The Page That Is Counting The Days

Which journo has claimed an exclusive on the Lambert story despite citing The Guardian elsewhere? And Robbie Savage thinks that Tim Sherwood is more magic than Harry Potter...

Last Updated: 30/05/14 at 12:40

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Cross-Eyed Gambler
Mediawatch scoured the Daily Mirror's back-page story about Rickie Lambert joining Liverpool for anything that would possibly justify their 'exclusive' tag and came up with absolutely nothing.

Confusion then turned to chuckles as we clocked the byline - John Cross - and then checked his Bleacher Report column from Thursday night, which begins: 'Rarely does a transfer come along which is so unexpected and yet seems such an obvious fit. Scouser Rickie Lambert, a lifelong Liverpool fan, looks to be on his way from Southampton to Anfield in a surprise deal.

'As per the Guardian, the two clubs are discussing a move for the 32-year-old England striker which seems likely to take him from the South Coast back to his native Merseyside.'

So he admits to being surprised, cites The Guardian as a source and files an 'exclusive' to the Daily Mirror? Mediawatch is applauding here.

Mediawatch Re-Wind
Brendan Rodgers' move for Lambert has seen these quotes re-emerge from last year: "I sent him a message, a fax, when he made his England debut as I know he is a big Red. I sent it on behalf of the club and all Kopites. He is a Kirkby boy and I was just wishing him well, saying we were all proud of him playing for England."

That's Brendan Rodgers, born in the sleepy fishing port of Carnlough in Northern Ireland, spokesperson for all Kopites, and keen user of the fax machine.

Our Day
Of all the phrases that annoy Mediawatch, 'and all that jazz' is top of a very long list. But seventh on that very long list is the phrase 'on his day'. As in 'on his day, Roger Federer is unbeatable'. It's utterly sodding meaningless. On its day, Mediawatch is sexually proficient; that tells you nothing about how often those days come along.

So when Ian Rush is quoted in the Daily Express about Luis Suarez - "I don't think on his day anyone can stop him. England's best hope is that in their game he doesn't perform to the potential he is capable of" - part of Mediawatch wants to cite all the clubs who did somehow stop him last season (clue: it's all the good ones), part of Mediawatch wants to ask Rush what happens if Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill are 'on their day' at the same time and the rest of Mediawatch just wants to f***ing scream.

Tim Sherwood > Harry Potter
Robbie Savage in the Daily Mirror: 'As far as I'm concerned, Tottenham could have appointed Harry Potter as their next manager - they still won't finish in the top four next season.'

Ten paragraphs later...

'I didn't think Spurs were a million miles away from challenging for a top four place under Tim Sherwood.'

Do gilets come with a cape?

Quality Control
Master of being wise after the event, Robbie Savage also uses his column to deride the transfers made by Tottenham last year, 'writing': 'Andre Villas-Boas spent £110 million on seven players last summer - and in terms of league position Spurs went backwards.

'When they sold Gareth Bale, reinvested all of his world record transfer fee and threw another £20m at the market for good measure, we were told they had sold Elvis but signed the Beatles as his replacement. Sorry, but what they got for their £110m was more like the Beatles' warm-up act.'

Which is odd because Savage's predictions for last season featured Tottenham in fourth place (despite having neither a wizard or a wally in charge) with this explanation: 'With or without Bale, Spurs have not let the grass grow under their feet, spending close to £60m on Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue. AVB has done some quality shopping and there could be a changing of the guard in north London.'

And a changing of the mind in north Wales.

Savage Predicts
'If Frank Lampard and James Milner start tonight, I would not be surprised to see them in the side to face Italy in the World Cup opener on June 14.'

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why he gets paid the big bucks.

Take A Chance On Me
Paul Scholes - who is suddenly not so shy after all - talks some degree of sense in his Paddy Power blog about basing the England team around Liverpool players, but his question mark over Glen Johnson is plain bizarre.

He said: "The question mark is Johnson at right-back. It's probably Phil Jones' best position right now. Johnson had just two assists for Liverpool last season. so did not provide a genuine attacking threat, whatever the perception."

The key word in that sentence, Paul, is 'threat'. What you have failed to take into account is the propensity of profligate Liverpool midfielders Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen (162 shots in total, ten goals) to fire wildly wide.

What Johnson did for Liverpool last season was create a credible one chance per game - the same as Andros Townsend, Fernando Torres, Charlie Adam, Romelu Lukaku, Olivier Giroud, Alvaro Negredo, Daniel Sturridge and Pablo Zabaleta amongst many more. And rather a lot more than Phil Jones's 0.6.

What A Difference A Year Makes
From The Sun in June 2013: 'STEVEN HOWARD says English football can have rarely been at such a low ebb after a horrorshow 12 months.'

From Steven Howard in The Sun in May 2014: 'THERE will be 85,000 at Wembley tonight to wave England off to Brazil. It is a mind-boggling atendance and proves that though expectations, thankfully, have been reined in, the country is still 100 per cent behind Roy Hodgson's young side.'

To Be Frank
'FRANK LAMPARD is starting to contemplate the unthinkable after 13 glorious years at Stamford Bridge,' writes Geoff Sweet in The Sun.

What FRANK LAMPARD (35) said: "You know your shelf-life, so I started to mentally prepare when I hit 30."

Quote Of The Day
"It hurts when you're always doing your best for your club and then you hear that you might be going to Tottenham" - Angel Di Maria.

Worst Headline Of The Day
It's right there at the top of the page.

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

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Readers' Comments


lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'


e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on


urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

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