A friend named karma
“Ranieri? I guess he’s right with what he said I am very demanding of myself and I have to win to be sure of things. This is why I have won so many trophies in my career. Ranieri on the other hand has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win. He is almost 70 years old. He has won a Super Cup and another small trophy and he is too old to change his mentality. He’s old and he hasn’t won anything. I studied Italian five hours a day for many months to ensure I could communicate with the players, media and fans. Ranieri had been in England for five years and still struggled to say ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’” – Jose Mourinho, November 2008.
He can probably stretch to “Leicester City, Premier League champions” by now, Jose.
The only angle on Leicester you really need
‘Meet the Leicester WAGs behind the Premier League champions,’ reads the headline on the Daily Mirror’s website. But of course.
‘With all great football teams comes an entourage. And as we are so often told, behind every great man is a great woman.
‘Leicester won their first ever Premier League title on Monday night in one of the greatest sporting shocks ever. But who are the Foxes WAGs, who can expect a winners’ medal in their homes in the near future?’
The most disturbing element of this type of ‘story’ is selling it on the word ‘meet’, as if trying to create some semblance of relationship between reader and the target(s) of the story. NB: Trawling social media for a picture and information on where someone last went on holiday isn’t ‘meeting’ them. It’s just f**king weird.
Apparently it’s 1973 all over again. Actually, scratch that; Mediawatch isn’t sure people even referred to their partners as ‘entourage’ in 1973.
Blame the foreigns
‘You get the foreign coaches coming in, “Woah, I’m a foreign coach, I’ll do two sessions a day”. And then three or four months later, he’s [Louis van Gaal] got 14 injuries, and I go, “Wow, carry on”. He [Rafa Benitez] will probably get more injuries later on. And that’s what happens with them. You do two sessions a day here, for 10 months, and they will all get injured. It is proven. It has happened time and time and time again. And everyone goes, “Ooh, wonderful”’ – Sam Allardyce.
Oh Sam, you daft little Englander. It’s worth pointing out that Newcastle currently have fewer injuries than earlier in the season, when their manager was the very foreign-sounding Steve McClaren.
Newcastle currently have seven injuries, only four of which were sustained after Benitez was appointed. Of those four, one was Rob Elliott’s serious ligament injury and another the result of Daryl Janmaat punching a wall. Curse those double training sessions.
Apropos of nothing, here’s Allardyce talking about West Ham’s injuries in February 2015:
“It’s obviously particularly worrying at the moment. I’ve got that many players injured I brought my list in to read out.”
Injuries: The manager’s fault, as long as they’re foreign.
Rags to riches
The shock of Leicester City’s phenomenal achievement is so emphatic that it hardly needs placing into context. ‘LEICESTER CITY WON THE PREMIER LEAGUE? WHAT THE F**K?’ just about covers it.
With that in mind, Mediawatch did enjoy a line in Kevin Mitchell’s Guardian piece about the rise of these unlikely champions.
‘It did not look promising in Leicester’s second match under the Italian, when they drew 1-1 with Mansfield Town in front of 4,273 fans at the One Call Stadium on July 21 last year,’ Mitchell writes.
– It was Leicester’s second preseason friendly, so “it did not look promising” is at least slightly incongruous.
– 4,273 fans is hardly a number worth belittling for a preseason friendly at a stadium that can only hold 8,200 due to safety restrictions.
– Leicester’s team for that friendly: Schwarzer (Schmeichel 46), Simpson (Wasilewski 62), Moore (Huth 62), Chilwell (Albrighton 62), De Laet (Drinkwater 62), Lawrence (c) (King 62), Hammond (Schlupp 62), Barmby (Mahrez 62), Nugent (Ulloa 62), Okazaki (Vardy 62), Kramarić (Fuchs 62).
It’s almost as if that friendly was almost completely unrelated to the subsequent rise.
The last word
Leicester market pic.twitter.com/G1Bpjw5QRt
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) May 3, 2016
The last bit of (tomato) juice has been squeezed out the story.
SE-Oh yeah, right there
‘Leicester triumphant after frenzied, filthy climax to their beautiful story’ read the Daily Telegraph’s tweet at 11.30pm on Monday evening.
We have reached the final frontier of SEO – getting sexual references into sporting URLs.
Mediawatch feels it is our duty to inform the Telegraph that Aston Villa midfielder Carles Gil’s brother is contracted to Valencia. Some genuine potential for Gil-on-Gil action.
Bring on the online (mass) debate.
Oh de Savage
Said Robbie Savage on BBC Breakfast, about Leicester:
“Let’s put this into some sort of realisation”
As ever, what Savage is struggling to find is ‘perspective’.
Odds and ends
Said Neil Lennon on Talksport on Monday evening:
“We won’t see this again, 5000/1 to win the league… What are the odds?”
We have a winner in the category of great sporting rhetorical questions.
“And now to our royal correspondent…”
‘Richard III on Leicester City, kings of England’ – Guardian.
This was mildly amusing three months ago. Can we stop it now please?
The story to sum up a website
‘Leicester’s Vardy brutally destroys Tottenham striker Kane on social media,’ reads the headline at the top of Metro’s football homepage.
Nice story? Of course. The biggest story in football on Tuesday morning? F**k no.
Too many cooks, not enough broth.
On the same page
The following two headlines are taken from the same Brendan Rodgers quotes:
‘Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers drops a huge hint that he could become the new Celtic manager’ – Daily Record.
‘Brendan Rodgers ready to return to management but coy on Celtic link’ – Belfast Telegraph.
Laying down the Law
‘I really hope the FA do not go too hard on Tottenham and Chelsea – it was such a highly charged night and I loved seeing Poch get involved,’ tweeted the Daily Telegraph’s Matt Law on Tuesday morning.
Mediawatch will remember this the next time people bleat about refereeing inconsistencies. It was Law himself who wrote in February 2015 about Diego Costa, ‘tread warily because of official inconsistency’.
Maybe the referees didn’t think the situation was ‘highly charged’ enough to go easy on Costa?
Logic, by Ian Holloway
Ian Holloway during the pre-match coverage for Burnley vs QPR:
Peter Beagrie: “Ian, who do you think is under the most pressure next weekend, Boro or Brighton?”
Holloway: “They’re both under equal pressure. But Boro can draw and still get promoted so you’d have to say Brighton.”
Someone pass the paracetamol.
Laboured introduction of the day
The coverage of Leicester’s title victory in Tuesday’s newspapers is absolutely superb, but Mediawatch couldn’t help but laugh at some of the attempts to crowbar the story into unrelated news.
The best example comes from the Daily Mirror’s introduction to their online gossip column, headlined ‘Man United send scouts to watch Sporting midfielder? Transfer news and gossip from Tuesday’s papers’.
‘Leicester City were crowned champions of England last night after Tottenham blew a two goal lead against Chelsea,’ the piece begins.
‘Spurs went ahead through Harry Kane and Son Heung-min but goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard brought Chelsea level.
‘The result sparked celebrations among Leicester’s fans and players but there was trouble at Stamford Bridge where both teams were involved in a scuffle on the way back to their dressing rooms.
‘And with the title secured Leicester’s rivals can look to the summer transfer market in a bid to reclaim the crown next season.
‘But which players have English clubs got their eyes on?’
Worst abbreviation of the day
‘Dem gouge rage’ – The Sun.
Shortening Mousa Dembele to ‘Dem’ might just be a new low for the genre.
One last time…
— Claudio Ranieri (@DonRanieri) November 5, 2015
Recommended reading of the day
Stuart James on Leicester City
Iain Macintosh in Leicester
Jamie Hamilton on the role of aesthetics