Stand by your man
Mediawatch suspects that Neil Custis and The Sun enjoyed Diego Costa’s late equaliser on Sunday.
After lying lower than normal over the past fortnight, Custis is back with another ‘Man United exclusive’. Is it Van Gaal offering to quit? Or United about to appoint Jose Mourinho? Or have they both been forgotten?
‘Mauricio Pochettino could wreck Jose Mourinho’s dream of becoming Manchester United’s next manager,’ Custis writes. ‘SunSport understands United chiefs have spoken to representatives of the Tottenham boss about succeeding Louis van Gaal.’
Mediawatch wonders which of Pochettino’s representatives United are speaking to, given that Pochettino said this to the Guardian in December:
“It was very tough, and he won. I negotiated with him and now I am very strong. I don’t have an agent. He offered the contract and I say yes or no or I want more. He has a reputation as a very hard businessman? It’s true. I can feel that.”
We do at least look forward to seeing Louis van Gaal’s face when he reads this latest ‘exclusive’. WARNING: There will be weight jibes.
The kids are alright
Elsewhere in The Sun, Duncan Wright believes he has the answer to why Manchester United are leaning towards appointing Mauricio Pochettino. The wishes of Tottenham and Pochettino himself seem to be academic in all this. Which are the club in the title race again?
‘Manchester United’s desire to produce their own stars as well as signing ready-made players has seen Mauricio Pochettino become a serious candidate to become their next manager,’ Wright writes.
‘United don’t just want trophies. They regard themselves as a club unlike the rest, one that combines their vast financial might of the present with the traditions of the past. And central to that, especially among supporters, is how the club develop their own top class talent.’
So, who are three examples that Wright uses of Pochettino bringing players through Tottenham’s academy?
‘The Spurs boss saw something in defender Eric Dier… Harry Kane was nurtured from a squad player into an England striker, and Dele Alli has been encouraged to become a shining light.’
One outta three ain’t bad.
The life of Bryan
The Sun might have decided that it’s a two-way battle for the Manchester United job, but Bryan Robson has another answer. It’s a bloody predictable one.
“Ryan [Giggs] really can be the Pep Guardiola of United, I am sure of it,” Robson says. “They talk about Guardiola being intelligent and having a great football brain. Ryan is no different.”
He has a “football brain”? Well why did nobody say so? Sign him up.
“He represents Manchester United’s soul,” Robson continues. “He has been at the club since he was 13 and knows what is expected. There is no stand-out person who could do the job any better than Ryan.”
Rough translation: There is no player who I played with and get on with who could do the job any better than Ryan.
“Remember, Guardiola was untried as a top-line manager before Barcelona decided to give him a chance.”
Well, he had managed Barcelona’s B team for a season, winning the league and thus qualifying for the promotion play-offs. They then won those play-offs. And he wasn’t touted for the top job just by his mates in the club.
“The only way we are going to know if Giggsy can do the job is for him to be given it,” Robson concludes.
So having just explained why Giggs can be as good as Guardiola, Robson finally admits that he doesn’t know if he can do the job.
Still, worth a punt eh?
Quite the coup
Congratulations to the Daily Mail for their Jamie Carragher ‘exclusive’ about why he walked out of Anfield on Saturday.
That’s paid Sportsmail columnist Jamie Carragher. How did you twist his arm?
Salivation across the nation
In the Daily Mirror, Dave Kidd is awful glad that Leicester are doing well, because it stops this season from being a right s**t tip. We’re paraphrasing.
‘[We live in] A world in which grown men can salivate about Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho squaring up in Manchester next season,’ Kidd writes, citing one example of why football is going down the toilet.
‘This world of obscene wealth, entitlement, arrogance and delusion, fuelled by billions of pounds and infinite sacks of bulls**t, is the world Leicester City are gatecrashing.’
Mediawatch was interested to read that Kidd saw excitement over a possible Pep vs Jose battle as nauseating. After all, who wrote these words eight days ago?
‘When City confirmed football’s worst-kept secret on Monday, that Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini this summer, they became a truly global club. Guardiola is a game-changer in commercial, even more so than in footballing, terms.
‘There will be unease at Chelsea, who have just sacked the only manager to rival Guardiola’s pulling power. And also at Man United, who must now decide whether to recruit that same turbulent coach — Jose Mourinho, the sneering, smouldering anti-Pep.It will be difficult for United to resist that temptation now.
‘In footballing terms, the Reds are already Manchester’s second club . Can they allow the same to happen on the commercial front? To pit a managerial-rookie Ryan Giggs against Guardiola would look reckless.
‘Mourinho may end up thanking his nemesis Guardiola for inadvertently landing him the United job he has long coveted. The Catalan may well be more about style than substance, but sometimes it is all about the look.’
Sounds awful like ‘salivating’ to Mediawatch.
‘Infinite sacks of bulls**t’? Your words, not ours, Dave.
Lion back and thinking of England
‘The Premier League’s logo of a crowned lion is going to be replaced as part of their major rebranding exercise. Despite having a successful image globally, they are planning an overhaul to maximise having a clean brand with no title sponsor next season. Instead of long-time backers Barclays, the richest league in the world can afford to have a roster of secondary rights partners.
‘A creative agency will be appointed after a tender this month, with the brief to link all the PL’s various work under the new branding. And the dated logo, based on the original tie-up with the FA’s three lions, is going to be culled’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail, January 11.
Here is the Premier League’s new logo:
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 9, 2016
The crowned lion is about the only thing on the original logo not removed. Looks like all that #PrayingForCecil worked a treat.
Mediawatch enjoyed the Daily Mirror’s Chief Football Writer John Cross having his byline on a ‘Brendan Rodgers Q&A’, given that the story simply takes every single word of Rodgers’ interview on BeIn Sports.
We make that Chief Football ‘Transcriber’.
Take your pick
‘Is there a better dead-ball specialist in the Premier League than Sigurdsson?’ – Guardian, February 8.
‘Juan Mata beats David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo to title of Premier League’s most deadly free-kick taker’ – Daily Mail, January 21.
‘Chelsea star Willian is Europe’s finest free-kick taker’ – Daily Mail, November 24.
‘Jan Molby has named Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil as the Premier League’s best set-piece specialist’ – Metro, November 14.
‘Man City’s Yaya Toure is officially the Premier League player most likely to score from a direct free-kick’ – Daily Mirror, November 5.
‘Spurs midfielder Eriksen fast becoming Premier League’s free-kick king’ – Premierleague.com, October 7.
Set the Tone
Writes Tony Cascarino in The Times: ‘Will Leicester suffer from having no experience of winning the league? Robert Huth won the title at Chelsea, and Danny Simpson and Danny Drinkwater tasted success at Manchester United.’
Drinkwater and Simpson played three league games for United between them. If they did ‘taste success’, it was unlikely to be last long on the palate.
It’s in his DNA
‘As debate rages over whether Leicester winning the League would be a greater achievement than Brian Clough lifting Nottingham Forest from second-tier also-rans to European champions, it should be noted that Nigel Clough, who first took over Burton Albion in the Southern League, is now on the brink of leading the club into the Championship’ – Dave Kidd, Daily Mirror.
1) Why should that be ‘noted’? Nigel Clough is not Brian Clough.
2) Praising Clough Jr. for having the club on the brink of the Championship is a little generous given that he left Burton in the Conference in January 2009 and took over on December 7, 2015 when they were top of League One.
‘Swap shop’ – reads the headline on the back page of the Daily Express.
‘Juventus are ready to give Manuel Pellegrini a route out of Manchester City this summer – paving the way for Massimiliano Allegri to join Chelsea,’ an exclusive by Tony Banks begins.
Do they know what ‘swap’ means?
Recommended reading of the day
David Squires on the Premier League
Sid Lowe on Fernando Torres
Ben Rumsby on Football Leaks
Thanks offered to Peter Gillott and Laurie Barton. If you spot anything that belongs here, email firstname.lastname@example.org.