Martin Samuel spoils the buzz at Southampton, and Mark Lawrenson delivers a couple of classic lines...
Mediawatch was a little preoccupied with Robbie Savage's musings. Plus, how Man United signed Falcao and Angel Di Maria...
The above is taken from the Manchester Evening News' report on City's 2-2 home draw with Sunderland last night.
Plenty of sticks are available with which to beat City for a shonky draw that ends their title bid, but we're not quite sure falsely representing a possession graphic is one of them.
What's A Few Thousand Between Friends?
On Wednesday, Neil Ashton wrote a piece in the Daily Mail highlighting the lunacy of youth players in the Premier League being paid huge salaries, often with little to no hope of making the grade. It's a viable and oft-used tactic on the part of larger clubs, but we can see the argument that it can't be particularly good for the game to have young foreign imports stockpiled in the hope that one proves themselves to be a Next Big Thing.
The prime example used by Ashton was Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, an 18-year-old Danish defender that arrived at Stamford Bridge from Brondby in 2012.
'Meet Andreas Christensen, the 18-Year-Old Chelsea defender who is on £1million a year but has never played for the first team,' Ashton begins.
'Andreas Christensen, described as a 'gazelle' by pretty much anyone who has ever watched him play, turned 18 on April 10. He earns £20,000 a week and has not made a first team appearance. Something, somewhere, is going wrong when youth team players are walking around with that kind of money.'
Later that day, however, and the father of Christensen himself had made public his feelings on Ashton's story.
"It is completely out of proportion what the Daily Mail has written about Andreas' salary," Sten Christensen was quoted as saying.
"It is tasteless and very far from reality. I naturally cannot say what Andreas earns, but it is completely ridiculous to bring that kind of sum in play when it is very far from reality."
Which is presumably why the beginning of the story on the Daily Mail website this morning reads more like this:
'Andreas Christensen, described as a 'gazelle' by pretty much anyone who has ever watched him play, turned 18 on April 10. Sportsmail sources report he earns £20,000 a week - although the club refute that - and he has yet to make a first team appearance. Whatever the exact sum of money in his pocket, he is carrying a lot of change for a youth team player a long way from the first team.'
It's the 'whatever the exact sum of money' line that makes Mediawatch laugh/cry most because, well, it really does matter when you used it as the big sell for your story, which was tweeted out as 'On £20,000 a week...and he plays for Chelsea's youth team.'
Write the piece, guess a figure, get it wrong, change the piece, say the figure doesn't matter. Textbook.
Hook, Line And Sinker
Manchester United fans (and indeed the national media) are so eager to welcome a major new signing to Old Trafford that they will do almost anything to make their dreams come true. Including, it appears, run with fake quotes.
The Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Express and Manchester Evening News this morning all ran quotes from Mario Gotze, former team-mate of Marco Reus and Borussia Dortmund, in which he claimed that Reus wished to join United. Those newspaper stories were then picked up by Sky Sports, amongst others, meaning that they made their merry way onto some of the finest football websites in the land. Ahem.
However, it appears that everyone has been caught hook, line and sinker.
The first mention of the quotes seem to be from a Manchester United fan site with little to no reason for any inside information. Their tweet from 10.12pm on April 14th reads as follows: 'Mario Gotze asked about transfer gossip "When I was at Borussia Marco [Reus] wanted a move to Man Utd, he hasn't changed" - [Munchen Lokal]'.
Given that there is no German newspaper called Munchen Lokal, that throws a rather large Schlüssel into the works.
And we thought the 'Adam Lallana to Dortmund' was a successful made-up rumour.
Man Goes Outside
Hot on the heels of their scoop on Monday that Manuel Pellegrini took money out from a cash machine, the Daily Mail website may just have taken one further step into the dark abyss. Because Wednesday is 'Man Goes Out' day.
'Rooney spotted out on the streets of Manchester hours after three United players are fined by Moyes for late-night antics,' farts the headline on a story that manages to include nine photos and two videos but few words (and even fewer of genuine interest).
'Wayne Rooney has shown his team-mates how to behave just days after three Manchester United players were fined for their antics on a night out in Manchester city centre.
'The England striker was out for a meal at Wing's Restaurant in Manchester on Tuesday night with his agent Paul Stretford, but was back in his chauffeur driven car just after 11pm.'
Yes, that's it. Rooney Showed his team-mates how to behave by going out for a meal in public. How couth.
It may or may not surprise you to learn that by the time Mediawatch found the story, it was the third most read on the Mail's football website. And we die a little more inside.
A Duff Story
Damien Duff is considering a move to either the USA or Australia to continue his football career. Mediawatch knew this much yesterday afternoon when pretty much every news outlet in the country ran with Duff's quotes that the BBC Sport website reported as being originally made to the Irish Times.
Quite why therefore the Daily Mirror felt the need to brand Duff's quotes this morning as an 'Exclusive' in its 'Football Spy' section goodness only knows. It's not exactly covert operations and dead drop stuff.
Mediawatch is a lonely soul at times, and passed the time on our walk to work with hopes of one member of the press going big on Connor Wickham this morning. Thankfully, our prayers were answered by Niall Hickman in the Daily Express.
Hickman begins with talk of Wickham's 'famous double', but it is his last paragraph that stole our hearts.
'City were strangely out of sorts for much of last night and the away side fully deserved their share of the spoils, earnt by Wickham's double strike. The first was clinical, the second absolute class. At last now it seems Poyet may have found his Mr Fix-It.'
This is a striker that before last night had played over 1,500 minutes of Premier League football for Sunderland over three seasons, scoring one goal two-and-a-half years ago. Sunderland paid £8million for his services.
Wickham's goals last night were well-taken, but let's not go painting him as the saviour just yet eh?
Sub-Editing From The Same Hymn Sheet
Tagline on Paul Wilson's piece on the Guardian website on why 'Liverpool's Premier League title bid is all about romance, not numbers': 'Having not played in the Champions League this season should not be a factor in assessing Liverpool's admirable achievements'
First words of that same piece: 'There can be no doubt, as Liverpool home in on a possible first title in 24 years, that their chances have been enhanced by non-involvement in Europe.'
Glad that's clear.
If I've Told You Once...
"If you live in London there's a million clubs you can support" - Luton manager John Still on the advantages of it being a one club town.
We've told him a million times not to exaggerate like that.
Optimistic Quote Of The Day
"I've played for England at all levels below the senior squad and that is the next step for me. Roy Hodgson watches most of the games in the Premier League. When Andros was playing well, he chose him" - Mediawatch can't help feeling that Harry Kane needs to walk at Spurs before he can run with England.
Torturous Intro Of The Day
'On this day fifty years ago the 'Great Train Robbers' received more than 300 years for their part in Britain's most infamous heist - and this was the night Sunderland were supposed to go through a long, dark tunnel on to the tracks which signalled the Championship. Sometimes it has felt as if Sunderland have not found the net for three centuries' - Niall Hickman gets side-tracked in the Daily Express.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Connor Wack'em' - Just because his name is Wickham, the club's nickname is the Mackems and he 'whacked' Manchester City with two goals, it doesn't make the Daily Mirror's back page headline work on three levels.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A pot-smoking American woman got high before driving off from a friend's house forgetting she had left her baby on the car roof. Catalina Clouser, 21, drove 12 miles home before realising the two-month-old tot was not inside the vehicle and was arrested as she re-traced her journey.
'The tiny baby was discovered by a passerby, still in a car seat and miraculously unharmed, in the middle of a highway. Clouser, from Arizona, astonishingly escaped jail and was only sentenced to 16 years probation after pleading guilty to child abuse and driving under the influence. - Daily Mirror
Thanks to today's spotters Chris Gannon and Marty Jarvy. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.