The Page That Has An Achilles Heel

Mark Lawrenson defends his friend in a national newspaper, Robbie Savage gets credit for his changing opinions and Neil Ashton is clinging onto Tim...

Last Updated: 17/03/14 at 12:16

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Sav The Soothsayer
Robbie Savage was given - and gratefully received with predictable amounts of modesty - large amounts of credit on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday afternoon for predicting that Manchester United would finish outside the top four.

Which is odd. Because his pre-season predictions for the Daily Mirror had Manchester United finishing in third and his updated September predictions ('Here is my FINAL forecast of who will finish where. No going back on this pecking order, I will stand or fall by this table') still had them finishing third.

It was only at the end of October - when Manchester United were in eighth and five points shy of fourth - that Savage adjusted his predictions and said United would finish fifth. Though in December he was hedging his bets again and saying 'fourth place is between Everton, Liverpool, Spurs, United'.

He has a gift.

Magic Number
'I lost count of the amount of times Van Persie was flagged offside,' writes Alan Hansen in the Daily Telegraph. Come on Alan, you have three fingers.

Oggy Oggy Oggy
Mark Ogden has detailed 'five reasons for United's slide' in the Daily Telegraph, but we cannot help thinking he has omitted a sixth: Ignoring Ogden's January suggestion that they buy Joleon Lescott.

You've Got A Friend
Mark Lawrenson makes a case in the Daily Mirror for none of this Manchester United business (and when we say 'business', we mean them being utterly useless) being David Moyes' fault. Mostly on the grounds that he works really very hard indeed. Which is obviously all it takes to be successful in one of the biggest jobs in world football.

'David will be devastated inside over all this,' writes Lawrsenson. 'He won't regret taking the job because you don't turn down Manchester United. But he will be hurting because he is a man who takes pride in his work.

'He'll be first into the office every day before any of his staff, last out at night. I know for a fact that he hardly sees his family because he is out everywhere scouting players, particularly abroad.'

And why does he know that 'for a fact'? Well, the answer lies on website Mancunian Matters, who spoke to Lawrenson about Moyes in May:

'And Lawrenson, who considers the ex-Everton boss a friend, is convinced Moyes has the qualities necessary to succeed at the highest level.'

Ah. Oddly enough, the headline on Lawro's column in the Daily Mirror does not read 'Man Defends Friend'. It really should.

Mediawatch Mourns
Antony Kastrinakis' column in The Sun is no longer tagged 'World football uncovered'.

Today we wear black.

What A Difference Three Months Make
Neil Ashton, December 19, Daily Mail: 'To fund their ambitious project, Joe Lewis, the club's principle owner, is relying on the riches from regular Champions League football. All they need is a manager to guide them there. Step forward, Tim Sherwood.'

Neil Ashton, March 17, Daily Mail: 'This is a great club, an iconic feature of English football and yet it feels like we are about to speak of Tottenham in the past tense...these are not Sherwood's players, they may not even be the choice of Andre Villas-Boas, but someone has to take responsibility for squandering £110million on purchases last summer.'

We thought all they needed was a manager (who wasn't Andre Villas-Boas), Neil.

The Timinator
Paul Jiggins in The Sun: 'We all know Sherwood is a passionate fella. But when you are a manager of any football simply cannot behave like that. What message did Sherwood's reaction send out to those above - and below him yesterday?'

Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail: 'At least Sherwood gets the intensity and the passion, vicariously living through every pass, every feint and every goal chance on the touchline. How else could you explain his manic behaviour in the technical area?'

When The Sun is the voice of reason, you know you've lost all sense of perspective.

Formation Dancing: A Return
Neil Ashton, the Daily Mail, January 30: 'On Sherwood's watch this side will play 4-4-2, or a variation of it, as part of his masterplan to turn Tottenham into a top-four team.'

Gilet Lady Lay
We would have thought the middle-class readers of the Daily Express would be familiar with the concept of a gilet. Chief sports writer John Dillon obviously does not share our faith.

He bizarrely writes about Sherwood throwing down his 'trademark sleeveless jacket' and then, when forced to use the word 'gilet' in Sherwood's own quotes, he thinks it merits an explanation:

"It was too hot for the gilet (the sleeveless jacket) anyway."

Thanks but Mediawatch would rather have an explanation for Dillon's use of the word 'illiterate' when describing anybody who did not recognise Emmanuel Adebayor's work-rate. Surely he doesn't think 'illiterate' is a synonym for 'stupid'? Oh he does. As you were.

Attention To Detail
The Daily Mirror's Jeremy Butler obviously allowed Burnley's Scott Arfield to dictate the narrative from the Clarets' 2-1 win over Leeds and he duly obliged by saying that Ashley Barnes was 'brilliant' in the absence of top scorer Danny Ings.

Butler then backed up Arfield's quotes by claiming the former Brighton man 'stepped in superbly'. What Butler then forgot to do was change his player ratings; surely the 'superb' and 'brilliant' Barnes should have got more than a 5?

Quote Of The Day
"George Boyd wouldn't do that, no chance. Not deliberately, anyway. He is as honest as they come - he was playing non-league six years ago" - Steve Bruce. Because nobody spits in the notoriously gentlemanly arena of non-league football.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'ROS-LICKY' - The Daily Mirror. Olivier Giroud is showing his tongue in the accompanying photograph, you see.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Men would spend more than four hours having sex and only three and a half working during their 'ideal day' according to a new survey. Research has found that men would divide their ideal day spending four hours and 19 minutes making love, three hours and 36 minutes working, with three hours and 22 minutes set aside for seeing friends and family.They would also spend two hours and 38 minutes eating and drinking, while grooming would only take up 29 minutes. The study also found that men would spend the rest of their remaining time on their ideal day sleeping' - The Daily Mail. So when exactly are they reading F365?

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