The Page That Had To Make Do With Porridge

Martin Samuel gets involved in a dangerous rap battle, England players should just chill out and Andy Cole conducts the greatest interview of all time. Maybe...

Last Updated: 11/06/14 at 12:17

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In their tournament preview on Saturday, the Guardian light-heartedly asked various music artists to rate the national anthems of World Cup. No biggie, you'd think.

However, Martin Samuel uses a good portion of his Daily Mail column to attack such an idea, and in retort has done some critical appraisals of his own. We can't hold this in any longer - Samuel has critiqued the lyrics of Example. Actually.

We didn't want you miss any of this, so it is reproduced above in (almost) full.

It's the s**ttest rap battle we've ever envisaged.

Let It Be
There is another bizarre rant from Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail concerning the Football Association's demand for privacy for England's players.

It all centres around Gary Neville asking a persistent local photographer to leave the team alone during their walk down Sao Conrado beach after he had been taking pictures of the team for a prolonged period.

Even Samuel accepts that the action was reasonable ('As this chap had been snapping away for close to an hour his irritation is perhaps understandable'), and yet the piece completely loses all sense of that in true Daily Mail style.

'What next - FA potty training the players?' screams the headline. Erm, no Martin, we're not sure how that would help with player privacy.

'When on official engagements, the Queen's schedule includes specific times to visit the toilet. The England football team may soon be under similar orders.' No. No they won't.

'The Football Association needs to learn that not every incident needs managing. Last week a press conference was interrupted because a reporter asked Frank Lampard his best position and a flip-chart found in England's dressing room after the game with Honduras contained an instruction to players not to discuss the Falklands War.

'If a player wants to take on the Falklands issue, it would be healthier if the FA saw this as evidence of an adult mind, and trusted him not to cause an international incident.

Mediawatch is rocking back and forth, firstly at the thought of Wayne Rooney offering his political opinion on the Falklands War and at Samuel's suggestion that the media wouldn't hound a player that gave anything other than the party line. 'Roo What? Wayne Attacks Argie Bargy War' would be the predictable headline, and Mediawatch can't believe Samuel doesn't know that.

'As for strolls on the beach, they should be taken ad hoc and unaccompanied. Half of England wouldn't recognise the less senior members of Roy Hodgson's squad, let alone half of Brazil.'

You're right Martin, let's take it easy. Can't see any issue with fans being allowed near the players. Isn't as if your own paper today runs a story about three England fans who 'drank beer just feet away from Steven Gerrard' along with three photos of the men.

Poster Boy
One of the dangers of pre-tournament writing from journalists in the host country is that there is little room for variety, and one glance at Wednesday's papers proves such a fact.

On Tuesday, Roy Hodgson spoke to the press at England's training base. Just Roy speaking in front of a mural of himself wearing a suit. That and a room full of journalists needing an angle. Enter the mural. There's the angle.

'On the wall at England's HQ in Rio, a nine-feet high black-and-white photograh of Roy Hodgson looking dapper in his official FA suit and tie looms down. If he his way, it would be removed, he joked. But it is the sponsor's wish, so it stays.' John Dillon begins in the Daily Express.

'Roy Hodgson looked up at the giant, black-and-white image and scowled. It was of an older man, smart, distinguished, quite a dramatic portrait in its way. His suit is sharp, his white shirt crisp, his classic striped tie perfectly fixed.The lines on his face, his wedding ring, suggest experience and wisdom. His demeanour suggests business-like confidence, yet without noticeable aggression. 'I hate that,' said Hodgson, glaring at his photograph.' Martin Samuel begins in the Daily Mail.

'Roy Hodgson blinked under the spotlight, reluctantly sent centre-stage, writes Martin Lipton in Rio de Janeiro. Pride courses through England manager Hodgson's veins, although he did not crave the attention at the Three Lions' Urca training base here in Rio, least of all the larger than life-size images looming behind him.' Martin Lipton begins in the Daily Mirror.

'To his discomfort, If mild amusement, there was a nine-foot mural of Roy Hodgson in the room where he was required to hold court. It is the type of thing you could imagine certain managers commissioning, but not Hodgson.' Oliver Kay begins in the Times.

It's like Catchphrase - say what you see.

Every Cole's A Goal
With everyone looking for the inside track on the World Cup, we were interested to read an 'Exclusive' from statistics site Squawka in which they interviewed Andy Cole on his pre-World Cup predictions and expectations.

We weren't holding out much hope for insight but, in fact, it's utter gold. If by 'gold' you mean the perfect exercise in fence-sitting.

Here is the interview in full:


Dark Horse?
"I haven't got one to be honest."

Golden Boot (top scorer)?
"If Argentina do well then it's got to be (Lionel) Messi."

Golden Ball (best player)?
"I don't know, there could be a surprise here, someone could come out of nowhere and play well, so that's a tough one."

Young player of the tournament?
"That's another tough one, there are so many young players at the World Cup that it could be someone that nobody knows that well yet."

Mediawatch would say that it's the funniest interview we've ever read but, well, y'know, it's a tough one. An interview could come out of nowhere and read well.

All Out Attack
Mediawatch rubbed its hands with glee when we heard that David James was picking his England team to face Italy on Saturday. This is the same 'Jamo' that has been raising eyebrows on BT Sport with some slightly bizarre observations and famously predicted Everton to finish 16th last season.

Sure enough it's a belter, with perhaps the most ballsy England team we have ever seen.

Who picks a front three of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert? David James does.

Who then picks Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana as attacking central midfielders? David James does.

Who leaves Steven Gerrard as the only midfielder offering any cover? David James does.

And who still then has Luke Shaw and Glen Johnson as attacking full-backs? David James does.

No Raheem Sterling in central defence? Mediawatch is disappointed.

Oooh Ahhh
Fine (and rather typical) work from the Daily Star, who give us mere mortals a peek behind the curtain of their transfer rumour engine room like a proud NBA star on MTV Cribs.

June 8th: 'Manchester United target Thomas Muller open to a move away from Bayern Munich' read the headline. 'Thomas Muller has made it clear that he is willing to leave Bayern Munich this summer' claimed the byline.

'Reports in Germany claim van Gaal is keen to bring his former player to Old Trafford and that he is willing to offer the German giants to £25 secure his services' read the nonsensical and error-strewn paragraph that made Mediawatch question the English language entirely.

Three days later, and Mediawatch gave a wry smile on its walk to work when it read the words 'Muller signs new Bayern deal.'

Weirdly enough, Muller's new contract story doesn't make the Daily Star website, but they do have a 'Manchester United to pay £56m for Cavani' 'scoop'.

This is where the magic happens.

Randy Learner
Joe Cole on his Aston Villa move:

"I'll be coming here and I'll be learning too. Obviously I'll bring my experience to the squad but you still learn every day and I want to learn.

"I know I'll learn from the manager, I'll learn from other players here and going forward together we want to get the best results for the club."

Let's hope an old dog can indeed 'learn' new tricks.

Our Lads
You may have heard that The Sun are planning to mark the start of the World Cup on Thursday by delivering 22 million free copies of the paper. Many postal workers have threatened to strike rather than deliver it, and the exercise will not be carried out on Merseyside for obvious reasons.

The paper will ensure profits are maintained by a 1000% rise in advertising space for the promotional copy ,and so Mediawatch therefore couldn't help but get angry at the paper's front page claim today.

'It's a celebration of Englishness and English football to mark the beginning of the World Cup. The 24-page paper is guaranteed to have your heart pumping as Our Lads get ready to kick off.'

Oh do f**k off with such nationalistic b**locks. It's a PR and advertising campaign, and nothing more.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'He's Dan For' - We don't like The Sun making us all sound like cockneys.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A group's decision to have a threesome in a car has ended in an unfortunate anti-climax after the car rolled down a hill and crashed into a tree.

'The sexually adventurous trio met on a night out in Wenzhou, China when they decided to get busy in the back of a parked car.

'Once inside the car, the man began to push all the wrong buttons - accidentally kicking the handbrake off and sending the car rolling.

'The vehicle ended up crashing into a tree, leaving the two women seriously injured. Both ended up having to be cut free from the wreckage.

'The man, however, managed to walk away from the vehicle without a scratch' - Metro

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Triston Garnons-Williams, Ross Preston and everyone who sent in the Andy Cole interview. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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Readers' Comments


oved the article. i remember at school, after failing an exam, I would become obscenely secretly happy if I discover that others failed as well. Misery loves company...Now here is to hoping Chelsea joins the party and Stoke city wins the league...Cheers!

The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes


haos reached its ultimate reckoning last weekend with Tony Hibbert looking assured at left back and Osman looking like a cultured ball playing midfielder before busting a gut to get to the back post for a Samuel Eto'o ball. Different chaos but chaos. If Kone scores the winner tonight I fear the world will end.

The Premier League: As Crazy As A Bag Of Snakes


beautiful demonstration of why stats mean diddly-squat in football.

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