Sturring the pot
Mediawatch presents: How to create your own stories.
Step 1) Make a transfer claim. Any of the following three – all from February 5 – are suitable.
* ‘Daniel Sturridge is ready to quit Liverpool this summer’ – John Cross of the Daily Mirror, who adds that Sturridge ‘fears he may have to leave Anfield for the good of his career’
* ‘Daniel Sturridge is ready to quit Liverpool this summer’ – Joe Halligan of The Sun.
* ‘Daniel Sturridge admits: I want to quit Liverpool’ – James Dickenson of the Daily Express, in a story which contained no quotes from Sturridge whatsoever.
Step 2) Report quotes from said player rubbishing your spurious transfer claim. Any of the following three – all from February 25 – are suitable.
* ‘Daniel Sturridge delivered a stinging rebuke to suggestions he wants to leave’ – David Maddock, John Cross’ Daily Mirror colleague.
* ‘Daniel Sturridge has pledged his future to Liverpool – and dismissed gossip that he wanted out’ – Phil Thomas, Joe Halligan’s The Sun colleague.
* ‘Daniel Sturridge has insisted his future is at Liverpool despite reports he wanted to quit Liverpool’ – Graham Read, Dickenson’s Daily Express colleague.
The full circle of life.
Serg of love
David McDonnell is in love. The Daily Mirror‘s man in Kiev witnessed Sergio Aguero helped Manchester City to a 3-1 first leg win in their Champions League last-16 tie, and he was completely besotted. Weren’t we all?
‘No wonder Manchester City want to tie Sergio Aguero down to a fresh contract extension,’ McDonnell begins.
‘He may not be talked about in the same reverential tones as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Luis Suarez but, on this evidence, Aguero is up there with them.
‘The Argentine may be under contract until 2019 but City’s hierarchy know Europe’s top clubs will again be lining up to woo him, which is why they want to send out a message with a new deal.’
McDonnell describes the striker, in a piece headlined ‘AGUERO’S GLOWING’, as a ‘goal machine’ and a ‘big player’. One of the Mirror’s five learned lessons was that ‘prolific Aguero holds key to City’s success’, and that the 27-year-old is ‘hitting top form at the perfect time’. His game is dubbed a ‘super show’ on the back page.
Aguero’s match rating in the Daily Mirror? Six out of ten. No City player scored lower. Harsh.
What a difference three days makes
Monday: The Daily Mirror describes Manchester City as ‘THE CUP KILLERS’, and claims Manuel Pellegrini was ‘speeding the demise’ of the FA Cup by fielding a weakened side in their fifth-round FA Cup tie against Chelsea. Darren Lewis labels Pellegrini and City as ‘stroppy’, amongst other things.
Thursday: The Daily Mirror‘s David McDonnell writes how City’s players ‘produced performances that endorsed Pellegrini’s decision to prioritise success in Europe’. Of the ‘five things we learnt’, number one is that Pellegrini is ‘now England’s hero’, with his decision helping to ‘save England’s fourth Champions League place’. Weird, that.
Monday: The Sun tell us how Pellegrini ‘stuck up two fingers at the FA Cup’ with his team selection the previous Sunday, with Charlie Wyett claiming the decision had ‘backfired spectacularly’.
Thursday: The Sun explains how Pellegrini’s ‘Euro gamble paid off’, with Martin Blackburn telling us that resting players ‘looked a good call’, and the Chilean might ‘even field the kids for the return leg on March 15’. Would that not ‘stick two fingers up’ at the Champions League?
Mediawatch entirely agrees with Ian Ladyman that BBC Radio 5Live becoming an online-only product would be a bloody shame. It’s the sound of our childhood.
‘England may flunk at Euro 2016, Andy Murray may never win the Australian Open and Jordan Spieth may yet prove himself better than Rory McIlroy over the coming years,’ Ladyman writes. ‘But there will always be another day, another event, another match, another broadcast. Everything, in sport, will eventually be OK. It is, after all, just sport.’
‘If we lost 5 Live, though, that would not be OK. Nor would it be OK if it became just an online service. It would then become semi-exclusive, the antithesis of what it is supposed to be about. No, we must fight for 5 Live, just as hard as we would fight for the future of sport itself. The alternative is a life staring upwards at a wall in the pub.’
All very passionate and beautifully written, but Ladyman’s employer has been one of the most influential and savage critics of the BBC and its license fee. The regular accusations of bias. Inaccurate and fanciful allegations of tax evasion by employees splashed on the front page, predictably followed up by later apology hidden at the bottom of page four. Accusing the BBC of defamation. Continuously questioning the license fee. Passing negative comment on the organisation’s entire existence. All par for the course.
Mediawatch can’t help feeling Ladyman would be far better sticking the piece into an envelope addressed to ‘Everyone at the Daily Mail’, with a covering letter which says ‘ACTUALLY, THEY’RE REALLY PRETTY GOOD GUYS’ in big, red letters.
‘Toure may doze off and hobble about but he remains a formidable force’ – Alan Smith, The Guardian.
‘On last night’s evidence, with his superb performance in the middle of the City engine room, which was capped by his stunning goal, he showed that he is far from finished.’ – Someone who ‘learns things’, Daily Express.
‘It’s a Toure de force’ – Mike McGrath, The Sun. Toure is also described as a ‘midfield dynamo’ in Kiev.
‘Classy Toure takes charge’ – Daily Mail.
It appears that the person in charge of the Daily Telegraph‘s match ratings watched a different game; Toure is given five out of ten. It is the joint-lowest ranking of any player on the pitch.
Move on up
‘Sam Allardyce has moved on and Hammers fans should too,’ says Sami Mokbel in a piece where numerous Daily Mail writers discuss how Allardyce will be welcomed upon his return to Upton Park on Saturday.
“I did everything they asked for and they wanted more, and I found that extremely ungrateful in terms of what I’d done for them” – Sam Allardyce, August 13, 2015.
“The fans were being brainwashed into thinking that, historically, the club had a particular style of play which was akin to Barcelona, which was potty. I once called the supporters deluded and I stand by that. I don’t know who invented the West Ham way phrase, but it’s a millstone around the club’s neck” – Sam Allardyce, October 14, 2015.
But still, it’s really good to see Allardyce has ‘moved on’.
It is February, but that will not stop Andrew Dillon. He has the big transfer EXCLUSIVE in The Sun.
‘Roman Abramovich is ready to hand his next manager a £130million transfer kitty to rebuild Chelsea,’ writes Dillon. Big news. Dillon tells us that Antonio Conte is the new favourite for the job, and their next manager is likely to be appointed before the end of March – both of which have been widely reported this past week.
Dillon goes on to tell us that Abramovich wants ‘four new big names’ in terms of incoming transfers this summer, regardless of the identity of the boss. Number one will be Everton defender John Stones; number two is Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal.
What Mediawatch is struggling to grasp is what is EXCLUSIVE here. Is it that Chelsea will spend money in the transfer window? That Conte is the favourite to replace Guus Hiddink as permanent manager, in accordance to what pretty much everyone else is saying? That the Blues want John Stones, a rumour which has been reported since the dawn of time? Or perhaps that Vidal is a target? But the Chile international was linked with the club earlier this week by Italian journalist David Amoyal.
In fairness, nobody has exclusively combined all of the above.
Old news is good news
‘Mathieu Flamini is set to leave the Emirates next summer – despite being Arsenal’s lucky charm.’ – John Cross of the Daily Mirror, December 23.
‘Mathieu Flamini is facing the exit door at Arsenal after not being offered a new deal.’ – John Cross of the Daily Mirror, February 25.
News. The clue is in the word. And ‘lucky charms’ don’t give away penalties.
England lion, child’s hero
‘Chelsea captain Terry shows heroic side by helping girl, 9, after car accident – What a guy!’ – The Metro
Let’s take a moment to praise John Terry for not leaving a girl who had been hit by a car unattended.
Writes Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail: ‘Brazilian midfielder Fernando was arguably City’s outstanding perfomer.’
Fernando’s match rating on the opposite page: Six out of ten. No City player scored lower.
‘Louis van Gaal reckons all the talk of Jose Mourinho taking his job could be affecting the Manchester United players,’ writes someone in The Sun.
A shiny penny for whoever can guess the author.
Another shiny penny for guessing how many times Van Gaal mentioned Mourinho – or even speculation over his job – in the subsequent quotes in Neil Custis’ piece.
Quote of the day
“The difference between Jamie [Carragher] and me is that I am a world-class player and he is a s**t. The type of s**t that writes a book and mentions me all the time. Me, in my book, he does not warrant one phrase: he’s a f*****g loser.” – El Hadji Diouf.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on moving on from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Nick Miller on the 1976/77 season.
Dermot Corrigan on Atletico Madrid.