The story arc
The Sun are definitely on a mission this international week. There are clicks to be had and newspapers to be sold and Manchester United and Jose Mourinho are the motherlode.
November 7, Sun exclusive from Neil Custis: ‘JOSE MOURINHO has been sounded out by Paris Saint-Germain on being their next manager. Contact was made between the French champions and Mourinho’s representatives.’
November 8, Sun exclusive from Neil Custis: ‘JOSE MOURINHO is heading for a clash with the Manchester United board over further backing in the transfer market. Mourinho has spent £300million in less than 18 months – but still wants more to strengthen his squad as they fight on four fronts.’
November 9, Sun exclusive from Dave Kidd: ‘MANCHESTER UNITED directors fear that Jose Mourinho is on his way to Paris Saint-Germain. There is an increasing belief among Old Trafford top brass that their boss is ready to quit next summer to take over the filthy-rich French outfit.’
So on Tuesday, PSG want Jose Mourinho. On Wednesday, Jose Mourinho wants more money. And on Thursday, Manchester United fear Jose Mourinho will go to PSG for more money. Wherever did they get that idea?
Words with Wilkins
Fantastic: Extraordinarily good or attractive.
Great: Of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above average.
Looking at those two dictionary definitions, Mediawatch would far rather be labelled ‘fantastic’ than ‘great’. But not Ray Wilkins. Oh no. For him, fantastic is a good few rungs below great. Maybe he thinks ‘fantastic’ whiffs a bit of foreign while great is a good old English word.
“He is not a great player so why should he wear 10?” asked Wilkins indignantly on talkSPORT when asked about Mesut Ozil’s reported wish to take Jack Wilshere’s No. 10 shirt.
“Why should he nick that off Jack?”
Well because Jack Wilshere is out of contract in the summer and thus the No. 10 shirt would be free, Ray. You can’t “nick” something which is freely available. But do carry on…
“I think the word ‘great’ is used far too often. I don’t think he has ever been a great player.
“He’s been a fantastic player. I don’t think he is a great player.
“You see him in the Premier League week in week out, he’s a good player, he’s a very good player. But the word ‘great’ is used far too often in this game.”
So ‘extraordinarily good or attractive’ but not ‘of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above average’? Poor, fantastic Mesut.
The record is stuck
Ray Wilkins, talkSPORT, June 2017: “I was really disappointed to read they are looking at Bakayoko from Monaco. He is 22 years of age, French and doesn’t get near the national side, but it was quoted Chelsea might be paying £32million. Well, in Nathaniel (Chalobah) they have got a footballer that can play exactly the same but just needs an opportunity to get in there and play.”
(At that point Tiemoue Bakayoko was actually a full French international but we
don’t like to split hairs).
Ray Wilkins, Sky Sports, September 2017: “When you think what Chelsea have lost, we’ve lost Nathaniel Chalobah for £6million. I can’t see the difference between the £40million that we paid for Bakayoko, I don’t see that £34million difference, I really can’t.”
Ray Wilkins, BBC Radio 5 Live, November 2017: “Chalobah went for £6million. I can’t quite see that at £6million. I don’t really see the differential between Bakayoko at £40million and Chalobah at six.”
He really can’t. But my word, he knows how to get paid by three different outlets to say exactly the same thing. Does that make him great or just a fantastic pundit?
Off the record
Ray Wilkins, Sky Sports, October 2017: “I think in the coming years he (Bakayoko) will be an exceptional player because he has that stature and that ability.”
But is he worth £34m more than Nathaniel Chalobah, Ray?
First Chelsea sporting director Michael Emanalo resigned and now this…
‘CHELSEA have given their personal training ground hairdresser the chop in the latest shock departure from the Premier League champions.’
‘The latest shock departure’. For f***’s sake, Sun.
According to the Daily Mirror website at 12pm on Thursday, this is the biggest story in football:
‘”That is my dream!” Messi names the one club he wants to sign for after Barcelona – and it’s not Man City’
NOT Man City? Then who could it be? It’s not like he has said the exact same thing before.
No ifs and Buts
Now we’re not saying that the Daily Mirror‘s John Cross is desperate to see Jack Butland replace Joe Hart as England’s No. 1 but…
John Cross, Daily Mirror, June 2017: ‘Gareth Southgate has admitted Jack Butland is being lined up to become England’s new No1 keeper. Southgate will start Tuesday night’s friendly with Burnley keeper Tom Heaton but says Butland will come on at half time and has the potential to succeed Joe Hart.’
John Cross, Daily Mirror, August 2017: ‘Joe Hart is losing his grip on being England’s No1. Manager Gareth Southgate names his squad for next week’s World Cup qualifiers with Malta and Slovakia on Thursday, and his goalkeeper selection is a key issue. Southgate is giving serious consideration to installing Stoke’s Jack Butland between the posts for the trip to minnows Malta on Friday week.’
John Cross, Daily Mirror, September 2017: ‘Jack Butland insists he has got enough time to make himself England’s No1 for the World Cup. Stoke keeper Butland is refreshingly honest about his ambition and determination to battle Joe Hart to become first choice by next summer.’
John Cross, Daily Mirror, October 2017: ‘Jack Butland insists he has got enough time to establish himself as England’s No1 before next summer’s World Cup. Butland, 24, will start against Lithuania and does not hide from his ambition to succeed Joe Hart as first choice even if the clock is ticking.’
John Cross, Daily Mirror, November 2017: ‘Jack Butland will be handed a World Cup audition tomorrow night. Butland, 24, will start ahead of Joe Hart in what must be a clear hint the Stoke keeper can establish himself as No. 1.’
Just give him the sodding shirt, Gareth; it’s the only way he will shut up.
Nonsensical intro of the day
‘EVERTON chiefs will hold crisis talks with caretaker David Unsworth to see if he can stay in charge of the team’ – The Sun.
Nope. None the wiser.
Worst nickname of this or any week
Brian Reade’s little tribute to Peter Crouch in his Daily Mirror column is absolutely fine (we all love Crouchy) until the last line:
‘The Potteries Pirlo, anyone?’
No. Really not. They play in different sodding positions for a start.
Misleading headline of the day
Manchester United legend Gary Neville names his all-time England cricket XI https://t.co/tEuD2D5IBc
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 9, 2017