The Page That Can Hear Its Belly Rumbling

Robbie Savage spreads one idea over two columns and Kevin Davies defends his old pals...

Last Updated: 10/01/14 at 12:42

Two Columns, One Idea
As is the fashion at the moment, Robbie Savage casts a critical eye over Manchester United's squad for the BBC and picks 12 players the champions should look to ship out. He also adds that they 'must spend £200m if they are to rebuild their squad to the standard that once made sides visiting Old Trafford feel helpless'. The standard of last season, essentially, when they won more home matches than any other team on their way to the title.

Savage's thoughts obviously make for amusing reading, but Mediawatch is intrigued to see that he has used exactly the same idea for a £200million re-fit in his weekly column for the Daily Mirror.

When discussing Chris Smalling's future for the BBC, he writes: 'I am not convinced by him. His passing is not good enough for a Manchester United player. He should go.'

And in the Mirror: 'Poor distribution and suspect concentration.'

Savage then says that United should ditch Marouane Fellaini a mere six months after he joined, writing for the BBC: 'I am not sure what his best position is. He is not good enough to play for United in the middle of the park and not quick enough or dynamic enough to play off the front. He should go.'

And in the Mirror: 'Lacks mobility and finesse, cut losses on £27m misfit.'

It's excellent work if you can get it, folks.

Writes Savage on Tom Cleverley for the BBC: 'Has played in all but four of United's league games this season, but I am not sure what he contributes. Does he pass it well? Does he score goals? Does he tackle? What does he actually do? He plays for England and I think he is good, but I am not sure what he contributes and, for me, is not a Manchester United player.'

So you rate him, but you're not sure why you rate him? Helpful as always.

As Savage's thoughts disseminated across the BBC this morning, this is how BBC One Breakfast News presenter Mike Bushell trailed the pundit's opinions: "Drastic measures are needed at Manchester United to enable the club to move forward, says one of the Class of '92."

Is it G.Neville? Becks? P.Neville? Scholesy wouldn't have spoken to the media, would he?

Of course not, it's Robbie Savage.

Burgeoning Reputation
Mediawatch has been mightily impressed by Steve Bruce's success with Hull City Tigers, but the media's proclivity to call for a manager to be promoted above their station never ceases to amaze.

Hidden away in the Guardian's '10 Things To Look Out For This Weekend' is the line: 'Steve Bruce has bought well and his team play in an honest, determined and occasionally attractive style. Should the Moyes experiment at Old Trafford fail, Manchester United could do worse.'

Manager helps Premier League lesser-weight to achieve with occasionally attractive style and should therefore be a candidate for the champions.

Where have we heard this one before?

'Why think of a variety of results when two will get you through?' appears to be Mark Lawrenson's approach to his Premier League predictions for the BBC as he picks eight matches to end 2-0 and the other two to finish as 1-1 draws.

Lawro's opponent Sylvester Stallone shows a little more imagination, saying for Hull v Chelsea: 'I think it is going to be cancelled due to rain. I'm sorry, it is not going to happen, so do not even go.'

He's also tipping a 17-0 win for Everton. Oh, Sly.

Says Mark Lawrenson in his Premier League predictions: 'For me, Villa are not going to get relegated. That does not mean they are a great side - because they are not.'

Don't worry, Mark, nobody ever thought the hallmark of greatness was avoiding relegation.

Said West Brom's sporting and technical director Richard Garlick when Steve Clarke was sacked on December 14: "It has been well documented that we have not had the rub of the green in certain games this season but that does not cloud the generally disappointing points return during this calendar year."

Number of league wins for Steve Clarke in 2013: Seven
Number of league wins for Pepe Mel in 2013 before he was sacked by Real Betis: Nine

Forgive Mediawatch for returning to Robbie Savage for a final time, but it would be remiss of us not to mention his staggering use of hindsight in his criticism of Sam Allardyce.

'I am baffled, absolutely staggered, that Sam Allardcye ran up the white flag and fielded such a weak team at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round last weekend,' writes Savage in the Daily Mirror.

'I have never understood the mentality of clubs who treat the FA Cup as a chore or inconvenience.

'Given City's impregnable form at home this season, Allardyce would have been better served by fielding his strongest possible team at Forest and then taking his chances at the Etihad.

'Ipswich or Preston in the fourth round would have been more attractive than disgruntled fans calling for Big Sam's head.'

Let us recap: Allardyce should have looked into his crystal ball to see that the Hammers would have drawn Ipswich or Preston in the fourth round and played his strongest team accordingly. He should then have 'taken his chances' at the Etihad, presumably risking an even heavier defeat than 6-0, because progression from the FA Cup third round should take precedence over a League Cup semi-final.

Riiiiiight, that would definitely have ensured Big Sam was under less pressure.

Question Of The Day
What good did the Daily Mail possibly think they could achieve by asking a 7/7 terror attack survivor for their thoughts on Chris Smalling's ill-advised fancy dress costume?

'Fans have mocked David Moyes being nominated for December's Manager of the Month award,' writes Tony Little in The Sun.

Perhaps - perhaps - this could be classed as news if those doing the mocking were Manchester United supporters, but alas, did anyone really think that was going to be the case...

After trawling the comments pages on, Little continues: 'Liverpool fan IrishChrisLFC asked "Who was asked to vote on this? Liverpool and City fans?"'

Lolz, bantz, etc. It might be top joshing from the big lad, but don't The Sun have better things to do?

Actually, don't answer that.

Blame Game
Big Sam disciple Kevin Davies has defended the manager over West Ham's dismal form, but Mediawatch isn't entirely convinced by his take on the situation.

"There's big signings from Liverpool - Joe Cole, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll," said Davies.

"I know Andy Carroll is injured but Sam will feel let down by them. They're all sitting there on big contracts.

"You need your leaders in there but unfortunately Kevin Nolan is suspended, which Sam will be gutted for Kevin about."

So Allardyce will feel let down by Carroll, despite the striker being injured through not fault of his own, and be gutted for your old mucker Nolan, when he was stupidly sent off twice in four matches.

Righto, Kevin. We think you've nailed that one.

A quick lesson in the timeline of a joke in the tabloids.

1) Thomas Hitzlsperger declares he's gay on Wednesday.
2) Wags on Twitter immediately make the witty retort that they can't believe he's come a former West Ham player.
3) Hours pass
4) Days pass
5) Both Derek McGovern in the Daily Mirror and Steven Howard in The Sun make the same gag about Hitzlsperger's brave admission that he used to play for the Hammers.
6) Hacks burst their spleens with laughter while the rest of us wonder what took them so long.

Intro Of The Day
Writes Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail: 'I wonder how many steaks Alvaro Negredo eats before each game? He looks like a caveman, but he can play like an artist, too.'

Because who doesn't picture a caveman eating a steak when they think of Negredo?

Worst Headline/Childish Giggle Of The Day
'Ollie ready for the ride of his life' - the Daily Express. Oo-er.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Chinese man who got a bottle stuck in his anus was forced to go to hospital for medical help after attempting - and failing - to fish it out using a curved piece of wire.

'The man went to hospital in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, complaining of stomach pains.

'However, when doctors enquired about the cause the man claimed he had no idea what was responsible. It was only when staff performed X-rays that they discovered a bottle and a curved piece of wire lodged in his abdomen.

'The man confessed that he inserted the bottle at home, but was then unable to remove it. Out of panic he found a piece of steel wire and tried to hook the bottle out, but failed.

'Doctors were forced to operate to remove the bottle and wire and discovered that the man's bowel had been pierced in several places' - the Daily Mail

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotters Bradley Kirrage, James Ashe, and Neale Greer. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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Readers' Comments


e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

bright and edgy
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h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

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