Mediawatch: Fergie, Wenger, Jose are not geniuses

Date published: Friday 2nd September 2016 12:09

Ask a simple question
‘Has Jose handed Schweinsteiger a second chance at United?’ – Metro.



Absolutely Savage
Let it never be said that Robbie Savage does not earn the vast sums of money he is paid. The following is a list of examples of the insight he offers in evaluating every Premier League club’s transfer window for the Daily Mirror:

On Burnley:

‘Jeff Hendrick is their record signing.’

Yes. Yes he is.

On Chelsea:

‘Kante for £32m was a bargain and will allow players like Hazard to attack more.’

Keep them coming, Robbie.

On Hull:

‘They finally got bodies in.’

Say what you see.

On Liverpool:

‘Gini Wijnaldum will make good runs from midfield.’

Thanks for that. ‘Maybe Jurgen Klopp needed a keeper too,’ Savage adds. Poor Loris Karius.

On Manchester United:

“They’ll be right up there this season.”


On Swansea:

“Par for the course. Doesn’t excite me. It is just OK.”

That whole article is 690 words long. That’s 34.5 words for each club. Wow.


Stan Collymore has got himself all worked up for the Daily Mirror. Why? Because people are calling Pep Guardiola a ‘genius’.

‘Pep Guardiola is confident, bordering on the messianically confident. And I don’t mind that,’ he writes.

‘What I do mind is people throwing the word ‘genius’ around where he is concerned, because I just don’t think he is.’

Fair enough, Stan. Seems a weird thing to take umbrage with; ‘genius’ is a throwaway word, as is another often used to describe Guardiola: Fraud. The meaning of both words have been diluted beyond recognition. But go on…

‘Yes, Manchester City ‘s new manager has an obsessive desire to find out how many systems he can master, how many players he can remind where they should be and how fit he can get them.

‘That is just good management, though — very, very good management. But it certainly isn’t genius.

”Genius’ is getting a team promoted from the second tier, winning the top division with them in your first year and then back-to-back European Cups in the next two seasons.

”Genius’ is Brian Clough.

‘And only when Guardiola — or Jose Mourinho, or Jurgen Klopp for that matter — have dropped down into the Championship and brought, say, a Blackburn or a Charlton back up and then hit the dizzy heights with them can they be bracketed alongside Old Big ’Ead.’

Mediawatch presumes, therefore, that Sir Alex Ferguson, with his 50 trophies as manager of St Mirren, Aberdeen and Manchester United, is not a ‘genius’. After all, he may have turned United into a superpower and helped Aberdeen win European silverware, but he never ‘dropped down into the Championship’ to do it.

Why stop there? Arsene Wenger: Genius? Pah. Jose Mourinho: Genius? No chance. Arrigo Sacchi: Genius? Are you kidding? Rinus Michels: Genius? Who? Bob Paisley: Genius? Nope. Alan Pardew: Genius? Now, that’s too far.

In fact, if the criteria a manager must reach in order to be labelled a ‘genius’ is to ‘drop down into the Championship’ and ‘bring a Blackburn or a Charlton back up and then hit the dizzy heights with them’, then very few indeed could ever be described as such. It’s as if a) you cannot use the same yardstick to judge every single manager throughout history, and b) you’ve just written 169 words (eat your heart out, Savage) getting angry because some people call a successful manager a ‘genius’.


Stanley knife
Mediawatch cannot quite fathom the following line from Collymore, discussing David Luiz in a separate article:

‘Luiz is a decent footballer. He’s a European champion, and I like him as a defensive midfielder.

‘But I can’t help but laugh that he has commanded more than £100m in transfer fees when he is one of the worst central defenders in Premier League history.’

Wait, what? He is ‘decent’, but ‘one of the worst central defenders in Premier League history’? Wow. Luiz has his obvious flaws, but ‘one of the worst central defenders in Premier League history’? He was a central-defensive starter for Chelsea when they won the Champions League in 2012, for a start.

You bloody genius, Stan. Oh, sorry.


Crossed wires
Now, forgive Mediawatch, but something of grave importance has come to our attention. It may be September 2, but we must revisit the August 21 edition of Sky Sports‘ Sunday Supplement. Oh, you thought returning to something from almost a fortnight ago was beyond even the d*ckishness of these pages? Not a bloody chance.

You see, John Cross said some things on this particular episode, and a chance to bring them up, however late, cannot be passed up.

We begin with the Daily Mirror‘s man discussing Sunderland manager David Moyes. “He was terrific for them,” he says of the Scot’s time with Everton. “He showed there what he can do as a really good, consistent manager, building a football club and always pushing for the top four, five and six places.”

So far, so good. Back to Crossy.

“I think that Manchester United just didn’t work for whatever reason,” he continues. “It probably taught him valuable lessons. And again, the Spanish experience was a bit of a disaster really.”

Almost immediately, Jonathan Northcroft of The Sunday Times jumps in. “No it wasn’t,” he states. “He beat Barcelona; they finished 12th in the league.”

Undeterred, Cross carries on. “He wasn’t happy,” he says. “It wasn’t a happy time, was it? It didn’t end well.”

“But it wasn’t a disaster,” Northcroft replies. “The average tenure there is about 18 months and he got 18 months. He could’ve learnt the language, but…”

With the ball in Cross’ court, the assembled journalists looked to him for his defiant response. Was this an argument he could win? Then came his retort.

“Yeah, I suppose.”



But that will not be Cross’ only Mediawatch appearance on Friday. Heck, this one is even from September!

‘Eddie Howe will spend the next 12 months taking his own managerial audition,’ is (Arsenal fan) Cross’ first paragraph to a horrifically patronising piece. One would have been forgiven for thinking that Howe will concentrate on Bournemouth this season. Instead, he is just hoping to impress Arsenal.

‘Bournemouth boss Howe is surely destined for big things in his career and his audacious loan signing of Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has made the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice,’ (Arsenal fan) Cross adds.

‘Now, other clubs will definitely be looking at how he manages Wilshere, on and off the pitch, to see if he can handle big-name players.

‘Arsenal will begin casting their eye around over the course of the season to make sure they have all bases covered should Wenger go next summer, and there are few better managerial prospects than Howe.

‘The 38-year-old’s style of football, determination to bring young players through and calm demeanour all fit Arsenal’s philosophy.’

They fit Bournemouth’s too. You know, the club he has managed since 2012, guiding them to back-to-back promotions and Premier League football. It is more than a little disrespectful to render the Cherries’ season a complete afterthought in Arsenal’s pursuit of a possible new manager.

Cross – an Arsenal fan, if you were not aware – ticks a number of buzzwords and phrases off his checklist: ‘Style’, ‘determination’, ‘philosophy’, ‘precise’, ‘vision’, ‘young English talent’, ‘sharp, interesting and vibrant’, ‘a scientific, modern approach’. Each is used with the purpose of making him seem a more and more suitable candidate for Arsenal.

‘Howe has convinced Wilshere to sign for Bournemouth,’ writes (Arsenal fan) Cross, as his job referencearticle draws to a close. ‘Can he now put an arm round his shoulder and also gee him up to get the best out of him?

‘If he can handle his audition this season and help guide Wilshere back to the top, then don’t bet against Howe ending up there himself.’

Seriously, ‘audition’. It would be difficult to insult Bournemouth further, stopping short of literally just telling them to f*** off and let Arsenal have him. Selfish b*stards.


Reyes against the machine
‘Lucas Perez names surprise forward as the Arsenal player he really admired,’ reads the Daily Express headline.

Is it Nicklas Bendtner? Julio Baptista? Park Chu-young?

No, it’s Jose Antonio Reyes. Spanish footballer who has joined Arsenal likes Spanish footballer who used to play for Arsenal? What ever next?


Judge dread
‘Arsene Wenger will be judged on Arsenal’s transfer window’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.

Either that, or, y’know he’ll be judged on how well Arsenal do on the pitch this season.


Headline of the day
‘Shaw frank redemption’ – Bravo, Daily Mirror.


Worst headline of the day
‘Sissy got his Spurs’ – Mark September 2, 2016 as the day Moussa Sissoko was awarded the worst nickname ever by The Sun.


Recommended reading of the day
Adam Crafton interviews Eder.

Simon Burnton on Germany 1-5 England.

Jonathan Wilson on Tottenham and Moussa Dembele.

More Related Articles