Mediawatch: Bale, Man United, Liverpool

Date published: Friday 15th January 2016 1:22

The most SEO-tastic URL ever?
The ever (well, usually) excellent Barney Ronay has written a blog on Tottenham Hotspur for the Guardian website. It’s called ‘Why Tottenham may be the least ‘Spursy’ team in recent Spurs history’.

The URL?

Yes, that’s Tottenham, Gareth Bale, money, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool crowbarred into one URL of a piece about Tottenham.

For the record, Manchester United are mentioned once in the piece, in the context of Tottenham’s post-Bale spending, which was ‘not Manchester United’s champagne-supernova binge of the past two years’.

For f***’s sake.


Banned on the run
The Sun’s
response to the transfer ban on Real Madrid was to ask Antony Kastrinakis to mine his wealth of contacts at Real Madrid to come with an ‘exclusive’ list of targets that the club could sign during the summer window if only they could sign players during the transfer window. This is ‘TRANSFER CHAOS’, a ‘£250m MAD DASH’ and shockingly, just a list of all the players we have been reading about over the last three months. Gasp as it is revealed that Real Madrid like Sergio Aguero! Be astounded as it is claimed that David De Gea is a target! P*** yourself laughing at the idea that this is an ‘exclusive’.

Meanwhile, over at the Daily Mail, this development is described as a ‘BALE BOMBSHELL’. Apparently the ‘Real ace’ is now ‘in limbo’. Hmmm. We’re pretty sure that Real Madrid not being able to buy any more players means that Bale is less in limbo than at any point over the last two years.

Wonderfully, the online version of that story has a box-out of players who will all be affected by the transfer ban. On that list is Harry Kane. He must be absolutely gutted that the fictional transfer he never wanted is now out of the question.


Are you labouring under the impression that Manchester United have done no transfer business this January? If you answered ‘yes’, then you are clearly not a reader of the Daily Express website.

From January 12: ‘Confirmed: Manchester United announce double January deal’

From January 11: ‘Confirmed: Manchester United complete move for midfielder’

From January 7: ‘Confirmed: Manchester United agree deal for January arrival’

From January 7: ‘Confirmed: Manchester United agree deal for striker’

It’s basically another binge.


Stay crassy
On Thursday The Sun’s Neil Custis appeared on TalkSport saying that Louis van Gaal calling him “fat man” was “crass and pathetic”. Which is bizarre as Custis can clearly be heard laughing and saying “thank you” when the Dutchman makes his throwaway remark at the end of Tuesday night’s press conference. And then he replied to a well-wisher on Twitter the very next day with ‘couldn’t care less…to be honest’. It’s almost like he only started caring when he sensed that he could eke rather a lot of mileage out of what was just a millisecond in the life of a clearly frustated Van Gaal.

Those words “crass and pathetic” seemed somehow appropriate when we saw the back page of The Sun on Friday:

‘Match of the weigh’

What’s that old journalism adage again? Is it ‘never become the story even if this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you and it means that you don’t have to write anything proper until this all dies down’?


How to win an argument
Talking of “crass and pathetic”…

Fall away
Mark Lawrenson has gamely responded to the West Ham fans who chanted his name on Tuesday night after he predicted yet another defeat for a team now fifth in the Premier League table:

‘It is all good fun, and I am really pleased they have continued to prove me wrong,’ he says in this week’s BBC predictions.

‘I thought their results would fall away after their good start, much like they did under Sam Allardyce last season, but they have picked up after a wobble where they did not win for eight games from the end of October.’

‘I thought they would slip down the table but instead they have won their past four games in the league and FA Cup, and I have to take my hat off to them.’

You thought they would ‘fall away’? You thought they would ‘slip down the table’. According to your predictions, they have been in 19th for much of the season. How much further could they frigging ‘fall away’?


Never a truer word
‘Liverpool can’t defend but they will have a go’ – Paul Merson, Sky Sports website.

Elsewhere, ‘Villa need to have a go, while Leicester always have a good go’.


‘Preferred media partner’ story of the day
‘FANS are being offered a FREE winter jacket by Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley…if Newcastle beat West Ham tomorrow. Ashley is offering the unprecented £59.99 giveaway which could turn every neutral into a Newcastle fan for the day’ – The Daily Mirror.

You can’t fool us; nothing costs £59.99 in Sports Direct.


Non-sequiturs of the day
‘Thibaut Courtois accused West Brom of “provoking” Chelsea – but a cure for the fading champions’ frustration is staring at them from the teamsheet.’

‘Although Courtois did have reasons to be frustrated by more dropped points at home (18 points of a possible 33 have gone begging at the Bridge), Chelsea’s reluctance to trust their academy graduates is baffling.’

At least we now have an answer to the question ‘what do you write when you have a bee in your bonnet about Chelsea not giving chances to Academy players but all you have are entirely unrelated quotes from Thibault Courtois?’

So thanks for that, Mike Walters of the Daily Mirror.


Stick to your story
John Cross, Daily Mirror, December 28: ‘Egyptian midfielder Elneny is a perfect fit for Arsenal as he is only 23, has good energy, is good value and his wages may also be cheaper than the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky who are all on big money.

‘The ageing trio could all go this summer with Arteta likely to be offered a coaching role within the club.

‘Elneny is not a classic holding midfielder and can be an asset to the squad in the long term without being just a short term fix while Francis Coquelin out injured.

‘Arsenal will still go for a bigger deal next summer with Southampton’s Victor Wanyama their No1 target as a holding midfielder.’

John Cross, Daily Mirror, January 15: ‘Gunners boss Wenger will follow up the deal for Elneny with a bigger more established midfielder in the summer with Southampton’s Victor Wanyama his No1 target.

‘Veteran trio Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky are all likely to go when their deals run out this summer.

‘Flamini is on £80,000-a-week, Rosicky is likely to want more regular games and Arteta is set to be offered a coaching role at the club.

‘That means Wenger sees Elneny as a long term member of the squad rather than just a quick fix January signing after he joined from Swiss club Basel.’

Why write something new when you can just change the order? It’s clearly one of the privileges of being a Chief Football Writer.


Tweet of the day

This would work so much better if he had not already actually won the league.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on Jurgen Klopp and Louis van Gaal

Michael Cox on John Obi Mikel

Nick Miller on 2015/16’s most underwhelming teams


Thanks to Luke Nuckley. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.

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