Ah, Martin Samuel. Come in. No, don't sit down. We'd like to discuss your article about John Terry in The Daily Mail this morning.
Samuel, under the headline 'We've forgiven Suarez, so why can't Terry be player of the year?' asks the question...well, that, really. He writes:
'You see, if Suarez's past can be set aside, if we can forgive a mistake - a series of them, in fact - and consider him only on his talent, then what of the player who is most assuredly behind Chelsea's climb to the top of the Premier League table? If English football can embrace the reformed Suarez, why not his partner in hate-crime Terry? Why would placing the Chelsea man top table on the night the game salutes its outstanding performer make for such discomfort?'
A few things. Firstly, Mediawatch seems to have missed a meeting. Why weren't we told that everyone has forgiven Suarez for his sins, sins for which he has not convincingly apologised? Could it be that there was no meeting, and that everyone has not actually forgiven him? This seems to be a classic case of a man spending too much time in the press box, from where a few pieces have sprung about the 'rehabilitation' of Suarez, when the man himself made it perfectly clear a few weeks ago that he still believes he did little wrong in the Patrice Evra farrago. It's close to a straw man argument - only in this case the straw men have learned to type and been issued press passes.
Secondly, Mediawatch is slightly alarmed to read the suggestion that we are apparently unable to judge a footballer purely on his footballing ability. Terry and Suarez are, to put things mildly, not men we would necessarily like to have round our place for daiquiris and a Connect 4 tournament. They are however very good at football. Samuel has written before about the need to detach personality from sporting performance, in much the same way that we can appreciate art made by despicable people. Do either Suarez or Terry really need to be 'rehabilitated', thus tacitly excusing their sins, to be recognised for their footballing talent?
Thirdly, Samuel writes: 'He is the outstanding English centre half but will not go to the World Cup - 'Retired is retired,' said Roy Hodgson, although he wasn't so adamant over Ben Foster - because his very presence is considered divisive.'
Let's take a look at what Terry said when he announced his retirement from international football: "I am today announcing my retirement from international football."
And let's take a look at what Foster said when he announced his 'retirement' from international football: "I'm certainly not closing a door on the international side forever."
Not, perhaps, entirely comparable situations.
Fourthly, Samuel complains that some people tried to deny Terry the credit for the winning goal against Everton at the weekend. 'So, Terry may be denied his influence on one of the pivotal moments of the season. Meanwhile, Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg half-stopped Matej Vydra's shot, then fumbled it and as good as knocked it over the line with his back as he tried to recover for West Bromwich Albion's equaliser. The verdict? Vydra's goal. Never in doubt. Never even debated.'
The difference being that Vydra very much hit the shot that Stekelenburg spilled. After watching about a billion replays of Chelsea's goal, some angles suggest Terry might have touched it, some suggest he didn't get anywhere near it. This is not a grand conspiracy against John Terry. It's just that he might not have touched the bloody thing.
And finally, what should perhaps have been the simple retort to Samuel's initial query of 'why can't Terry be player of the year?' He hasn't been the best player in the Premier League this season.
Thanks for coming Martin. If you could close the door on your way out, that would be splendid.
Thank heavens that Martin Keown is on hand in the Daily Mail to help Mediawatch understand the key issues in Manchester United's defeat to Olympiakos.
Writes Keown in his 'Big Match Analysis': 'The first Olympiakos goal was a clever flick, but there was still an element of luck to it when it fell just beyond David de Gea's fingertips.
'You have to wonder if Sir Alex Ferguson used up all of United's luck and left none Moyes.'
You certainly have Mediawatch wondering, Martin.
Mediawatch isn't at all surprised that Oliver 'Hounds Of Hell' Holt is a fan of muted celebrations, but we can't help but feel he's tied himself in knots in today's Daily Mirror column.
'Some fans say the muted goal celebration is another manifestation of the evils of modern football,' writes Holt.
'Up there with the loss of Saturday 3pm kick-offs, all-seater stadia and rising ticket prices.
'That's garbage. It's the opposite actually. That's the whole point. That's what new fans don't get.'
But it's Holt who doesn't 'get' why fans aren't keen on muted celebrations. Instead of his straw man argument that some believe it's one of the 'evils of modern football' - an accusation Mediawatch hasn't once encountered - the reason the muted celebration is so irksome is because it has now become a celebration in itself.
It is a 'look at me' moment. 'Aren't I doing the decent thing?' It isn't quietly bowing the head and walking back to the centre circle, as Holt reminisces about Denis Law when he scored for Manchester City against United.
Not only did Jonjo Shelvey not celebrate possibly the greatest goal of his career on Sunday - against a club that were happy to get rid of him in the summer - he also didn't not celebrate. His raised arms gesture to make it clear to everyone that he wasn't celebrating was as much effort as most players put into actually celebrating. That's what makes muted celebration so annoying to some.
Holt continues: 'What about the poor Swansea fans who had travelled all the way up to Merseyside for a lunchtime kick-off, they say.
'They're the ones who pay Shelvey's wages now, they say. He owes his loyalty to them, not Liverpool. How do Swansea's fans feel when they see one of their own players not celebrating a goal?
'Nice of supporters of other teams to tell Swansea fans how they should feel.'
But Oliver, you've just written a 600-word column instructing football fans that 'we should celebrate returning stars who refuse to celebrate'. If anyone is telling supporters how they should feel, it's you.
Mediawatch has long been a fan of the pointless asides in Oliver Holt's Daily Mirror column, but today's entry on the title race has raised the bar.
'For the last several months, some broadcasters have been getting disproportionately excited by the word 'can'.
'"So can Arsenal win the title?" they keep saying, with emphasis on the word 'can'.
'"So can Liverpool win the title?" they say as if it's some fiendish brain-teaser.
'Of course they can. Anyone can as long as it's still mathematically possible.
'The real question, obviously, is 'will they win the title?'
'I don't think so. For all the brilliance of Liverpool and Arsenal, I still think it's between Chelsea and Man City.'
Imagine being so preoccupied with semantics that you feel the need to provide such a tedious and haughty lecture. Sometimes Holt is just Robbie Savage with a dictionary.
As usual, The Sun analyse Manchester United's latest defeat in a sidebar of questions and answers. As usual, Mediawatch stopped reading after the first question.
'Did Moyes pick the right starting eleven?' they ask, before answering:
'Not on the evidence of last night.'
Not on the evidence of last night? Well, what other f**king starting XI were you talking about? Christ.
Headline in The Sun: 'ROB: WE'VE NO CHANCE'
Quotes from Roberto Mancini: "We are young. Chelsea are top in the Premier League because they are a top team. They are 80 per cent to go through."
Mediawatch may have flunked maths, but even we can work out that Mancini gives Galatasaray a 20% chance.
Journalism In 2014
Headline on the Daily Mail's football site: 'Neymar takes to Instagram to show off rippling body alongside Alves and Adriano'.
Below, Graeme Yorke writes: 'Barcelona may be stuttering in the Spanish title race but Neymar can't resist showing off his body after a training session in the gym.
'He posted a picture on his Instagram alongside fellow Brazilians Dani Alves and Adriano.'
That's it, Mediawatch is packing its bags. We've just had too much of this s**t.
Said Mike Phelan on Manchester United's summer transfer plans: "Playing in the Champions League is always an issue. There's always competition for big players, whether you're in Europe or not.
"It might be a situation where David Moyes has two shopping lists - one for being in Europe and one for not."
Eleven games left in the Premier League, 11 points to make up in the race for fourth, and a performance so horrendous against Olympiakos that it's impossible to think anything is going to change soon.
David Moyes needs that second shopping list as much as Mediawatch needs the one it has prepared for when Scarlett Johansson finally agrees to come round for tea. Mmmmm, Viennetta.
Spot The Odd One Out
'Mel Losing Grip At Hawthorns' - the Daily Mail.
'Methods Leave Mel's Future In Doubt' - The Times.
'MELtdown. West Brom boss battles to survive as players condemn his tactics' - The Sun.
'EXCLUSIVE: Mel On The Brink' - the Daily Mirror.
Description Of The Day
'Chelsea's most potent attacking threat is against the unpredictable charm of former Arsenal full back Eboue' - the Daily Mail.
Antithesis Of The Day
'That shouldn't come as a surprise because that is exactly what United are right now. They are average in the extreme.' - Tony Cascarino in The Times.
Worst Intro In The History Of Intros
Writes Neil Custis in The Sun: 'Manchester United's disastrous season was lying in ruins last night after they were humiliated in Athens. Things went from kebab to worse for David Moyes as Old Trafford fans called for the boss to be sacked just eight months into his reign.'
Take a week off, Neil. Take all the weeks off.
Worst Headlines Of The Day
'Cina Last Of Traore' - the Daily Mirror.
'I'm Phelan Confident For Future' - the Daily Mirror.
'Greece Is The Worst' - the Daily Mirror.
Who's the new sub?
'Mousacka For Moyes. Clock ticking after pitta-ful United's Greek tragedy' - The Sun.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A Chinese bank clerk was caught on CCTV laughing at an incompetent bank robber who threatened her with a meat cleaver - despite the fact that she was hidden behind an unbreakable security barrier.
'Dozy robber De Ke, 28, also stopped mid-robbery in Shanghai to answer a his mobile phone, leaning against the glass to tell whoever it was that he was busy and to call back later.
'Bank clerk Rong Ku, 41, told local media: "I might have taken it seriously if he'd had a gun as you never know really if the security glass will stop a bullet, but I knew he had no chance of getting through with a meat cleaver.
'"It was a bizarre situation and I just had to laugh, especially when he took a telephone call in the middle of the robbery.
'"He said 'this is a robbery' in a really quiet voice and then asked me to hold on while he took a phone call."
'As he shouted down the phone, a security guard intervened, allowing another customer to disarm the robber before police arrived on the scene.' - orange.co.uk
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