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UEFA should stop hounding Manchester City because they play brilliant football, while the FA should pay Ross Barkley's wages...

Last Updated: 07/05/14 at 12:35

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The Best Of Football
Mediawatch was under the impression that Manchester City flouting FFP regulations was A Bad Thing, but Oliver Holt adopts an interesting interpretation in the Daily Mirror. Under the headline 'Ignored by the nation and hounded by UEFA...Pelle's heroes deserve much, much better', Holt essentially complains that UEFA should give City a break because they play wonderful football.

'Even now Liverpool and Chelsea have faded from the picture, still the headlines are not about City's excellence,' writes Holt, forgetting that 'faded' Liverpool are top of the Premier League and so obviously still a huge story - one he has covered in far more depth than the City side he now eulogises.

'Instead, it's about the estimated £49million fine UEFA are set to attempt to impose on them for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

'Something is wrong with FFP if it punishes a regime that is pouring millions into the regeneration of a deprived area of East Manchester.

'Nobody is suggesting Sheikh Mansour and his cohorts are driven by altruism but whatever their motives, it is hard not to admire much of what is happening at City.'

Talk about conflating the numerous issues involved. Firstly, the current headlines relating to City are obviously going to focus on their £49m fine because, well, that's a pretty big deal. And that £49m fine has nothing to do with the club's 'regeneration of a deprived area of East Manchester' - City could easily invest in the area and avoid UEFA punishment.

It's about spunking millions on new players and their enormous wages, profiting from artificially inflated sponsorship deals, and what that means for the nature of competition.

'That is the problem with FFP,' Holt continues. 'It enshrines the principle that might is right, big equals good. It seeks the perpetuate the hegemony of the clubs with the most supporters and the most revenue. There is no fantasy about it.'

Seemingly there is a fantasy about City's rags-to-riches story, however, which Holt claims 'represents the dream of every downtrodden club, every poor relation, that one day it can be propelled to the top'.

Except, of course, it doesn't. Holt might argue that UEFA 'distrust the rise of smaller clubs', but City were hardly minnows before Thaksin Shinawatra and then Sheikh Mansour decided to invest. There is nothing about City's story to inspire downtrodden provincial clubs such as Burnley or Scunthorpe, and anyway, if dreaming of winning the lottery is your only hope of sticking it to the big boys, that's hardly the glorious fairytale Holt is trying to paint.

Yes, City play some fantastic football, and Mediawatch has hugely enjoyed watching them this season. But if they win the league it will not be a 'triumph for a team that represents the best of football'. It will be a triumph for football's equivalent of a get-rich-quick scheme.


'Dig'
Headline in The Sun: 'De Boer's Spurs Dig'

Intro: 'Frank de Boer has rubbished Tottenham's insistence that they did not approach him.'

Quotes from De Boer: "They talked informally with Ajax about my contract. I think they are quite happy with their manager, but it is normal that they get information about a possible successor."

Ohhhh, ouch. That one's going to sting.


Speaking For Us
You would think that someone who lauded David Moyes' appointment at Manchester United might want to stay quiet when it comes to the discussion of replacing the Scot, but Martin Samuel has plenty to say on the issue in the Daily Mail.

It isn't Samuel's support for Louis van Gaal that particularly interests Mediawatch, but rather his criticism of Manuel Pellegrini, which has been a recurring theme throughout the season.

'The general attitude towards him remains curious,' writes Samuel of his attitude towards Pellegrini and that of his colleagues in the press box.

'If Van Gaal's arrogance makes enemies, Pellegrini's placid manner hasn't exactly won friends.'

Essentially, Samuel isn't impressed that Pellegrini hasn't thrown more bones to the press pack. You can't just be a successful manager to make friends in England, you also have to be an all-round entertainer, as Samuel explains:

'We expect more from our elite coaches - rows, discord, memorable taunts and retorts. We expect little horses and special ones and parked buses, voyeurs, everyone has the prettiest wife at home and youse are all idiots; the whole call and response of the Premier League season.'

Perhaps you expect that, Martin, but there are plenty of us who find all the mind-games and outbursts incredibly tedious. It's actually quite refreshing that Pellegrini doesn't seem to be a bit of a d**k.


Like 10,000 Spoons
Writes Shaun Custis in The Sun on James Wilson's Manchester United debut: 'And how ironic that Giggs used to go by the name Wilson when he first joined United as a kid.'


Barkley's Premier League
When examining an Adrian Durham column, Mediawatch usually rolls its eyes and sighs at the click-baiting. Today is slightly different, however, because it simply seems that Durham just doesn't understand the workings of football, which might explain a lot.

His column for the MailOnline concerns Ross Barkley becoming the best he can be - which we can all agree would be a good thing - but Durham's reasoning sees him drop the deliberately angry act and enter the realm of the bizarrely ignorant.

'If the Football Association and Everton Football Club get their heads together, they could ensure Ross Barkley becomes the best player in the world,' he writes.

We disagree, particularly with the use of a verb as strong as 'ensure', but carry on.

'This is where the FA can do themselves a favour: step in, offer to supplement Barkley's salary to keep him at Everton, and work with his club to ensure the player can become the best he can possibly be.

'Everton would then feel obliged to work with the FA and the England manager when it comes to resting the player.'

So because England have never before turned a promising talent into the 'best player in the world' (and Durham uses the example of not playing Steve McManaman in central midfield as one example of this), we should change the entire principles of player ownership, the transfer market and remuneration? Poppycock.

Three things, Adrian:

1) That's not how football works, in England or any other country for that matter.
2) Surely rival clubs might have one or two complaints about Everton's special treatment?
3) Does the player himself not get a say in any of this?


Greatest League In The World
Although we enjoyed Crystal Palace's thrilling draw with Liverpool on Monday, Mediawatch is somewhat disgruntled by those who reacted to the result by banging the 'greatest league in the world' drum once again.

Writes Matthew Syed in The Times: 'Let's acknowledge the Crystal Palace versus Liverpool clash on Monday night for what it was: one of the great matches in the history of the Premier League.

'It had everything: attacking football, wonderful flourishes and a crazy comeback. Most of all, however, it had integrity. Integrity like a banner headline above the extraordinary action.

'Palace had "nothing" to play for. They could have fielded a weakened side. They could have taken it easy. They could have had an eye on the summer holidays.

'Instead they gave it everything...breaking Liverpool hearts and reminding everyone else why this is the greatest league in the world.'

Yes, Mediawatch can't think of another league in which a team that has nothing to play for can upset a title contender. Certainly not La Liga, anyway, where mid-table Levante beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the weekend.


Quote Of The Day
"This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club. When (Shahid Khan) asked me to move it I said 'You must be crazy'. But now he has paid the price because the club has been relegated." - Mohamed Al Fayed blames Fulham's relegation on the loss of the Michael Jackson statue.


Headline Of The Day
'Kevin Grosskreutz faces complaint for bodily harm over 'spicy kebab' incident' - the Guardian.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Now You've Etihad It' - The Sun.


Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A US man has launched a court challenge for the right to marry his "porn-filled" laptop.

'Chris Sevier filed a 50-page motion to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeal because he was denied the right to marry his MacBook "machine spouse" by Utah officials.

'He argues the love he has for the "porn-filled" Apple device is no different to that shared between gay partners.

'The move is an intervention in a separate lawsuit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban.

'In his motion, Mr Sevier wrote: "They discriminated against me when they rejected my request to marry my computer.

'"I approached the Utah clerk to have a marriage licence issued for me and my machine-spouse.

'"The clerk denied my request for a marriage licence ... my object of affection was outside the scope of the narrow definition."

'He added: "If anything, my marriage to a machine possesses less of a risk, since a possible acrimonious divorce proceeding could be avoided, if the marriage fails."' - orange.co.uk

Thanks to Mediawatch spotter Gary Nolan. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at theeditor@football365.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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