Better recognise when I see you
The Daily Mail’s back oage (yes, the back page) story concerns Steven Gerrard at Liverpool training.
Couple of things:
1) If you’re going to describe Gerrard as ‘all smiles’, it probably makes sense to use a photo of him smiling.
2) Jurgen Klopp wearing a scarf and his hood up does not make him ‘barely recognisable’. It makes him look like Jurgen Klopp wearing a scarf with his hood up.
Tim talking guff? Mediawatch can’t believe it…
Coman feel the noise
You might not believe this, but Arsene Wenger has mentioned missing out on signing a player who is now doing very well indeed. Knock us down with a feather.
“We really tried to sign Kingsley Coman in the summer of 2014. The transfer was almost completed,” Wenger told BeIn sports on Monday evening.
Add him to the list:
– “It’s true, it’s just that he [Messi] didn’t want to move. In the end, he was comfortable at Barcelona.”
– “I would have loved to have managed Didier Drogba, for two reasons. One, I missed him when he played at Le Mans in France, not even in the top league. I knew there was a good player there and I missed him.”
– “My biggest regret? I was so close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo. And not only did I not get him, but he signed for Manchester United.”
– “It would be up at the top [of my list of regrets]. But let’s not forget that Yaya Toure had an agreement with us – and it’s not because we did not want to sign him that he went to Ukraine.”
– “He [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] was here at the training ground, and then went somewhere else. He was 16, I asked him to have some training with the first team. He did not want to do it and I did not sign him”
– “Things happened very quickly. We were interested in him [Paul Pogba]. We tried to get him to come here.”
– “I have been offered many players, like Petr Cech, who could have done well for us. Claude Makelele was close to signing for us, Samuel Eto’o too. I missed a few.”
– “He [Raphael Varane] was at Lens, and we might well have caught him there. Yet at the same time, when you are in charge of a club like Arsenal, you have to wonder why this player is not playing for us.”
– “We could have got Ronaldinho before he went to PSG.”
Sure, Arsene. That’ll make them feel better.
It’s good to talk
The Daily Star’s Jeremy Cross has a Manchester United ‘exclusive’ on Tuesday. It’s not as good as his last one (‘EXCLUSIVE: Cristiano Ronaldo set to return to Old Trafford’ – for Wayne Rooney’s testimonial), but bear with us.
Cross has quotes from a source at Manchester United on the future of Ander Herrera. “His situation appears to be getting worse and he’s worried his career is going backwards, so there will have to be a chat with the manager,” the source says.
By the time the quotes hit the inside back page of Tuesday’s Daily Star, ‘a chat’ has become ‘a big chat’. Like a conversation, you mean?
By line three in the Star’s story, ‘a big chat’ has become ‘Herrera planning to discuss his future’.
By the first line in the story, ‘planning to discuss his future’ has become ‘showdown talks’.
By the headline, ‘showdown talks’ have become ‘crunch talks’.
The poor guy only wanted a bloody chat.
Winter of discontent
Strange stuff from Henry Winter on the usually-excellent Times The Game podcast yesterday. Here’s Winter on Jamie Vardy:
“The reason why Vardy had the electronic tag was that, as he says, he was standing up for a friend who was being verbally abused outside a pub, a friend who had hearing difficulties, so that’s Jamie’s story. But the fact is that he had to wear an electronic tag and there was a 6 o’clock curfew, so there were games where he was taken off midway through the second half and had to sort of sprint out, jump over a fence, pop into his parents’ waiting car and make sure he was back home in time for the curfew.
“Being rejected by Sheffield Wednesday… for being too small… having to work, to live in the normal world, as a ‘civilian’, as footballers would call it… all of that has just added to this momentum, this desire, this reaction to adversity that is seeing him breaking records.
“If you stand close to Jamie Vardy… he is just so fit, he is so gaunt, he can just run and run and run. He’s a great role model for millions of kids.”
Oh yes, praise be to Jamie Vardy for going through the “adversity” of an assault conviction and wearing an electronic tag.
Still, he’s a “great role model for millions of kids”. If you ignore the racism and assault conviction.
October 23, 2015: Manchester City included on tour laid on by David Cameron and George Osborne for the visit of Chinese VIPs.
October 23, 2015: Sun Jihai inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame, a decision coinciding with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping visiting the National Football Museum.
December 1, 2015: £265m Chinese investment in Manchester City announced.
Happy coincidences, as far as the eye can see.
Stand by your man
‘Monk still the man to rescue us,’ reads the Daily Mirror’s headline. That’s according to left-back Neil Taylor.
Actual quotes from Taylor: “There is speculation about the manager but we’ll just carry on as we are. We got back to how we wanted to play at Liverpool so we’re happy with that. We turned the corner in terms of performance at Anfield. Overall we can be proud of what we did.”
‘Manchester United prepare transfer bid for Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, Liverpool keen’ – Metro, 9.40am, December 1.
“Sorry to kill your stories, but we are not looking for a new goalkeeper. I am absolutely satisfied with our goalkeepers” – Jurgen Klopp, 12.05pm, December 1.
Assumptions proved correct after less than three hours. How lovely.
Bold shout of the day
‘Newcastle United need to give Kevin Keegan a final fling… Steve McClaren just doesn’t get it’ – Adrian Durham, MailOnline.
He cares about the club, you see. Which definitely worked for Alan Shearer.
Harrowing quote of the day
“You’ve got to realise I’m half cut anyway, sitting in the living room, I’ve got about six lines lined up. I’m not realising much but a good line and me and Raoul Moat are sort of friends. A couple more lines and we are good buddies.
“A few whiskies, another few lines, I’ve had about eight lines and we went to school together. Another line and I have a couple of fishing rods and a chicken. He’s going to need a drink. I’ve had 14 lines now and he’s my brother. ‘You know in the morning when you panic the first thing you do is look at your mobile.
“[In the morning] I’ve got 250 missed calls, I was like — what have I done? I’ve got a chicken by my side, fishing rods, a Barbour, I’m like f*** me I must have done something. I turn on Sky News — Paul Gascoigne was there last night” – Paul Gascoigne.
(Really) Laboured intro of the day
‘The Groundhog will poke its nose out of hibernation on February 2. By then Manchester United fans will know whether the sun could be shining on them for the rest of the season or if there will be a distinctive gloominess about the place.
‘Right now for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, read Carrington, Manchester. It was in Punxsutawney, in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, that Bill Murray found himself in a never-ending cycle of despair. And the United players know how he feels. It is a similar situation for the fans who travel home and away and feel they are living the same boring occasions week in week out.
‘The definition of Groundhog Day in a Google search gives you this: “A situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way.” Murray’s character in the film, Phil Connors, finally ended his repetitive torment by changing his ways — there are no indications that Luis van Gaal is about to do the same for his squad and United’s faithful fans’ – Neil Custis, The Sun.
Does the phrase ‘Groundhog Day’ really still need to be exhaustively explained?
Headline of the Day
‘Sickness & Delph’ – Daily Mirror.
Worst tagline of the day/week/ever
‘Cash splash bashed’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Swiss Ramble on Stoke City
David Squires on Diego Costa and tantrums
Barney Ronay on Arsenal’s injuries
Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Steven Chicken. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.