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There are a lot of hacks going all gooey over Louis van Gaal, while Luis Suarez has gone from irreplaceable to irrelevant and Robbie Savage is serious now....

Last Updated: 30/07/14 at 12:11

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The Guardian's Jamie Jackson is a little bit in love. And when you're in love, a pre-season victory on penalties can take on all sorts of significance. Swoon.

'Van Gaal's golden touch was again evident here,' writes Jackson, crediting the Manchester United manager for his 'meticulous preparation' in practising penalties before a friendly match that was always scheduled to end in penalties if the scores were level.

And Jackson's awe at Van Gaal's 'meticulous preparation' does not end there...

'(Luke) Shaw, who according to the host broadcaster had been at FedExField earlier on Monday for extra training with fitness coach Tony Strudwick, immediately offered a threat, racing down the left - as he had been asked to do alone in training by his manager - to whip in a ball that won a corner.'

Or there...

'One of the changes was Wilfried Zaha, whose first action of the tour was to show his pace by racing at goal but in refusing to use his left foot - despite Van Gaal employing training exercises for players to practise with both - he allowed Nemanja Vidic to clear.'

To Mediawatch it sounds like Louis van Gaal has been using standard coaching techniques in practising penalties, asking a left wing-back to run down the left and expecting players to use both of their two actual feet. To Jamie Jackson, it's pure and beautiful sorcery.

Just imagine if he'd seen him put down cones; there'd be a puddle.

Don't Mess With My Choo-Choo
To be fair, Jackson is not the only Manchester-based journalist a little entranced by Van Gaal, with the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman in awe of his 'sheer self-belief' and declaring it 'one-nil to him, perhaps' after he spoke to the media.

'He was skilful enough to duck questions about Chelsea and saw the Manchester City one coming like a train hurtling down a mile of straight track,' writes Ladyman, who is ready to duel with Jackson at dawn.

Well, thanks to a full transcript of the interview published in The Guardian, we know that 'the Manchester City one' was a sodding massive train with a deafening whistle that Helen Keller could have spotted from three miles away...

* 'What do you think of the challenge of having such a big club such as Manchester City in the same city, a team that has also won the title?'

* 'What do you think of what Manchester City have done over the last three years?'

Then, desperately...

* 'City fans would argue that they have knocked at the door, opened it, and closed it and now you have to knock at the door again and try to get back through it...'

And we're supposed to bow in awe at Van Gaal's 'skill' in avoiding that subtle locomotive?

Two Tone
One man's 'skilful' sidestepping of a massive train is another man's petulant taunt, especially when that other man works for the Daily Star.

Here's how Jeremy Cross reported Van Gaal's considered response ("It doesn't bother me whether they are 10 metres or 30km away"): 'LOUIS VAN GAAL has stuck two fingers up at Manchester City, insisting he couldn't care less about the threat of the Premier League champs.'

Yes Jeremy, that's exactly what he did.

Toure Of Babble
Mediawatch has an awful lot of sympathy for Yaya Toure after the death of his brother Ibrahim, but that sympathy has not brought about complete memory loss. We remember, Yaya, we remember.

So when you say in July that "for me I was always quiet and my decision, if you want to say it like that, is that I will stay at Manchester City for as long as possible", we remember that you really weren't quiet at all back in May when your agent Dimitri Seluk said you were "upset" about a lack of birthday respect from Manchester City.

We remember this: 'My agent was trying to make a point here on my behalf, joke aside.It seems important for me to make a statement..i am going to do so.'

And we remember this: 'Everything dimitry said is true . He speaks for me . I will give an interview after world cup to explain.'

You know that the 'delete' button on Twitter is not actually permanent, right?

Tiger Feet
Brendan Rodgers does not want to talk about Luis Suarez. We know this because Brendan Rodgers has said: "I see it in the players that scored 70-odd goals last season. It's very simple. Luis Suarez isn't a Liverpool player so I don't need to talk about or reference Luis Suarez.

"I'll just worry about the players I have, who showed in enough games last season and the season before, when we didn't have Luis, that we can score goals. That won't be an issue."

Nothing to see here, says Brendan.

Which sounds rather different to the tune he was smugly singing in December 2013 when asked about Tottenham's poor start to the season: "Obviously there have been difficulties from Bale leaving.

"It shows you that when you have someone with that X-factor, sometimes eight, nine or 10 players can't replace that. That was why we fought like tigers to keep Luis Suarez here because he is a top player. He is a performer.

"There are many good players but very few who perform week in, week out to that level."

So, to recap: When you have Luis Suarez, he's irreplaceable. When you don't, la-la-la-la-la-la, Luis who?

Why haven't we taken Robbie Savage seriously as a pundit? Is it his laughable propensity to change opinion as often as he changes his pants? Is it his commitment to #bantz? Is it his utter lack of tactical knowledge?

No. It was his hair. All he had to do was lose the hair.

"If I'm going to be a serious pundit on Match of the Day and working for BT Sport this season, it's probably the right time to present a serious image," says the newly shorn Savage.

And abracadabra, shazam and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, everything he says now makes perfect sense.

Stars In Their Eyes
Headline from the Lancashire Telegraph: 'Star trio on trial at Ewood Park.'

The stars in question? Carlos Cuellar, Jamie Ashdown and Jordan Spence. Now that's quite the stellar triumvirate.

And here's boss Gary Bowyer on one of those 'stars': "Carlos is another one who trained with us on Monday. He asked if he could come and train with us and that's what he's done."

Real 'stars' don't even wait for an answer.

Quote Of The Day
"Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it's on the stairs, on the floor or whatever. For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment" - Steven Gerrard. We demand a montage.

Headline Of The Day
'Futre's in the stiffs' - The Sun on the former West Ham man's new career in Viagra advertising.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'Fit? I'm not too Shaw' - The Sun. It's going to be a long season.

Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'Commonwealth Game opening ceremony Tunnock's teacake dancer could lose job after bosses saw her on TV 'while she was off sick'' - The Independent.

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Josh Graham and Ed Furse. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

Trial And Error Rather Than Transition


unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

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A Season Of Continuous False Dawns


his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

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