The King In Exile
Richard Keys has been talking so Mediawatch has been listening, careful not to miss the juicy nuggets that fall out of his hairy brain.
If you were worried about Keys and his cohort Andy Gray after last seeing them chatting about football on a park bench, presumably filmed on someone's phone, then fear not; the pair are in rude health as Keys is so keen to remind us in his interview with the Independent.
'Back working alongside Andy Gray - "the best, the Daddy of them all, the guy who invented it", back presenting Premier League and Champions League football, but now for Al Jazeera, in Qatar, Keys is firmly committed to his new employer and his new home. "And I have no intention whatsoever of leaving here. None at all. And my target is 2022. And I know Andy feels the same."' parps Keys at the beginning of a hugely enjoyable conversation.
He's doing well, he's not at all bitter about his exit from Sky Sports after it turned out he was a big hairy sexist and...oh, hang on a minute.
"When (Sky Sports) were signing left, right and centre, I said, 'I wouldn't do that'. Sky have done their money," Keys continues.
"They've done their money on (Gary) Neville and (Jamie) Carragher and (Graeme) Souness and they haven't got the money to pay anyone else. And with the regularity of those three, the novelty will wear off."
Mediawatch has always thought that Neville, Carragher and Souness were pretty good pundits, but let's hear the hairy man out. Perhaps he's found even better guests for his Al Jazeera show.
"We have had a whole host of people come and see us," says Keys.
"Keegan, Shearer. Hoddle is coming. We've had Peter Reid. We've had David Platt. Peter Schmeichel is coming. Terry Venables is coming," Keys says. "David O'Leary has just come back. Mark Hateley has been here. You name them. If they haven't been, they will be coming."
Shearer? Alan 'alanysis' Shearer? Keegan? Peter Reid? Hateley! Oh, Richard. You must tell Mediawatch how it can get a subscription.
Keys isn't finished, however, as he continues to question Sky's wisdom of replacing the old heads with a bunch of young bucks. This certainly doesn't remind Mediawatch of Ron Burgundy's phone-booth meltdown guzzling a pint of warm milk.
"One of the things that was overlooked was the fact that of course - and I don't say this with any arrogance, it's just a fact - with any previous challenge, Andy and I have been there, it was the establishment. It saw off challenges almost as if they hadn't happened. Everything has changed now. There is a lot of youth about the place," says Keys.
"Andy Melvin - who was the genius behind most of what Sky did - he always used to give me the analogy of a 747 pilot. When you wander on to a 747 and you see a grey-haired pilot, it looks like he's got a few miles on his clock, been round the world a few times, you feel safer with him. A youthful pilot might not have encountered the same problems."
To be honest, as long as the youthful pilot didn't crash the 747 into a sea of godawful sexism then Mediawatch probably wouldn't be too bothered.
It's important to remember that Keys is loving life, though, and while his former empire burns to the ground, he's living it up in Qatar with not a care in the world.
"I am pleased not to be part of that, it's a huge thing for me, to live in a country now where that sort of hypocrisy doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist."
It's good to hear you're doing well, Richard.
The Moral Victory
It's Friday, it's Jeff Powell in the Daily Mail, it's a long list of reasons why the old days were better.
'With last of his latest hat-trick - at Fenerbahce (sic) in Wednesday night's Champions League romp - Cristiano Ronaldo overtook the legendary Ferenc Puskas in the annals of Real Madrid goal-scorers,' writes Powell.
'Does that make him greater than Hungary's galloping major? Today's generation of fans will scream Yes. Traditionalists will cling to their memories of Puskas as one of the genius goal-scorers of all time.
'The stats make it too close to call Ronaldo has scored 206 goals in 204 appearances, Puskas bagged 205 in 204. So, for the moment, the jury stays out.'
That sounds fair to Mediawatch. Let's call this one a draw for now.
Oh, wait. There's more...
'What we can say without fear of contradiction is that Ronaldo, on his record new contract of £288,000 a week after tax, is massively better paid than the great man who set the standard at the Bernabeu to which all his successors have aspired.'
Ah, go on then. Puskas's paltry wage must be worth an extra 50 goals.
'Mourinho's crisis talks with squad' farts the Daily Mail's back-page headline.
Oh, lordy. What's he done now? Whose balls has he kicked? Whose eggs has he scrambled?
'Jose Mourinho demanded immediate improvements from his shell-shocked Chelsea players during a meeting with the entire squad at their Cobham training centre yesterday,' writes Neil Ashton.
'The manager called his players together following Wednesday's Champions League defeat against Basle which came after a 1-0 loss at Everton.'
Ashton continues: 'Some of the points raised by Mourinho at Cobham have been interpreted as 'constructive' and 'positive', but a number of players were left in no doubt their places are under threat.'
Mediawatch forgot its golden rule: when the Mail scream 'crisis talks' always remember they mean 'football manager talks to football team about defeat'.
It's Tricky To Rock Around
Mediawatch has long suspected that any run of fixtures can be described as 'tricky', considering that football often throws up shocks where big teams are beaten by littl'uns, and Matt Barlow provides conclusive proof of this theory in Friday's Daily Mail.
'He can also apply pressure on his backroom team, try to encourage spirit through a tricky sequence of games ahead,' writes Barlow as he ponders Chelsea's woes.
'It starts with a derby against Fulham on Saturday followed by four away games: a cup tie in Swindon, a grudge match at Spurs intensified by the Willian fall-out, a trip to Steaua, who beat Chelsea in Bucharest last time, and then Norwich.
'Then into the next international break, by which point some things will be a lot clearer.'
To be clear, that's Fulham (home), Swindon (away), Tottenham (away), Steaua Bucharest, Group E's bottom seeds who were thrashed 3-0 by Schalke on Wednesday (away) and Norwich (away).
Mediawatch spies only one 'tricky' fixture among that lot for a team of Chelsea's quality, but then that wouldn't lend itself to talk of a 'crisis'.
Said Theo Walcott: "There were times last season when maybe we didn't believe in ourselves.
"It was only after we went to Bayern Munich and won at one of the toughest places in Europe that we started to think 'We are a very good team ourselves'.
"After that game we knew where we wanted to be - in the Champions League again."
Yes, before that it was all pointless. Why would you want to be in the Champions League? *sniff* Mug's game, innit? Take it or leave it, me.
Mediawatch has noticed that former Spurs goalkeeper Erik Thortsvedt is getting a lot of credit on Friday for his great line on the club's transer business.
"We sold Elvis but we got the Beatles," said Thortsvedt as he was paraded on the pitch at half-time during Spurs' win over Tromso.
This may be the only time we ever have to do this, but Mediawatch feels it has a duty to remind everyone that Garth Crooks is the man responsible for that particular piece of wisdom.
All hail Garth.
Quote Of The Day
Steve Bruce on the prospect of a winter World Cup: "If it does take place in winter then we will have to make sure there is a winter break."
Nothing gets past Brucey.
Worst Headlines Of The Day
'YOLK'S ON US JOSE!' - The Sun.
'Defoe Has A Fjord Fiesta' - The Mirror.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Swedish court ruled this week that masturbating in public is OK if it's not directed at anyone, local media report.
'The ruling came after a man was charged with sexual assault for masturbating on a beach June 6 at Drevviken beach, The Local reported. The 65-year-old man removed his shorts and started masturbating close to the water.
'The man was acquitted, and the ruling stated that it "may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion," but it wasn't a crime because he wasn't pleasuring himself towards a specific person.
'"For this to be a criminal offence it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court's judgement is reasonable," prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told a Swedish paper. "With that we can conclude that it is OK to masturbate on the beach. The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct."' - Toronto Sun.
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