We begin with a delightful non-sequitur
Thought you’d heard the hottest take on Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United? Well think on, because the Daily Mail are here to tell you otherwise:
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 24, 2018
Erm, so what? Why does Sanchez’s new wage have any relevance to the current conditions of the town in which he was born? Mediawatch does enjoy the ‘…but the locals still love him’, as if Sanchez should be hated for being successful.
As for the insinuation that Sanchez has forgotten his roots, that’s very obviously not true. In 2015, he arranged for lorry loads of aid to be sent to his hometown of Tocopilla after the area suffered flooding.
“He hasn’t forgotten about his land and that’s why he wanted to be involved,” mayor Fernando San Roman said. “He spoke to us in order to send aid to the people of Tocopilla. We initially discussed bottled water, some basic first-aid products and clothing among other things and it’s already in the region.”
What a d*ck, eh.
(It should be said that the piece itself, by Pete Jenson, contains no hint of shaming Sanchez. Jenson might want to have a word with the Mail’s headline writers.)
Down with the Kidds
Mediawatch enjoys The Sun’s Dave Kidd when he’s angry, and there is no doubt that he is angry about Manchester United’s unveiling of Sanchez. Strap in.
‘Sanchez heads out on the turf, takes a deep breath, realises how parky the night air is in Manchester, opens his arms like Christ the Redeemer and plays a little more plinky-plonk on the old Joanna.
‘Somewhere, a social-media executive with angular hair and skinny jeans is preparing his acceptance speech for awards night.’
Damn that ‘angular'(?) hair and damn those jeans.
‘After the longest ‘next 48 hours’ in history, Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan finally swapped clubs, presumably taking so long so that United’s hipsters could sculpt their 30-second masterpiece to Michelangelo perfection.’
In Mediawatch’s experience, social media strategists and ‘hipsters’ are very different indeed. But please carry on.
‘United have signed a 29-year-old who wasn’t quite good enough for Barcelona. Arsenal have signed a 29-year-old Mesut Ozil-type player not quite as good as 29-year-old Mesut Ozil, presumably to eventually replace Ozil.’
Pow. Although Mkhitaryan is really not a ‘Mesut Ozil-type player’.
‘Television, which invented Richard Keys, and therefore Premier League football and therefore £25m-per-year footballers. Television, which must never be used to point out that a star player stinkbombed his own dressing room to such an extent that his team-mates no longer wished to celebrate his goals.
‘And this airbrushed blandness is what they think the public want — Sanchez, his multi-millionaire agent, Jose Mourinho and the United social media whizzes.’
Mediawatch loves it all, but we do feel a little sorry for those ‘social media whizzes’, and their ‘angular hair’. They were just doing their jobs, after all.
But you get what you give
Still, Kidd’s rant about the celebrification of football is well-timed. Look on the MailOnline football homepage at 10am on Wednesday morning, and what do we see at the top?
‘You can give old dogs new kits! United’s newest sup-paw-ters Atom and Humber meet owner Sanchez at the Lowry Hotel.’
Yes, Alexis Sanchez putting Manchester United shirts on his two dogs is the biggest story in football, apparently.
Now Kidd’s point is completely valid, but let’s not pretend that certain strands of the media haven’t fuelled this shift in focus from the centre stage (actual football) to the sideshow. In fact, they delight in it, and gleefully profit from it.
And I’m feline good
Do not think that is the only important update on Sanchez’s dogs on Wednesday. It would not surprise Mediawatch if MailOnline were paying Atom and Humber’s food and veterinary bills, such is the mileage they get out of them both. The latest is a doozy.
‘Alexis Sanchez leaves Lowry Hotel in £150,000 Bentley GT as he waits to find out if he will make Manchester United debut against Yeovil on Friday,’ is their latest headline, which you have to say is a very detailed edition of ‘man goes to work’.
‘’But there was no sign of the forward’s feline friends as he headed to United’s training base in his £150,000 car on Wednesday morning.’
a) Who on earth takes their dogs to football training?
b) Dogs are not cats.
Welcome to hell
Call Mediawatch a snowflake (honestly, join the long queue), but we have a real problem with the front page of The Sun’s Goals pull-out. It previews their interview with Newport County defender David Pipe with the sell:
‘Newport ace made it from prison hell to Spurs in the FA Cup’
The term ‘prison hell’ insinuates that this was something Pipe suffered unfairly. For the record, Pipe was jailed for 38 months for an unprovoked attack in which he smashed a glass bottle over a man’s head with such force that the victim was put on a life support machine for three days and left with a four-inch hole in his skull. That victim was an innocent bystander, and was left needing metal plates in his head.
Mediawatch is sure that prison was not pleasant for Pipe, and it’s great that he has been fully rehabilitated. But hasn’t Pipe less ‘made it from hell’ and more ‘stopped doing absolutely awful things’?
Off the top of his head
Mediawatch does enjoy it when Joey Barton comes up with something brash off the top of his head and then runs with his idea. That last sentence is not true.
“They’ve got to do something,” Barton told Talksport on the subject of managerial sackings, to which the obvious answer is ‘Why?’.
“We have a transfer window for players, I think we should have a managerial window, why not?”
That’s an idea that has been mooted before, so is hardly outlandish. But the idea of businesses only being able to get rid of employees at a certain time is laced with problems. What about gross misconduct? Is a manager allowed to resign? If so, what about mutual consent? What if a manager agrees that it is not working? Wouldn’t it lead to clubs playing it safe with every appointment, and so actually lead to even less opportunities for young coaches?
“If you sack a manager outside of that, that’s when there should be some kind of forfeit for it. Three points is not enough, I think six would be enough to make them think. It can be the difference between finishing in the Champions League places or not, and obviously the difference between staying up or going down.”
Or, managers can just be hired and fired as their employees see fit, and receive pay-offs if they do lose their jobs. After all, if clubs are sacking managers too quickly, then they will only harm themselves in the long term. The idea of points deductions for getting rid of under-performing employees just seems farcical.
A new low?
‘Man City Fred transfer ‘confirmed’ by Wikipedia’ – Manchester Evening News.
Mediawatch suspects that the Manchester Evening News knows perfectly well how Wikipedia works, but for clarity: it can be edited by users. As anyone scouring Football365 for ‘Story Time: An hour of each day which is dedicated to Daniel Story (sic) and his dramatic tales’ will know only too well. Who wants to read about him, for goodness sake?
So, someone changing Fred’s club in an image caption to say that he’s ‘playing for Manchester City in 2016’ is not just nonsensical, but absolutely not news. Particularly given that Wikipedia changed it back within 20 minutes.
We know there is a desperate need for hits, but come on now.
Best/worst headline of the day
The Sun with one of the worst attempts at a headline I’ve ever seen. pic.twitter.com/6CsDDwn8fX
— Joel Sked (@sked21) January 24, 2018
So appalling that it’s actually superb.
Recommended reading of the day
Louise Taylor on Phil Neville.
David Conn on football’s gambling culture.
Michael Cox on Alexis Sanchez.