that the world is against us, or the reason that journalist is writing your team is sh*t is because they hate you for some non-specific reason, rather than your team actually being sh*t, in reality very few journalists are actually biased for or against any team, manager or player.

What they are most certainly biased towards is what irritating goons might call a 'narrative'. Which is how we end up with stuff like this, from Matt Barlow in The Daily Mail:

'Fernando Torres showed a lethal touch to grab an away goal for Chelsea against Galatasaray last night - but Jose Mourinho admitted his team still lack a killer instinct.'

In the world of the narrative, this fits rather neatly; a Chelsea striker scored a few days after the Chelsea manager said all Chelsea's strikers are bloody awful.

In the world of reality, Fernando 'Lethal Touch' Torres put the ball into an open net.

Narrative, see? The enemy of sense.

Never Drops His Levels
Opinions. Subjective and all that. Whatever you fancy, whatever you think and all that. No point in getting too het up about them.

With that in mind, here's what The Daily Mail had to say about Wayne Rooney in a feature about which United players should stay at Manchster United (our italics).

'Captain-elect and with good reason. Never drops his levels. A class act.'

A Lack Of Planning
Brian Reade, Liverpool fan, isn't happy with Roy Hodgson for some reason. Can't work out why. Bit of a mystery, really.

Anyway, he writes in The Daily Mirror:

'The message out of Roy Hodgson's laid-back, pre-Brazil briefing on Sky TV is that little in his mind is certain.

'He couldn't name his final 23 yet, has no specific penalty-taking strategy and hasn't set a target for how far he'd like to go.'

We'll take this one at a time. Firstly, he 'couldn't name his final 23 yet' because there's over two months of the season left, Brian. Secondly, Hodgson has said he would be bringing in a psychologist to help with the penalties thing, but beyond that what exactly is a 'specific penalty-taking strategy'? Trying to score them seems about the short and tall of it. And thirdly, in what world is 'setting a target for how far he'd like to go' a good idea? Presumably the papers absolutely would not jump all over that and use it against him for the next three months.

That's Brian Reade, 'at the heart of football.'

The Key To Good Comedy: Timing
'But Chelsea's strength starts from the back, where Terry is helping turn Gary Cahill into England's best available centre half' - Martin Samuel in his column for The Daily Mail, February 26.

'In the 54th minute, in winning a challenge with Burak Yilmaz, Gary Cahill almost struck the ball into his own goal, but it was from set-pieces that Galatasaray most threatened...a goal was coming and from the next corner, taken by Wesley Sneijder, central defender Aurelien Chedjou found Terry and Cech in strangely docile mood, and headed the ball home. It was just the sort of goal Chelsea so rarely concede' - Martin Samuel in his match report, under the headline 'Slack defending costs Mourinho's men victory' in The Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail's Charlie Sale not only provides a pleasing name/job rhyme (much like American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell), but he also hates Paddy Power.

In his latest column for the paper, he calls them 'ravenous publicity-seekers' who have 'plumbed new depths' with a market about whether Oscar Pistorious will be found guilty or not.

Good job he's not giving them any more publicity by mentioning their name and mentioning the specific market in his national newspaper column, eh?

Teammate Of The Day
Blimey. Here's Mario Mandzukic putting in a two-footed challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger in training.

Looks like someone's a little bit grumpy about Robert Lewandowski showing up in a few months, eh?

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Torres proves he's no Turkey' - The Sun.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'AN Edinburgh street is vying to become the rudest in Britain after images on Google Earth revealed it looks like a giant penis. The aptly named Bellenden Gardens has a name which has amused residents for years - but recently satellite mapping of the cul-de-sac showed it also strongly resembles a phallic symbol. And now the road, in the Inch area, is competing to become the rudest in the country.

'A survey released earlier this week revealed the Top Ten risqué road names south of the border - and suggested living in places such as Minge Lane, in Worcestershire, Slag Lane, Lancashire, and Fanny Hands Lane in Lincolnshire could even affect house prices' - The Edinburgh News.

Non-Football Quote Of The Day
"I don't think it affects the house prices around here" - Mary Cunningham, who lives near Bellenden Gardens.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Philip Holland. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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e made his power play to try and get Sheikhy to raise his wages or trade him to PSG. PSG were probably not interested and he is stuck with no cake and no vacation. @Jay_D> Surely you jest about FFP being real, right? All Platini is doing is making billionaries pay measly fines, so he and his cronies can get rich. If a fool can pay 50 mil for David Luiz, he will happily pay some fine to UEFA. FFP has failed as for it to succeed UEFA had to take it...

Toure: I am staying with City


uess we can expect Toure's explanation of his behaviour around the same time Pete Townshend publishes his book then.

Toure: I am staying with City


amn you Yaya, don't scare me like that! I only ate the icing. I didn't eat the soft and scrumptious middle - I will buy you another cake!

Toure: I am staying with City

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