The man, the legend
You remember Bryan Roy, right? He had three decent seasons at Nottingham Forest – forming a prolific-ish partnership with Stan Collymore – in the mid-90s which coincided with the end of his 32-cap Dutch career.
He did of course go to three major tournaments with the Netherlands – sitting on the bench for the entirety of the 1990 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals of Euro 92 without scoring a single goal and then starting the 1994 World Cup before being dropped to the bench. He eventually retired from football having won a UEFA Cup with Ajax and absolutely nothing else.
You remember Bryan Roy, right? Would you describe him as a ‘DUTCH legend’? Would you balls. Well, unless you had to conjure up a back page and you had quotes from him saying that Manchester United play ‘crap’ football, of course…
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) March 21, 2018
With nine goals in 32 games for his country, England’s equivalent of Bryan Roy is Mark Hateley. Is there a desperate Dutch paper calling him an ‘England legend’ this week?
We know it’s international week but…
Headline on the Mirror online: ‘Alexis Sanchez responds to claims he eats on his own in Manchester United canteen with defiant Instagram post.’
Couple of things…
1) The ‘defiant’ post apparently shows a picture of Alexis Sanchez eating at a table with his Chile teammates. If he’s ‘responding to claims he eats on his own in Manchester United canteen’, it’s a pretty bloody sh*t response.
2) We cannot see the post anywhere on Alexis Sanchez’s Instagram feed.
Apart from that, it’s sodding excellent work.
But that’s not the biggest story in football on this bright Thursday morning. According to Mirror Sport it’s this:
‘The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt has finally convinced Jose Mourinho that he’s serious about playing for Manchester United.’
Thankfully the Manchester Evening News have the inside track so do not have to rely on spurious quotes from Usain Bolt for ‘news’. And this is big…
‘It’s understood Mourinho decided on certain United players’ futures before the Sevilla debacle. There will be no knee-jerk reaction to that game.’
Wow. And there we were thinking that he would have watched the only defeat his Manchester United side has suffered in their last seven games and immediately decided to bin the lot. But then we do not have any ‘contacts’ at Old Trafford at all so we ‘understand’ very little.
Let’s read the full story…
‘Jose Mourinho wants to ship out at least six Manchester United players in the summer transfer window.
‘M.E.N. Sport understands Mourinho had decided on certain players’ futures before the shambolic Sevilla defeat last week and has already informed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward of which players he wants to strengthen the squad.’
They then go on to name Michael Carrick (who has already announced his retirement), Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Andreas Pereira and Luke Shaw as the players involved in ‘a more drastic player overhaul’ than previous summers.
The eagle-eyed among you will spot that only one of those seven players actually played against Sevilla. In fact, only one of those seven players has started more than seven Premier League games this season. And that ‘one’ is a player who has actually turned down a new contract at Manchester United.
So Mourinho basically ‘wants to ship out’ a handful of fringe players and another wants to ship himself out. That really is a ‘drastic player overhaul’.
It doesn’t get bigger than this…
‘Sky Sports pundit makes huge top four prediction: One team is ‘untouchable’’ screams the Express website. Oh my word, what has Ray Wilkins (for it is he) said?
He’s said that ‘Arsenal are gone’. Because they are 13 points adrift. It’s absolutely HUGE.
Listen, let me tell you a secret…
Is ‘secret’ the new ‘revealed’? On the Express football homepage:
‘Arsenal news: Jack Wilshere makes secret Gary Neville revelation.’
Apparently, ‘ARSENAL midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed that Gary Neville was the brain behind his positional change.’
Sssssh. Don’t tell a soul.
And then there’s this…
‘Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho had secret reason for blasting Luke Shaw – nobody expected it’
And what is that ‘secret reason’ that nobody was expecting?
Well, we have to get to the ninth paragraph to get a hint of this great secret (well, you do have to hide secrets) but then it is revealed…
‘The Manchester Evening News say Mourinho may have had a secret reason for blasting Shaw.
‘And that is because he possibly wanted to give the defender something to think about over the international break.’
Well, we all know that they have the (secret) inside track.
Let’s. Play. Darts
Long-time readers of Mediawatch will know we have long been amused by the Daily Mail’s Charles Sale and his obsession with the England players’ refusal to divulge details of their darts competition during Euro 2016.
The fact that there is a dartboard in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel at St George’s Park has given Sale the opportunity for yet another reprise…almost two years since his feelings were so hurt by Joe Hart and his point-blank refusal to tell him which England squad members could throw a good arrow.
He now writes:
‘Darts is the most intriguing feature because the England players’ bizarre refusal to give any details of their darts competition at Euro 2016 became a running joke.
‘The players did not understand that such trivial information helps feed the hungry media beast during a tournament and might deflect attention from more important scrutiny.
‘The two big enforcers in keeping the arrows results strictly in-house in France were James Milner, who has retired from international football, and Joe Hart, who is uncertain to be picked.’
We are very much enjoying the suggestion that the darts ‘enforcers’ have got their comeuppance. Bullseye.
Recommended reading (and viewing) of the day
Priya Ramesh on Ronald Koeman and Netherlands.
Tifo Football on Cardiff City.
Bobby McMahon on Manchester City’s club network.
Planet Sport Quizzes:
Test your knowledge on the Miami Open (Tennis365)
Test your Australian Grand Prix knowledge (Planet F1)