A new high for online sensationalism
‘Manchester United news: This incredible Man City fact suggests Red Devils are historically average’ – Talksport.com.
That ‘incredible fact’? ‘Manchester City have more league winning managers in their history than their city rivals who wear red’.
Mediawatch suspects that winning 20 league titles (the most in English football history and 16 more than Manchester City’s four) requires an awful lot of statistic massaging to make United look ‘historically average’.
All this for a shirt?
Now Mediawatch is not saying that we are doubting The Sun’s exclusive on Mesut Ozil being prepared to stay at Arsenal if he gets the No. 10 shirt, but…
– The story (online version) is written by a Matt Heath-Smith, whose Twitter bio describes himself as ‘Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V at The Sun Newspaper’. Now we also aren’t saying that Heath-Smith doesn’t have contacts with Ozil…but it does require a leap of faith.
– The paper version of the story – an exclusive, remember – is attributed to Carl Long. That’s particularly harsh on Heath-Smith given that Carl Long doesn’t actually exist. If it’s Heath-Smith’s story (and you namechecked him online), why not give him credit. Unless…well.
– Given that the story over Ozil wanting Wilshere’s shirt number first came out in 2016 and that Ozil even said himself he wanted it in January, it’s not quite an exclusive. Bloody Carl Long.
Lower the ceiling of ambition
‘JOSE MOURINHO has told his Manchester United players to do the Double this season. He said their aim had to be to win the Premier League and FA Cup and at least reach the last eight of the Champions League. But as Sunsport today reveals, Mourinho was so confident of what this squad could do he had raised the bar ahead of the new season’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, August 23.
‘Jose Mourinho is heading for a clash with the Manchester United board over further backing in the transfer market… he is concerned he may not get the funds he needs to boost his squad in the New Year and next summer. While United stand second in the league, they have fallen eight points behind their noisy neighbours’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, November 8.
So Mourinho thought the squad was good enough to win the double until the point he stopped getting the best out of them? And now he suddenly needs new players? Excellent.
Time of your life
On Tuesday evening, Paul Merson appeared on Sky Sports’ football show The Debate to discuss the possibility of Diego Simeone becoming Everton manager. You may not be surprised to learn that Merson thinks Simeone will be bang up for coming to England:
“This is where it has taken Simeone now. People are saying he might be a bit big for the club but he’s been around a long time, Atletico Madrid are not the team they were and they are falling behind a bit.”
Atletico have been poor in the Champions League this season, and are under a transfer ban, but they are level on points with Real Madrid in La Liga. It’s hardly a disaster and, even if Atletico are struggling, that is only in comparison with their exceptional recent achievement.
“He’ll look at the Premier League and think ‘right, I’m not going to be manager of Liverpool, Man City or Arsenal, maybe Chelsea’ and all of a sudden, Everton are the next best thing. Even with where they are, they are the next biggest club with money and big wages, then he’s in the Premier League.”
Fair enough. We don’t quite agree that the Premier League is that much of a draw that elite managers will take jobs at non-elite clubs just to be a part of English football, but it’s an opinion.
“Everybody wants to be in the Premier League now. Spanish teams are kicking off at 11.30am now to try and get the market, but we don’t have to in England. The Premier League is where everybody wants to be.”
Ah. See what you’ve done there, Paul, is overlook the concept of time differences. Just because La Liga games kick off at 11am on your television in England, it doesn’t mean that it’s also morning in Spain.
The earliest time games kick off in Spain is 12pm – exactly the same as the Premier League.
Treating me like a Rose
‘Is it just me or is it a bit weird that Mauricio Pochettino, the manager of a club which guards its privacy so jealously that it fines players two weeks’ wages for speaking their minds, throws his doors open to become the subject of a vanity book,’ asks The Sun’s Dave Kidd in Wednesday’s paper.
We’re sure this defence is nothing at all to do with you being the man to whom Danny Rose spoke, Dave, but Rose was disciplined for publicly talking up a move away from the club and insisting he wasn’t paid enough on the eve of a new season. It wasn’t him ‘speaking his mind’ on the best restaurants in north London or why Blue are the best pop group of all time.
Had Pochettino said the same in his book, you might have a point. Had Rose merely talked about what made him tick as a footballer, you might also have a point. As it is…
At 7.02pm on Monday evening, Sky Sports News sent the following tweet:
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 6, 2017
There is no suggestion that those sources were unreliable and unfounded, but we can assume that the news provoked a number of bets to be placed on Allardyce to be named Everton’s next manager. His price on SkyBet moved from 8/13 to 1/6 by the end of the day.
By Tuesday afternoon, Allardyce confirmed that there had been no contact with Everton over taking over the manager’s position. Either he was telling porkies, or Sky’s sources had got it wrong.
Still, at least all those bets got placed…
‘There is an ignominious history around the only other time England have played at home in a blue shirt as they will against Germany at Wembley, which was revealed by Sports Agenda on Monday. It was also against Germany, on December 4, 1935, at White Hart Lane, where the Nazi swastika flag flew above the stadium and the German team raised their arms in a ‘Heil Hitler’ salute’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.
Interesting history lesson. Still, Mediawatch thought that a Daily Mail journalist of all people might avoid dragging up the actions and behaviour of 1935 in reference to the present day. The German national team weren’t the only ones backing the Nazis back then, were they? Now that really was an agenda.
‘Reveal’ of the day
‘Any player would want to come to Barcelona: Suarez reveals why Coutinho WAS tempted by summer switch’ – Mirror Football.
Erm…yeah. Hence why he tried to engineer a move for three months.
Hot take of the day
Withdrawing on Remembrance Week with the slightest injury. Go and join HM Forces with those injuries and you’ll be laughed at.
— Mike Tuttiett (@Tutts558) November 7, 2017
And none of them have re-named their children ‘Poppy’. The b*stards.
Recommended reading of the day
Kat Lucas on FK Obilić, a warlord and his popstar wife.
Nick Ames on English managerial success Graham Potter
James Ducker on Northern Ireland’s last trip to the World Cup
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