Mutally Assured Confusion
Last week, Ian Holloway left Crystal Palace by mutual consent. This was made rather clear to us by the club ('Ian Holloway said he is "proud" of what he achieved at Crystal Palace, after leaving the club by mutual consent today'), chairman Steve Parrish ("Ian's contract at Crystal Palace has come to an end by mutual consent") and Holloway himself ("I've lost the spirit of that group. I owe it to the lads to admit that").
Sounds pretty mutual. A genuine mutual consent, rather than the 'mutual consent' that managers usually leave via.
Mediawatch was thus interested to read what Holloway had to say in his column for The Sunday Mirror, which opened thus:
'Getting sacked is an occupational hazard if you take up the poisoned chalice of becoming a football manager. I'm hurting right now after leaving Crystal Palace.'
Whatever I Did, Whatever I Said...
Mark Lawrenson is one of the many to loudly proclaim that Fernando Torres 'could be back to his best at long last.'
Of course, any hint of Torres vaguely looking like a good footballer again is enough to make most pundits lose their sh*t and declare a return to the 2009 heights, and long experience and conditioning has taught most of us to simply appreciate a good performance, without getting too excited about the whole thing.
Still, at least Lawrenson has some flawless logic to back up his argument.
He writes: 'I know Torres has only started three Premier League games but he played in the Champions League in midweek and then kept his place. Maybe Mourinho has looked at him and thought 'This lad is on the way back.''
Or maybe Mourinho has looked at him and thought 'This lad scored two goals in his last game. That's as good a reason for picking him as any. You're in, Fernando.'
...I Didn't Mean It, I Just...
Headline from The Daily Mail: 'Is Torres back? You bet he is.'
Opening line from subsequent piece by Martin Keown: 'It's time to stop asking the question of whether Fernando Torres is back to his best. That question is no longer relevant.'
Maths With Michel
Obviously, the idea of increasing the size of an already pretty big World Cup is stupid.
Well, we say obviously, but that seemingly isn't crystal clear to Michel Platini, which is unfortunate as he holds a bit of sway in football, and is likely to be the man in charge once Sepp finally wobbles out of his big gold chair at FIFA HQ.
Platini wants to increase the size of the finals from 32 to 40 teams, on the basis that "Football is changing and now we have 209 associations. There are more countries so why reduce?"
Platini, seemingly under the impression that the World Cup is a school sports day of some description, where it's just nice for people to take part and have a good go, rather than the elite of world football coming together once every four years to decide which is the best national team on the planet, will solve the problem by simply shoving an extra team into each group in the first round, making eight groups of five. That this, among other things, will in all likelihood simply increase the number of tedious and one-sided group games, and if nothing else gives every team an extra game to cope with in the sweltering heat of Qatar, is not a concern at the forefront of Platini's mind, it seems.
On shoe-horning these extra teams in, Platini said: "We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American and one from Europe. I support this idea totally."
Mediawatch isn't sure about you, but we have our doubts about trusting the future of the game to a man who apparently can't count.
In an interview with The Times, Platini went on to defend UEFA's record on racism.
"There is no one tougher on racism than UEFA," he said. "We have zero tolerance."
The timing of Platini's assertion that UEFA are leading the charge against racism is particularly amusing, coming as it does a week after Lazio successfully appealed against a stadium ban after their founds were found to have "performed racist chants against the Slavic people" during a match against Legia Warsaw. Instead of having to play their upcoming game against Apollon behind closed doors, they will only have to shut the bit of the stadium where the offending abuse took place.
Zero tolerance indeed.
The Sun excitedly informs us via their back page that, as part of the 'Premier League's weekend of aggro', Robin van Persie was 'involved with TWO tunnel bust-ups with Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross at Old Trafford.'
Mediawatch's first reaction to that is to express surprise that someone objecting to Shawcross's conduct/face is unusual or indeed news, but on closer inspection it seems that the 'bust-up' wasn't exactly the most aggro-y bit of aggro we've ever seen.
Apparently the pair 'were seen arguing as they made their way off the pitch' for half-time and that 'things spilled over into the tunnel', although it's not made 100%/at all clear what these 'things' that spilled over were. And then, post-match, we are breathlessly informed that 'Shawcross was giving interviews when Van Persie walked past and muttered under his breath.'
So, to sum up, two men arguing a bit, combined with another two men (Mourinho and Pellegrini) not shaking hands, adds up to a 'weekend of aggro'.
Years Of Refusal
'Furious Manuel Pellegrini refused to back Joe Hart after Fernando Torres' "stupid" last-minute goal plunged City to defeat' - The Daily Mirror.
'Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini...failed to publicly back his embattled goalkeeper following the mix-up with Matija Nastasic that led to Chelsea's 90th-munute strike' - The Daily Mail.
'Manuel Pellegrini refused to offer Joe Hart a public show of support after the England goalkeeper's last-minute rush of blood presented Fernando Torres with Chelsea's winner and left Manchester City six points from the top of the Premier League' - The Guardian.
And what Pellegrini actually said: "What I think, I won't talk about. I repeat that the analysis I do with individual players I do with the players, not the press. You must ask [Hart] how his confidence is. I talk just internally with the players. We are going to see the best way to arrange things."
So, 'manager' says he'll discuss mistakes made by player with said player before talking about it to the press.' Sounds like rather sensible management to us. Not the pithiest headline though, we admit.
Don't Worry, Joe
Joe Hart probably isn't feeling great after his error against Chelsea on Sunday. However, if life has taught us nothing else, the one thing guaranteed to make you feel better after a f*ck up is seeing someone else f*ck up, but worse.
So Joe, meet Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann.
In case you missed it, here's the mailout that was sent to Manchester United fans at the end of last week. Not content with using the decidedly 'Nazi-ish' headline 'New Order' to describe Adnan Januzaj and others, their graphic designer went to town and knocked up a decidedly 'Swastika-y' logo to go with it.
A follow-up e-mail grovelled: 'While the headline was intended to reference the band of the same name, it has been pointed out that the graphic had design similarities to a swastika which, combined with other connotations of the phrase 'new order', has caused offence which was entirely unintended. For this, United Uncovered unreservedly apologises.'
And if that wasn't bad enough for United die-hards, Gary Neville admitted to having never seen 'Airplane' on Sunday. Shame upon shame.
Writes Tony Cascarino in The Times:
'Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Loic Remy and Hatem Ben Arfa. Newcastle's entire midfield and forward line are French-speaking. Even Arsenal never managed that. It feels like it is too much.'
Whoah, just wait a goddamn minute there, Tone - Newcastle have a lot of French-speaking players? You're kidding, right? Nah, not having it - somebody would have already mentioned it.
'Fair Enough' Quote Of The Weekend
"Because I didn't want to" - Manuel Pellegrini informs us why he didn't shake Jose Mourinho's hand.
Worst Headline Of The Day
'Poy Oh Boy' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Swiss student who had his smartphone stolen has promised the young woman who ended up with it that she can keep it - if she agrees to a date. Niklaus Knecht, 24, realised his phone had ended up in the hands of a pretty girl living in Morocco after she started using it as a camera, unaware the picture upload function was still switched on. The telephone was stolen in April when he was on a train in Switzerland and dozed off - waking up to find someone had sliced open his jacket pocket and stolen it. He bought a new phone and forgot about the old one until suddenly pictures of the young girl started turning up in his dropbox' - Orange.
Non-Football Quote Of The Day
"I am really keen to find out who she is and more about her. I'd like to meet her and am prepared to travel to Morocco to see her. I think it would be interesting to find out how she ended up getting the phone" - Mr Knecht reveals that it's an anthropological curiosity that is the motivation for wanting to meet the young lady, and has nothing at all to do with her being quite the looker.
Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Gerry McGreevy and David McConnell. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.