Mario: Not For Sale
Roberto Mancini, December 11: "Balotelli has enormous quality, he is not for sale. We are waiting for the moment he becomes aware of his talent. That is why he is not for sale."
Roberto Mancini, January 25: "It is not true, Mario stays here. We are 18 players now. We can't sell any players."
'City could have done with his scoring skills last night as they failed to beat rock-bottom QPR,' writes Martin Blackburn in The Sun.
The 'scoring skills' that have seen him score once in the Premier League this season, Martin?
Classic 'we told you first' stuff from the Daily Star, with their grab of a 'BYE BYE BALO' headline from December 11. But some of us have rather good eyesight and can make out the actual story from December 11, which reads:
'Manchester City will sell Mario Balotelli on the cheap next month after admitting he is damaged goods...the champions will have to take a hit on the Italian and fear having to sell him for around £10m.'
'We told you first and we told you wrong' would be a rather more apt boast.
Bizarre Glove Triangle
Classic Harry Redknapp on Tuesday night - naming goalkeepers Robert Green and Brian Murphy on his bench for the clash with Manchester City to make a subtle point to QPR owner Tony Fernandes that he needs new players.
"We need to strengthen the squad - tonight I had two keepers on the bench because there were no other senior outfield players here," said Redknapp, stopping just short of marching a be-gloved Green and Murphy into the press room.
Presumably, Fernandes was paying no attention on Saturday when Redknapp named winger Hogan Ephraim on the bench for the FA Cup clash with MK Dons. Or are we to believe that the unlucky Ephraim got injured some time between Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THIS QUESTION
Mediawatch was already irked by the lack of a question mark in the Daily Mirror headline - 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY CHELSEA' - even before we were riled by the juxtaposition of John Terry's screwed-up face with an image of Rafa Benitez. The implication that Benitez has somehow ruined Terry's Chelsea is clear.
But it seems that 'angry' Terry is actually telling his Chelsea teammates 'they are letting down their fans' ('Liven up your act NOW' is the message). So it's Terry's teammtes who have ruined Terry's Chelsea.
Except, well, he doesn't really say that at all - he's just a bit pissed off that they were rubbish against Brentford. And that includes Terry himself, as evidenced by the use of the word 'we' on eight occasions in four short paragraphs of quotes.
So, to conclude, nobody's really done anything to Terry's Chelsea at all. Apart from possibly steal all the question marks.
Caught Off Guard
Headline in the Daily Star: 'We Can't Be Caught.'
Opening paragraph in the Daily Star: 'Sir Alex Ferguson claims that Manchester United can't be caught in the title race.'
Opening quote from Sir Alex Ferguson in the Daily Star: "We're not taking anything for granted."
Mystery Of The Day
How very odd that the Daily Mail's online splash from Tuesday - 'The news to strike fear into Everton fans...Chelsea want your manager! Rafa to go (but not until summer) as Roman targets Moyes' - by John Drayton warrants no mention in Wednesday's actual Daily Mail. It's almost like their Chelsea expert Neil Ashton (who we suspect may actually be Roman Abramovich) gives the story no credence whatsoever.
You Scratch My Back
Tweet from Oliver Holt: 'Excellent piece by @StanCollymore on ex-pros in journalism. Makes series of v good points, inc comparison with US sport.'
Extract from said Stan Collymore piece: 'Today, we still have great written, radio and tv football broadcasters. Henry Winter,Olly Holt,Gary Neville,Graeme Souness,Jonathan Pearce,Mark Saggers,Danny Kelly who i work with at talkSPORT and many others give me the same insight,passion and intellect which drives me in my broadcasting today.The list in British broadcasting and print is a very good,and very long one.'
Fascinating Insight Of The Day
Tweet from Sunderland official: 'Titus Bramble talks about his key block to earn #SAFC a point against Swansea: http://bit.ly/WeV7lY'
We've read it. He just got his body in the way.
Headline Of The Day
'Fellaini not part of Fer trade' - The Daily Star.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'City Well Balo Pair' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Model husbands who cook, clean and generally help around the house may be missing out in bed, according to researchers. Married men are likely to have less sex if they do a lot of housework, a study found. But they could improve their sex lives by easing off the washing-up and chopping wood instead. "Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently," said study leader Dr Sabino Kornrich, from the Juan March Institute in Madrid, Spain. "Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks - such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance - report higher sexual frequency."' - The Daily Mirror.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Gershon Portnoi. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.