The Page That Over-Indulged

The Daily Mail continue to pick apart 'dream wrecker' Katharina Liebherr, and someone needs to fix the fax machine at Sheffield United...

Last Updated: 28/07/14 at 12:52

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Someone might want to explain how Wikipedia works to The Independent after they tweeted on Sunday: 'Has Arsenal captain Vermaelen already joined Manchester United? His Wikipedia page says so.'

Does that mean Tim Howard really is the new US Secretary of Defense?

You may remember The Daily Mail labelling Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr a 'dream wrecker' in January following Nicola Cortese's departure, so it isn't a surprise to see the paper rather enjoying the club's predicament this summer.

On Monday, Sam Cunningham provides an update on the situation at St Mary's following a raft of sales, but there is so much hyperbole to the article it's barely worth taking seriously.

Let's look at three things that riled Mediawatch the most:

1) "The most important message I gave is that we will keep the philosophy and ambition of the club," said Ronald Koeman on his discussions with Les Reed, Saints' head of football development.

Writes Cunningham: 'The problem is, those who work closely with Southampton say that the philosophy has altered. One source said: "Under Cortese it was very much like Barcelona or Real Madrid where it doesn't matter who the head coach is it's just that you do right by the club."'

Frankly, the Mail's source is talking b*llocks. Aside from the fact that it obviously does matter who the coach is at Real Madrid and Barcelona - just ask Gerardo Martino - that clearly wasn't Cortese's view of management, otherwise he wouldn't have risked the enormous upheaval in replacing Nigel Adkins with Mauricio Pochettino half way through Saints' first season back in the Premier League.

2) The article continues: 'Critics argue that Liebherr and Krueger know nothing about football and Reed is out of his depth. "Getting Katharina to stabilise the club after Cortese left is like getting a lunatic to run an asylum," said a source who has worked with a number of top-flight clubs.'

Again, what a load of absolute guff on which to base 'THE STORY BEHIND SOUTHAMPTON'S ASTONISHING SUMMER SELL-OFF'. This is the problem with unnamed sources, they can say whatever the hell they like without fear of reproach.

Mediawatch probably doesn't need to point it out, but it's quite clear that Katharina Liebherr is a competent businesswoman - just look at the high prices Southampton have demanded for their players. But don't let that stop the Mail printing defamatory statements from an unnamed coward.

3) And finally, Cunningham concludes: 'Promises have already been broken and some are tipping Southampton for relegation. Indeed, the club's future could well be decided by the time the transfer window shuts at the end of next month.'

Erm, no it won't. It'll be decided after 38 games like every other club, and they'll probably be perfectly fine. But thanks for coming.

It looks like someone might need to fix the fax machine at Bramall Lane, judging by these contrasting club statements on Monday...

Said a statement on the Sheffield United website, published at 9.30am: 'Sheffield United have reluctantly accepted Hull City's latest bid for Harry Maguire. The Premiership (sic) club have finally met United's valuation for the defender, who has now been granted permission to speak to the East Yorkshire club.

'United's Managing Director, Mal Brannigan, commented: "We made it clear that we wanted Harry to stay by offering him a new contract at the end of last season, unfortunately he and his representatives chose a different path.

'"However, as he is under contract at Bramall Lane, we exercised our right to set our own valuation of him and after numerous bids which did not meet our expectations, Hull City increased their offer and we have reluctantly accepted.

'"As we have previously stated, Sheffield United are not under pressure to sell our players but on this occasion it was deemed the best for all parties and now we move on with the aim of assisting Nigel Clough to strengthen his squad."'

Said a statement on the Hull City Website, published at 10.57am:

'Sheffield United rejected an offer from the Club five days (Wednesday) ago for defender Harry Maguire. This was the Club's final offer and we have since entered into discussions with other transfer targets.

'In light of Sheffield United's statement this morning the board will meet with manager Steve Bruce this afternoon to determine whether we now wish to pursue the transfer after the South Yorkshire club's apparent U-turn.'

You can't make Brendan Rodgers talk about Luis Suarez if he doesn't want to talk about Luis Suarez.

"Luis Suarez isn't a Liverpool player, so I don't need to talk about or reference Luis Suarez," said Rodgers, before going on to say...

"I'll just worry about the players I have, who showed last season and the season before, when we don't have Luis Suarez, we can score goals."

The concept of failure is obviously a subjective discussion but, taking that into account, Mediawatch was still puzzled by Ian Ladyman's take on Juan Mata in the Daily Mail.

'New seasons bring - among other things - opportunities to replenish or repair reputations. Juan Mata perhaps fits into the latter category,' writes Ladyman.

'The star signing of David Moyes' torrid eight months at Manchester United, the Spanish playmaker failed to such an extent last season that the first thing Ryan Giggs did when handed brief control of the team last April was drop him.'

That's right, ignore his excellent record of six goals and four assists in just 15 appearances. Ignore that he arrived at a troubled time and was played out of position on the wing. And ignore his promising link up with Shinji Kagawa, which hinted that the Japanese playmaker might finally fulfil his potential at United. If Giggs dropped him he must have been s**te.

New Low
'Wilfried Zaha's tour of America reached a new low when he was put through a double warm down session after the Roma game,' Ladyman continues in the Daily Mail.

'Zaha is the only member of United's 26-man touring party not to play a single minute of the club's two games so far.

'The young winger was told to do an aerobic session and then a gym workout with Darren Fletcher and goalkeepers David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard.'

Boy, it really sounds like he's being singled out for harsh treatment, having to do a double session with three other unused subs from Saturday's game.

It's probably also worth noting that Louis van Gaal said of Zaha: "He has worked well in training. There are no problems."

Strike Three
Mediawatch doesn't mean to pick on Ian Ladyman, but we can't resist the material he's offering on an otherwise dry day.

Tweeted Ladyman over the weekend: 'Twitters (sic) obsession with #mufc and Vidal continues. Definite message of 'no interest' from the club, tho.'

Yep, it's fans on Twitter who have a problem, Ian. The Daily Mail (that big newspaper you write for), aren't obsessed with Vidal at all.

We must have read these headlines somewhere else this summer:

'Manchester United ready to make play for Arturo Vidal as Juventus and Chile star's camp shows encouraging signs'

'Arturo Vidal leaves door open to Manchester United move by saying he will decide his future when he returns from holiday'

'Arturo Vidal will NOT be allowed to join Manchester United this summer, says Juventus chief executive'

We could go on, but sifting through 95,000 results for the Google search 'Arturo Vidal' would probably leave us in tears.

Transfer Guff
The evolution of a transfer rumour in three simple steps:

1) Take some innocuous quotes from Rudi Garcia in which the Roma boss emphasises how much the club want to keep Kevin Strootman: "Maybe only after a three-digit offer will we then sit down and think about it."

2) Interpret these quotes in such a bizarrely twisted manner that it's seen as though Garcia is saying Strootman is available. Take this from The Sun, for example: 'Manchester United must cough up £79million to land top target Kevin Strootman.'

3) Think of a crap headline and slap it on the back page: 'STROOTH! LVG told to pay £79m for Kev'.

And there you have it, another piece of transfer bulls**t.

Captain Marvel
You'll know by now that Mediawatch is a dispirited and grumpy sort, so forgive us for picking on poor Tom Cleverley as he realised a boyhood dream.

"It was fantastic, a really proud moment," said Cleverley. "I've been here since I was 11. Now, whatever I go on to do, I can always say I captained Manchester United. At 24, that's not bad."

It certainly isn't, but Cleverley might want to worry more about Louis van Gaal's post-match reaction: "I think we didn't play a good match because of the height of the stadium, the air, because all my good passers failed...Some of our passes failed, the ball was bobbling all the time and we didn't create so much, but we scored three fantastic goals."

Considering passing and creating are just about the only two things Cleverley accepted responsibility for in his interview with the Daily Mirror last season, Mediawatch would suggest it wasn't a performance from which a great deal of pride should be taken.

Captain Marvel #2
Wrote Jonathan Northcroft in The Sunday Times: 'Wayne Rooney downloaded and devoured all 26 episodes of the World at War series.'

Hand him the armband and send him into battle.

Is there anything more pointless than a match rating for a pre-season friendly? The Independent award Manchester United's 3-2 victory over Roma '6/10', which is about as useful as an ejector seat in a helicopter.

Headline Of The Day
'Mind Over Mata' - The Sun. No mentions of boffins, sadly.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Owls deal Az hit trouble' - The Sun.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A woman spent 10 years walking around with a five-inch sex toy inside her without realising.

'The 38-year-old arrived at hospital complaining of severe weight loss, shaking and lethargy. She had also experienced mild incontinence for "a few weeks".

'Doctors were shocked to discover a strange foreign body protruding into her bladder from inside her.

'Surgeons at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary who operated on the woman discovered the item was a five inch sex toy.

'The woman revealed she had used the sex toy with her partner ten years ago. She said she had been drunk at the time and couldn't remember if she removed it or not. The sex toy had caused her potentially life-threatening internal damage.

'After removing the sex toy, doctors managed to repair the damage and the woman was later discharged' - the Daily Record.

Thanks to Max Thieme, Ken Reilly and David Russell . If you spot something that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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