From The Independent website. Just don’t open your legs, Louis.
Mediawatch really, really bloody loves Fridays. There has generally been no football on Thursday night and no major press conferences on Thursday afternoon, so Friday morning’s back pages are chock-full of
exclusives spurious sh*te.
This Friday is a classic of the genre with The Sun mocking up Louis van Gaal as Obi-Wan Kenobi for a ‘MAY THE 4TH BE WITH ME’ vibe. Their ‘exclusive’ from Charlie Wyett is that ‘LOUIS VAN GAAL believes he will keep his job if they finish in the top four’.
No quotes. No insight. No idea.
A reminder that this is what Charlie Wyett told Sunday Supplement on December 27: “Van Gaal has handled the situation badly. He lost the players a few weeks ago and he’s lost the majority of the fans now.
“He doesn’t know what to do, he is panicking and it’s reflecting in his team. He has handled the whole situation badly, last week, for example, when he tried to turn everything on the media and walking out of his press conference.
“Maybe that worked temporarily and he got a few more fans behind him but ultimately United are a mess on the pitch.
“I thought United would stumble on to the end of the season with Van Gaal and look to make a change then, but now it looks as though it’s days, maybe a couple of weeks [until he leaves].”
Does that sound like a man who has an ‘in’ to Louis van Gaal’s secret thoughts? Or does it sound like a man who was desperate for a back page?
On Tuesday, The Sun’s Neil Custis told us that ‘SunSport understands United chiefs have spoken to representatives of the Tottenham boss about succeeding Louis van Gaal’.
As Mediawatch was happy to point out, Pochettino actually has no representatives.
By Friday, those ‘representatives’ have been downgraded.
Charlie Wyett writes: ‘Connections of Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino have also been sounded out.’
Connections? By Monday it will be ‘acquaintances’.
Slow boat to China
The Sun, November 24: ‘FORMER England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has urged Wayne Rooney to join him in China. SunSport exclusively revealed today how Chinese football chiefs are plotting a big-money move for the Manchester United star.’
The Daily Mail, December 11: ‘Wayne Rooney is being offered an eye-watering £75million deal to be reunited with Sven Goran Eriksson in China. The Chinese Super League want the Manchester United striker to become their poster boy and are ready to give the 30-year-old a three-year contract worth up to £25m per season.’
The Daily Mirror, February 12: ‘SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON claims Wayne Rooney is the next big-money target for China’s football revolution.’
John Cross there with the ‘what the f*** are we putting on the back page?’ Friday ‘exclusive’.
To be fair, the Daily Mirror’s Chief Football Writer John Cross is certainly earning his corn. Not one, not two but three ‘exclusives’ on this desperate Friday:
1) ‘SVEN: CHINESE WANT ROO NEXT’ – an ‘exclusive’ story only three months old.
2) ‘LVG: Top four can save me’ – an ‘exclusive’ to the Daily Mirror AND an ‘exclusive to The Sun? What a coincidence on that day that Louis van Gaal actually spoke exclusively to The Independent.
3) ‘CITY STARS FEAR PELL MELTDOWN’ – yes, unashamed Arsenal fan Crossy is claiming an ‘exclusive’ on City players (all of them?) being worried for the ‘drawn and pale’ Pellegrini.
Thierry Henry's picked his top four combined XI…thoughts?
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) February 12, 2016
Mediawatch’s ‘thoughts’ are that picking no members of the best defence in the Premier League is mental. Thanks for listening.
Is this the worst intro ever?
‘MANUEL PELLEGRINI was out-Foxed. Now he could be Trippier-ed up in the title race’ – Who else but The Sun’s comedy Cockney Paul Jiggins?
‘WHAT I’M HEARING…’ is Neil Ashton’s sidebar to his Daily Mail column that is designed to showcase his range of contacts.
What he is hearing this week – aside from his own club Crystal Palace planning a warm weather break and Remi Garde apparently losing weight – is that ‘ROY HODGSON is giving serious consideration to starting Jamie Vardy in one of next month’s warm-up games against Germany and Holland’.
The England manager is ‘giving serious consideration’ to starting the Premier League’s current top scorer in the first England game for which he has been available since he started against Lithuania? Is he also ‘giving serious consideration’ to starting Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Harry Kane?
‘It proved to be another tough round of predictions last time out with the Magic Man managing just one correct score and two correct results’ – Sky Sports website.
Tough? Mediawatch thinks the word you are looking for there is ‘sh*t’.
Paul Merson: The truth
From this week’s predictions on the Sky Sports website:
* ‘If I’m being honest, I don’t see Spurs winning this game.’
* ‘Sunderland, meanwhile, will have felt they did well against Man City, despite losing, and then they got a lucky draw at Liverpool if I’m being honest.’
* ‘Despite drawing at Swansea last time out, Palace have got to start winning games to stop the rot. Neither side are in particularly good form if I’m being honest…’
* ‘I don’t see Swansea scoring if I’m being honest, they’ve been so uncertain at the back I just see Saints winning.’
For the 427th time: DO NOT JUST WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING HE SAYS, IF WE’RE BEING HONEST.
Oh Lawro. Tasked by BBC Sport with predicting the result of Norwich v West Ham (currently marooned in 18th in a league table constructed from his predictions while sixth in the actual table), this is what the man said:
‘West Ham are another team that had 120 minutes of FA Cup football in midweek, with their extra-time win over Liverpool on Tuesday.
‘The Hammers are not playing that well anyway, but fatigue from that tie is part of the reason I am backing Norwich here, despite the Canaries’ dismal form that has seen them lose five league games in a row and drop into the bottom three.’
That’s right, he is backing Norwich (conceded 16 goals in their last five Premier League games) to beat West Ham (two defeats in 12 Premier League games), partly because the Hammers are ‘not playing that well anyway’.
What’s more, he is backing Norwich (conceded 16 goals in their last five Premier League games) to beat West Ham 2-0.
Mental image of the day
There is little that makes Mediawatch more uncomfortable than reading these words from Jeff Powell on MailOnline: ‘Football in empty stadia is like sex in a full-body condom. A sterile turn-off.’ Two thoughts:
a) Thanks. That’s made us think of Jeff Powell having sex.
b) He thinks a ‘full body condom’ is a thing. Bless.
Expert opinion of the day
“It is still important to score first in any game – statistically you have a much better chance of winning” – Danny Murphy, BBC Sport.
Thanks for that.
The real victim
Headline in the Daily Star on the Adam Johnson story: ‘TOUGH TIME FOR BIG SAM.’
Yes, won’t somebody please think of the fat men.
Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Leicester not being a fairytale
Denis Hurley on the myth of the Man United No. 7 shirt
Jonathan Wilson comparing Leicester’s potential title win with other shocks
Thanks to Mediawatch spotter Matthew Long. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.