Interesting piece on The Daily Mail website on Wednesday afternoon, presumably published in the knowledge that nothing could quite eclipse the weirdness of Martin Samuel's treatise on Joey Barton and homosexuality.
Under the headline 'Look out, you may now have to finish in the top three to make the Champions League after Man City's humiliating failure', Matt Barlow writes:
'The downward trend for Barclays Premier League clubs in the Champions League could yet produce more damage than a quick flash of embarrassment.'
Barlow goes on to argue that City's exit could harm England's UEFA co-efficient, knocking them out of the top three countries that each receive four Champions League spots.
This, predictably enough, is what those in the trade call 'hysterical bullsh*t'. While England's co-efficient has been damaged by City's shambling, it isn't being harmed nearly enough for Barlow's prophecies of doom.
With thanks to the magnificent website of Mr Bert Kassies, at the start of this season England were second in the co-efficient table with a rating of 84.186, while fourth-placed Italy had 59.981. Now, even after the departures of Chelsea and City, England are still in second with 77.106, while Italy remain on exactly the same score - 59.981. So England have dropped, sure, but the country with the best chance of overhauling them haven't progressed.
The good news is that even Barlow seems to recognise his premise is tish and fipsy, writing:
'UEFA president Michel Platini is looking at changing the format beyond 2015-16 but, as it stands, Europe's top three ranked leagues are awarded four Champions League places. The fourth, Italy at the moment, have three.
'There is a sizeable gap between the top three and the chasing pack and one reassuring factor is that no emerging country has putting together a consistent challenge.'
Look out...good work all round.
Incidentally, while we mention the Samuel/Barton piece, Joey himself seemed to slightly get the wrong end of the stick, and thought Martin was actually calling him gay.
'My sexuality is of no concern to anyone except me and my family,' he tweeted. 'Can't see the missus being happy about this piece.'
And completely coincidentally, Joey this morning Tweeted a picture of his infant son. Take that Samuel - Joey had full sex with a lady and he's so not gay that a child happened.
That's cleared that one up then.
Ooooooh, The Sun do like to try and stir up a bit of trouble, don't they.
'OFFICIAL: ARSENAL DON'T NEED TO WIN ANY MATCHES' barks their back-page headline, reporting words from the club's chief commercial officer Tom Fox. A man with a much cooler name than his job suggests.
Anyway, Shaun Custis writes: 'It's official - nobody at Arsenal is that bothered about the team actually winning games.
'The Gunners' chief commercial officier Tom Fox declared the "brand" was more important.'
You're probably way ahead of us here, but that's not quite what Mr Fox said.
He said: "Arsenal Football Club is not only about winning. We have a large and engaged fan-base around the world who want to feel as if they belong to the club, and want to feel proud to belong to the club. That's my primary business...our brand is defined by more than winning."
So, he didn't actually say the brand was more important at all. Just that there are other factors relevant to his job as commercial officer. Oh.
He went on to say: "Obviously nothing instils pride in our fan-base more than winning."
Curious piece in the 'news' pages of The Sun about West Ham gaining 'preferred bidder' status for the Olympic Stadium.
Now, if you were The Sun and had to choose a picture of a West Ham figure to illustrate your story, which would you use? Club captain Kevin Nolan? England striker Andy Carroll? Manager Sam Allardyce? Sun columnist and chief executive Karren Brady? Perhaps even a figure from their famous past, like Bobby Moore or Martin Peters or Hugo Porfirio?
The Sun eschew all of these and use Joey O'Brien. It goes with the following passage:
'West Ham, famous for showcasing young players such as Joey O'Brien, above...'
This would be the 26-year-old Irishman O'Brien, signed as a 25-year-old free agent in 2011 after spending seven years with Bolton.
Brady does make an appearance in the sports pages of The Sun, writing a piece saying how grand it is that the Hammers will possibly be moving to Stratford.
And as if to head off the likes of Barry Hearn, who believe that a club moving away from their home and encroaching on the patch of another is A Bad Thing, Brady writes:
'A move back to our home in West Ham...'
Technically she's right - the Olympic Stadium is in the area of West Ham, in the borough of Newham where the club was founded. However, since they moved to the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park in 1904, we're not sure the old 'Well, it was our home first' schtick is going to fly.
Headline from the back page of The Times: 'Blame the players, not Benitez - Cech points finger at team as Chelsea make unwanted Champions League history.'
Since Benitez won the only Champions League game managed 6-1 and still didn't go through, we should hope he isn't getting the blame for this one.
Refreshing Story Of The Day
'A Swedish football club has fired all the players on its top team following complaints that players hurled homophobic remarks at members of an opposing team. "We distance ourselves from all insults. Clearly it's damaging for the club to have players who don't follow the rules," Ketil Torp, chair of the Sörskogens IF football club, told Sveriges Radio (SR). The incident took place during a Division Seven match played earlier this autumn between Sörskogens IF and the Stockholm Snipers, a club which makes an effort to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) players.
'During the match, players from Sörskogens were heard saying "you suck c*ck for 50 kronor", "all of you have HIV", and "we're probably going to get infected", among several other homophobic remarks, the local Mitt i Huddinge newspaper reported..."We had no choice but to suspend the entire team. That kind of language isn't appropriate for football or anywhere else," club chair Torp told Mitt i' - The Local.se.
Zinger/Initials Of The Day
'Former lecturer Jude, 36, seemed to have a blast as she spend the day with the three children she has with the QVC footballer' - The Daily Mail on Djibril Cisse.
Harsh Fine Of The Day
"Football often suppresses my tics, but I cannot control them when I get upset or stressed" - Owen Thompson, a 14-year-old with Tourette's playing in the Herefordshire youth leagues, reacts after being fined and suspended for telling a referee to 'f*ck off'. The suspension was apparently more to do with the lad's attitude towards the ref, rather than any bad words.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'United Clujless' - The Daily Mirror.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Three rescue dogs in New Zealand have been taught how to drive a car. Monty, Porter and Ginny have learned the skills to prove how intelligent dogs can be, in an attempt to encourage more potential owners to come forward. The drive for publicity by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saw the four-legged friends spend weeks getting to grips with four wheels. The dogs, a giant schnauzer, a whippet cross and a beardie cross can change gear, steer and brake. The animals can start a car, accelerate and steer. They sit in a driving position on their haunches responding to instructions called out from the dog behaviour experts.
'Animal trainer Mark Vette and his team began training the animals using a mock vehicle before introducing them to a real car - a Mini especially adapted for paws. He said: "We chain behaviours together ... in this case we've got 10 behaviours we're putting together. Then you put them into a sequence. It's a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time. "So we'll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon (=drive fast) along the straight and then stop," said Mr Vette. However, the animal trainer says things did not always go smoothly when the dogs got into the real car. "A couple of days ago the car was going too fast, the trainer nearly got run over," he said' - Sky News.com.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Chris Kanaris, Richard Benke, John Cafferty and Samuel Rowley. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.