Textbook News Cycle
Mediawatch was quite surprised when Arsenal's starting line-up for the victory in Munich was announced on Wednesday evening. With the exception of the dropped/rested Wojciech Szczesny, it was more or less as strong a team as Arsene Wenger could have selected.
So why were we surprised? Well, largely because the press on Wednesday morning had insisted that Wenger would pick a shadow side, all-but throwing the game with the big match against Swansea looming at the weekend.
While most of the papers were at it, The Daily Mail were of course at the bullsh*t forefront, and of course stopping to have a good old stir in the good name of web hits along the way.
Matt Barlow wrote that the team selection 'exposes Wenger to accusations of lost ambition', while Neil Ashton wrote, under the headline 'Gunners give in! Wenger risks fans' fury by resting Walcott and Cazorla against Bayern to focus on securing top-four spot' that Wenger 'faces a furious backlash from supporters as he prepares to surrender Arsenal's Champions League dream against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night'.
In addition, headlines on the Mail site included 'It's a disgrace! Fans join Lineker in condemning Wenger's 'joke' decision to rest key players for crunch Munich clash', as well as 'As Arsenal fans abandon Munich plans, Galatasaray supporters attempt to DIG their way into ground to watch their team train' and 'I cancelled my flight to Munich...Wenger is doing a disservice to those who have travelled' (a piece by a disgruntled Arsenal fan).
It's the classic newspaper one-two - present guesses and speculation as fact = first news cycle, the furious reaction from Irked of Islington based on those guesses and speculation = second news cycle.
Since we still have absolutely no idea whether it's true or a massive wind-up, we present a few updates on Oliver Kay's 'Dream Football League' story from The Times in list form.
- Kay, and indeed everyone at The Times, maintain the story is absolutely kosher. Kay said in a webchat on The Times website on Wednesday afternoon that the source of his story was '100 per cent, 1,000 per cent, 175 million per cent' not cheeky French website Cahiers du Football. Journalists from The Times and other papers unequivocally backed Kay, on the basis that, well, he's usually pretty thorough and...well, he's a good guy.
- Kay writes in today's Times: 'Contrary to denials and conspiracy theories, several of the clubs under consideration admitted privately yesterday to having been sounded out by intermediaries working on behalf of such a project.'
- Cahiers du Football maintain they were there first and made the whole thing up. They were even good enough to provide an English language explanation, which you can read here.
- The Qatar Football Association (who weren't mentioned in the original story) denied the whole thing, releasing a statement that said: "With regard to the story published in today's edition of The Times newspaper concerning a 'Dream Football League,' the Qatar Football Association and other Qatari football entities can categorically confirm that we have no involvement in any such initiative and has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine."
- A man clearly more thorough that Mediawatch, Richard Whittall of The Score, did some digging, and discovered a few interesting things about the man who claims to be one of Kay's sources (a Mr Rob Beal, who asked people to stop being so nasty to Kay). In summary, this 'source' might not have anything to do with anything, but we suggest you read Whittal's full blog on the matter here.
- We're confused. Hope that helps.
Headline from a website not a million miles from here, earlier this week:
'Bless: Wenger thinks Arsenal can win in Munich.'
If we've learned anything from this, it's that being patronising as a motivational tool does work.
'You Can Go To Hell!'
Not that we would dare doubt a tabloid transfer rumour, but in response to The Daily Mirror's whisper this morning that Zlatan Ibrahimovic might join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, we present Zlatan's summary of their time together at Barcelona:
"I asked for a meeting with Guardiola - for a discussion, not an argument. I said I was being used in the wrong way and that they shouldn't have bought me if they wanted another type of player.
"I told him what a friend had said to me - "you bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat". The chat seemed to go well but then Guardiola started to freeze me out. I would walk into a room; he would leave. He would greet everyone by saying hello, but would ignore me...
"(Pep) was staring at me and I lost it. I thought "there is my enemy, scratching his bald head". I yelled to him: "You have no balls!" And probably worse things than that. I added: 'You are s****ing yourself because of (then Inter manager Jose Mourinho, whose side beat Barca in the Champions League). You can go to hell!" I was completely mad.
"I threw a box full of training gear across the room, it crashed to the floor and Pep said nothing, just put stuff back in the box. I'm not violent, but if I were Guardiola I would have been frightened."
Said Geoff Hurst on Wednesday, about the prospect of West Ham moving to the Olympic Stadium:
"It's not beyond the realms of possibility if we go to the stadium and with the support we've got. West Ham have a huge supporter base. If you could make a comparison to another club of a similar stature, I would say Manhcester City is it.
"Look what has happened to them after they went to a new stadium."
Hmmm. Not sure the new ground was entirely the reason for City's success...
Quote Of The Day
"I have left Brendan Rodgers, thank God" - Nuri Sahin suggests he may not be crying himself to sleep about no longer being a Liverpool player.
"The god of football is Argentine and now the Pope as well" - Diego Maradona reacts to events in Rome in typically modest fashion.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'End of the Roud' - The Sun. We think this refers to Olivier Giroud.
Unfortunate Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'We want a Pope for young people' - The BBC Website.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Twin sisters believed to be Amsterdam's oldest prostitutes have retired after more than 50 years each in the sex trade. Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, have finally decided they are too old for the business after claiming to have slept with 355,000 men between them in a combined 100-year career. Louise, a mother of four, has said her arthritis now makes some sexual positions 'too painful'. And mother-of-three Martine admits she is finding it hard to attract new punters - except one elderly man who still comes for his weekly sado-maschism session. She said: 'I couldn't give him up. He's been coming to me for so long it's like going to church on a Sunday' - The Daily Mail.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Stewart Kelly, Arseblog, Gareth Main and Neale. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.