Top, top directoring
Mediawatch feels like it probably owes Harry Redknapp some commission by now. It’s not that Redknapp is being picked on, more that he is a willing rent-a-quote who tends to open his mouth and let the bulls**t tumble right out.
On Monday ‘Arry managed to even surpass himself. He is, in case you haven’t yet seen, to be appointed Director of Football at Championship club Derby County until the end of the season. The Daily Mail even report that he will have a say in team selection.
So, what did Redknapp say about Directors of Football in November 2014? Let’s have the quotes in full, just for old times’ sake:
“It totally undermines your role as manager if you’re not picking the players. It’s a joke really that you are expected to work with someone else’s players. It’s all very well someone recommending players to you but when they don’t work out, it’s your head on the block.
“I’m just not in favour of that. As a manager I have to select the players, train them every day and make decisions. To expect me to work with players someone else has decided I want is a nonsense. I want to make my own decisions and rightfully so. If things don’t work out fine, I’m responsible for that. But why should I be accountable for someone else’s mistakes?
“My head’s on the block when it goes wrong so no I’m not going to support something that could cost me my job and I have no say in it.
“I’ve never been in favour of them or wanted to work under one. How can someone else select your players and not be accountable when you have to work with them and if they’re rubbish you get the blame?”
Still, heard the money’s good.
‘Pep fear on Jose Utd link’ – reads the headline on The Sun’s back page. Yes that’s back page – slow news day, is it?
‘Pep Guardiola has already been spooked by the thought of locking horns with Jose Mourinho in the Premier League,’ a piece by Phil Cadden begins.
Actual quotes from a ‘friend of Pep’:
“Pep wants to know if Mourinho has an agreement with Manchester United. Is he worried? Not really but it will make life interesting if Jose’s there.”
We know what Pep means. We’re ‘spooked’ just reading that tripe.
Pray For Wenger
Arsene Wenger probably feels like he could do with a friend right now, and he has found one in the shape of Daily Mirror chief sports writer Dave Kidd. He’s fighting his corner, and fighting hard.
‘If this really is the end-game, if English football’s last great dynastic manager is to be dragged from the Emirates and strung up from a lamp-post on the Holloway Road, even Arsenal fans will look back and wonder what the fuss was about,’ Kidd begins with some gusto.
Mediawatch is pretty sure that they want him to be sacked, not killed.
‘Had Arsenal beaten Watford in Sunday’s quarter-final, then justified their status as favourites heading to the last four, Arsene Wenger’s team would have equalled a hat-trick not achieved since the 1880s. Their 2003-04 Invincibles campaign was also a feat unique since Jack the Ripper was stalking the East End and Arsenal were playing south of the river.’
But they didn’t beat Watford, did they? And that Invincibles season, as majestic as it was, was 12 years ago now. Things change. People change.
‘Those hyperventilating with fury and fighting among themselves outside the Emirates on Sunday afternoon really ought to consider Richard Osman’s own affliction of supporting Fulham. Believe me…’
This argument really gripes with Mediawatch, as if clubs do not have different standards and therefore different expectations. ‘It could be worse, you could support Dagenham’ is fine if the two clubs didn’t have vastly different cash reserves, ticket prices and ambitions. How dare Arsenal think they can win the league? Erm…because they’ve got loads of sodding money.
‘Yet there is a sense of entitlement about many Arsenal fans which does not stack up against the revolution occurring in English football. Leicester could be playing Everton, Watford, Crystal Palace or West Ham in the Community Shield next August. If Slaven Bilic’s Hammers continue their current momentum, they will leave both Manchester clubs outside of next season’s Champions League.’
All fine points, but hasn’t Kidd missed something here? Firstly, those other clubs have won something substantial lately – such as the league title in the last three years – which slightly tempers the disappointment at their most recent failures.
Furthermore, while Kidd is right that the Premier League’s elite clubs have indeed failed this season, all others (Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City) are reacting by upgrading their manager. Arsenal are the only ones standing still and yet expecting to move forward, and that’s exactly what is so bloody frustrating.
Picture this, me and you
This graphic in The Sun made us laugh far more than was probably intended.
Particularly good is the key to show people running with the ball and running without the ball. Unfortunately, nobody in the image is doing either.
Dream a little Dream Team
At the King Power Stadium, The Sun’s Neil Ashton was suitably impressed with Leicester’s Marc Albrighton:
‘For once, Albrighton was the star of the show in the blue shirts, a constant threat down the left whenever he took on Newcastle right-back Daryl Janmaat. It was a proper mismatch.’
A quick look across to The Sun’s Dream Team ratings sees Albrighton awarded a ‘6’, the joint lowest of any of the 22 players who started the match.
Those ratings are ‘compiled using Opta data’. What are they doing with the sodding data?
‘Arsen-fall: Wenger’s Gunners have gone backwards since 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
There’s no doubting his observational skills.
‘It seems players sign for the Gunners to be on easy street, to pick up a massive salary without any real expectation that they will challenge for the top honours. With the exception of Petr Cech and Alexis Sanchez, there is not another trophy hunter in that Arsenal team’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
So odd that Ashton would forget to mention Mesut ‘nicking a living’ Ozil, but does namecheck Alexis Sanchez, who started just 18 of Barcelona’s league games during his only title-winning season.
Presumably winning the World Cup doesn’t make you a ‘trophy hunter’? Presumably it just fell in his lap.
Father and son
‘Forget RVP…say hello to SVP! Robin van Persie’s son Shaqueel looks ready to follow in his father’s footsteps’ reads the start of the headline on MailOnline.
So what exactly has Van Persie Jr done to suggest he will ‘follow in his father’s footsteps’? Is it:
a) Scored a ridiculous number of goals for a youth team?
b) Done a spectacular diving header a la Netherlands vs Spain at World Cup 2014?
c) Worn the same tracksuit as his dad?
If you guessed c) then well done, you could work for MailOnline. Extra points for predicting that the story came from a family member’s Instagram page.
First. Fast. Three months later
‘Real Madrid could swap James Rodriguez for Eden Hazard’ – Don Balon, December 14, 2015.
‘Real Madrid could offer Chelsea a sensational swap – James Rodriguez for Eden Hazard. Sun Sport understands that the Spanish giants are considering the swap after the £63million Colombia star’s poor season’ – Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun, March 15, 2016.
That’s some slow ‘understanding’.
Don’t know much about biology
‘”I had a 2cm split in my left ball sack’: Callum McFadzean opens up on horror injury’ – The Sun.
Mediawatch is more worried that McFadzean appears to have two scrotums. Scrota? Scrotae?
Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe with Dani Alves
Uli Hesse on the rivalry between Bayern Munich and Juventus
Paolo Bandini on Palermo