Shear Memory Loss
Roy Hodgson has done a fair approximation of Mediawatch with his dismantling of Gary Lineker's criticism of England but it's left to us - the professionals - to take Alan Shearer to task.
'When was England's last good performance?' asks Shearer in The Sun. 'I don't mean result, I mean a performance that really made you sit up and think 'We have got something good here'. I'll tell you when it was - September 1, 2001 in Munich, Germany 1 England 5.'
But never mind sitting up, Alan, how about standing up?
Here's Henry Winter's match report from England's 5-1 'destruction' (Winter's word, not ours) of Croatia in September 2009: 'How the England football family revelled in it, former captains like Bryan Robson and Alan Shearer standing to salute the latest generation charged with ending 44 years of hurt.'
It was probably that ovation-inspiring performance against Croatia which contributed to Shearer widely predicting that England could win the 2010 World Cup.
"England have to be considered as one of the sides who could go on to win the tournament," said Shearer. "England are one of six or seven teams who can win it," he continued.
Didn't he sound oddly confident for a man who hadn't seen England play well since 2001?
Gary Lineker: England Manager
Actually, we can't leave Gary Lineker there - for we must turn to Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. We have read this several times now - each time slightly more incredulous than the next - and it really does seem like he is touting Lineker as one of the great lost brains of football.
He begins: 'Three cheers for Gary Lineker, who on Tuesday night expressed as articulately as anyone can in 140 characters or fewer just why 11 characters - the England football team - were so dispiriting to watch. 'We're seeing a lot of one-touch football,' wrote Lineker on Twitter. 'England have a touch. Ukraine have a touch. England have a touch...'. He was right, and right too when he tweeted: 'Awful. What happens to some of these players when they pull on an England shirt?''
Those tweets - and other insights like 'Scotland lead after a howler from Hart. Needs to eradicate these errors that are creeping into his game' - are described by Viner as 'astute'. Odd, we would have gone for 'obvious' or 'banal'.
'Could it be that Lineker, polished presenter that he has become, is the best pundit the BBC never had?' he asks.
The answer is clearly 'no'. But Viner doesn't stop there. Oh no. It seems Lineker is too clever to just be a pundit.
'Could it even be that he might be the best manager England never had? There is more substance in some of his one-liners on Twitter than in entire post-match press conferences, and maybe more than in entire half-time team talks. Are we listening to the England manager in exile?'
Imagine the scene: England come in at half-time of a tough match in Ukraine with the game delicately balanced at 0-0 and England boss Lineker says: "We're seeing a lot of one-touch football. You have a touch. Ukraine have a touch. You have a touch..."
We would pay serious money to see Steven Gerrard's face. We're pretty damned sure he wouldn't be thinking 'oh, how astute, gaffer'.
The Balloon Is Back
'You can't imagine Lineker ducking the issue of Kyle Walker's flirtation with nitrous oxide,' continues Viner, banging the Daily Mail's drum de jour.
All together now: IT'S LAUGHING GAS. IT'S NOT F***ING ILLEGAL.
Walk On By
We knew it was only a matter of time before the click-whoring of the Daily Mail rubbed off on other newspaper websites. Step forward the Manchester Evening News, who somehow manage to eke out several paragraphs of copy from two photographs of Marouane Fellaini walking past a barber shop.
'Close but no haircut: Marouane Fellaini has fans worried as the United signing gets close to barbers' is the shameless headline above a story which begins 'Fellaini fans fear not - United's afroed £27.5m man walked past this barber shop'.
They even quote a 'witness' (to this momentous event), saying: "He parked right next to the hairdressers and we were thinking he was going in for a cut. But he walked past and was in the bank for 15 minutes."
So, to clarify, 'man parks car and walks into bank'. International week has a f*** of a lot to answer for.
Anecdote Of The Week
Mediawatch has long been tickled by Jonjo Shelvey's epic bantz - his 'spectacles' celebration because, wait for it, his family all wear glasses, is pure comedy genius. But here, courtesy of the Daily Mail, is an insight into the life of Shelvey from the day he signed for Swansea.
"I got home and was sitting down to dinner. My missus had cooked a pasta dish. I hadn't had a bite when my agent came on the phone, saying, "Get yourself down to Swansea". I didn't touch my dinner. Daisy (Evans) and I just grabbed a bag and got in the car. My brother lives in Liverpool so he came and did the dishes. It was a weird journey."
So many questions.
1) Why doesn't a Premier League footballer have a dishwasher?
2) Who responds to the prospect of a short-ish journey from the nort-west to Swansea by saying 'well, these f***ing dishes won't do themselves' and calls his brother?
3) What kind of a brother doesn't tell him to go f*** himself?
4) Was it a 'weird journey' because his brother came to do the dishes in the car?
It's very sweet that Shelvey does not believe he was 'pushed out' of Liverpool.
"Brendan told me I could stay there and see what happened. It really was my choice. I wasn't pushed. But I wanted to play football. I would hate to be one of those sitting on my money. It is in my character, the way I was brought up. Even Brendan said, "You're not one of these squad players happy to stand around"."
Yep. Sounds like it was definitely your choice, Jonjo. You absolutely definitely didn't fall for the simplest piece of cod psychology ever.
'MESUT OZIL is in line for a shock start for Arsenal at Sunderland on Saturday,' writes Charlie Wyett in The Sun.
Yes, it will be a galloping shock if Arsenal play their £42.5m signing against one of the worst sides in the Premier League, alright.
Headline Of The Day
'LINEKER ON THE RETWEET' - The Daily Mirror. We salute you.
One-Word Headline Of The Day
'VEG' - The Sun. The fact that this single word is below a picture of Michael Carrick is simply phenomenal.
Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'He accused me of selling drugs, I called him a paedophile...then I was attacked with a chocolate bar' - Irish Independent.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'An eccentric South African artist has been charged with sexual exhibitionism after a street performance in central Paris in which he tied a rooster to his penis. Steve Cohen was arrested on Tuesday on a busy public square a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower. Sporting platform shoes, dressed up as a bird and with a cord wrapped around his penis and attached to the rooster, he was able to dance for around ten minutes before police stepped in. He was detained all day and has now been ordered to appear in court on 16 December, treatment which has been greeted with outrage by his lawyer, Agnes Tricoire. Stressing that Cohen is an established artist who is due to appear in the upcoming Autumn Festival in the French capital, she said Cohen was portraying his personal situation "shared between his native South Africa and the France he now lives in". "His detention was a disgrace," she added. "Imagine, France throwing artists in prison!"' - IAfrica.com.
Many thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Andy Ollerhead and Andrew O'Connor. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.