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Best Of British
Mediawatch clearly realises that English tabloid types have an inflated sense of loyalty to English managers, but it makes their 'one rule for us, another rule for them' schtick no less bizarre and amusing. This morning we got a wonderful example of the breed.

Martin Samuel launches a staunch defence of mild cheddar aficionado Tim Sherwood in the Daily Mail after Spurs were pumped 4-0 in the second half at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, capitulating as soon as the opening goal was conceded. This wasn't Sherwood's fault, of course, and Samuel instead attacks the 'powers that be' at Spurs, who 'must take responsibility for the mess at The Lane'.

Apropos of nothing, you will remember that those 'powers that be' appointed Andre Villas-Boas before Sherwood, who had something of the public spat with the Daily Mail following pieces written by Neil Ashton and Samuel in the latter stages of his tenure.

In fact, there is a wonderful comparison to be drawn between Samuel's treatment of the two managers. Following the 6-0 loss at home to Manchester City, Samuel wrote a piece headlined: 'What's the beauty of being Villas-Boas? It's always someone else's fault.'

Samuel wrote: 'He said the players should be ashamed. That is the marvellous thing about being AVB - there is always someone around to carry the can.'

Compare what AVB actually said at the time ("We have to be ashamed of ourselves, and react to a defeat like this") to the words from Sherwood following defeat at Chelsea:

"Lack of characters, too many of them too nice to each other. You need to show a bit more guts and not want to be someone's mate all the time. They need to drag it out of each other."

So when one manager (foreign) offers criticism of the group as a whole ("we"), he is attacked for passing the buck, but when another (English) publicly attacks his players, it is the club's fault? Obviously.

What's more, it's not just not Sherwood's fault, it's actually still Villas-Boas' fault. Of course.

'Foreign is best, foreign is better, foreign knows more, foreign is shrewder, more savvy, more tactically adept. Yet that ignores one salient fact. Foreign got Tottenham into this mess. It wasn't Sherwood who conceded six away to Manchester City and five at home to Liverpool. The manager of the time, Andre Villas-Boas, is Portuguese.'

No, but it was Sherwood who conceded five at home to Manchester City and four away to Chelsea, and only one of the four mentioned results actually happened two days ago, Martin.

It was also Sherwood that refused to take the blame for the debacle, instead hanging his players out to dry. And it was Sherwood who claimed that he was suffering simply through his own nationality. "Until you get a foreign manager of this club, nobody is happy," he said last week.

So, in short, if an Englishman does well, praise the Englishman. If a foreigner does badly, blame the foreigner. And if an Englishman does badly, everyone can blame the foreigner.

As if we ever expected any different.


Know Your Audience
There are many sticks with which to beat the Football Association, but homophobia doesn't immediately appear to be one of them.

Quite where the following paragraph from Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail comes from, therefore, goodness only knows, after rumours that a Premier League footballer would 'come out' this weekend.

'The Football Association were no doubt on standby to organise the nationwide open-top bus tour. The straight establishment wants a pet gay project only for their benefit. They want the unique selling point of football's first gay icon to be marketed and exploited to the full.

'If 30 footballers came out as gay as one in a massive show of communal pride, it would be a disaster. Too much gayness. A flooded market. What are we going to do with all these queens? It is the lone gay that is sought, the saleable gay, the memorable face of the gay game.'

I think most reasonable observers would assume that if an English footballer revealed his homosexuality, the FA would offer them all the support they needed or wanted. It would be the decent and normal thing to do. Mediawatch rather counted Samuel as a reasonable observer. Perhaps we were wrong. Or perhaps he just knows his audience.

Either way, if Samuel can't see the irony in him writing a column in a national newspaper on what a governing body would say to give publicity to a gay footballer whilst said governing body actually said nothing at all, he's got his eyes closed. That's what working for the Daily Mail does for you eventually.


House
Mediawatch loves a good game, so we rubbed our hands with glee at the thought of playing Jamie Redknapp Bingo in the Daily Mail this morning.

In his column on Tim Sherwood, we were treated to the following (in the space of 215 words):
'Straight-talking' - BING!
'refreshing honesty' - BING!
'see how much it was hurting' - BING!
'how much it meant to him' - BING!
'real football man' - BING!
'speaks from the heart' - BING!
'calls it as he sees it' - BING!
'no laptop manager' - BING!

Wonderful, and predictable, stuff.


World Football
Thank goodness Antony Kastranakis has journeyed around the world again this week for his column in The Sun. So, what secret has he unearthed? Which global story has he exclusively 'uncovered'?

Well, our man with the 'world football' plan has discovered that Barcelona lost at the weekend, and that this signals the end of tiki-taka. This is, we are told, 'the final countdown'. Finally, according to Kastrinakis, Barcelona have a reputation for 'crumbling when hot faves'. He uses one example from 1986 and another from 1994.

Bizarrely, Kastrinakis claims that Barcelona's defeat to Valladolid makes qualification easier for Manchester City on Wednesday.

'Whatever City's chances were before Saturday, they have gone up a notch.'

Did someone write their piece before Sunday's late FA Cup match, by any chance?


Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank
Mediawatch snorted out its tea when it read the subheader on an advertising feature in the Daily Telegraph.

'Driving an ultra low emission vehicle for a week leaves football pundit Alan Smith on-side with going green.'

That golden line sits above a 700-word piece which is so soaked in Partridge-esque humour we seriously considered that it may be an elaborate hoax.

We would urge you to read the whole thing if you can, but here are our two favourite gems:

* 'This gave me the chance to enjoy a run around the M25 in the Vauxhall Ampera. An hour or so later I arrived, feeling rather impressed by the smoothness and quiet of this extended range electric car.'

* 'I pulled into the car park at the Etihad Stadium at the same time as my Telegraph colleague Henry Winter. "Have a look at this Henry," I shouted across the car park. "Impressive car, great performance - and I'm saving the planet too."'

We've only just stopped crying with laughter.


Cluck-Baiting
We all know how the MailOnline works, but we were provided with the perfect example of the strategy yesterday.

'What is Moyes doing watching Lancashire derby at Ewood Park?' farts the headline, to which the simple answer is 'To watch Michael Keane play for Blackburn, because he is on loan from United'.

However, that sort of pithy logic doesn't really fly with MailOnline, and so the reader must wade through such bullsh*t as 'Moyes would no doubt have been paying close attention to the performance of Danny Ings'. Yes, sign him up.

However, our favourite line of the article (by an absolute mile) is the moment when you can tell the author has run out of steam.

'Moyes will have have been shocked to see a chicken enter the frame during the clash between Blackburn and Burnley.'

Yes, we've heard David Moyes is a notorious alektorophobic.


Unfortunate Quote Of The Day
"I never want to be a number two. I don't think I'd be good at number two." - We disagree with Tim Sherwood entirely. For periods of the second half it looked he was perfectly comfortable making Spurs look sh*t.


Misleading Headline Of The Day
'Dowie dresses in Bollywood outfit to join Shearer, Diouf and Storey at charity event' - He's not that famous, however important he thinks being good at football quizzes is.


Worst Headline Of The Day
'City Are Shocked By Uwe Beauties' - The Daily Express struggle with their German pronunciation.


Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Doctors at the People's Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on March 8 successfully reattached the penis of a 42-year-old man after it was cut off by his wife, with a razor.

'Dr. Truong Hoang Minh, Head of the Urology Ward of the People's Hospital said the patient was hospitalized with a nearly cut-off bruising penile. Doctors reattached the penis in a two-hour operation.

'"The patient's condition is relatively stable now. However, the function of the penis is still unknown for 3 months," the doctor said.

'According to family members, the patient has a wife and two children but he has had a public affair for months. The wife cut off her husband's penis for jealousy, but she then took the husband to the hospital' - Vietnamnet

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Josh Wignall and Oliver Keal. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com

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