Joe Cole on Chelsea on Sky Sports on Saturday: “Anything is possible, and that’s why we watch football. You can’t rule them out as champions – that team could beat everyone from now until the end of the season. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s football. It’ll be interesting in the next few weeks.”
Thank God he definitely didn’t say it was going to happen; he would have looked so stupid now.
Mediawatch is not ashamed to say that it takes pleasure in the pain (mental, not physical) of some newspaper journalists.
So we are currently revelling in the agony of The Sun’s Charlie Wyett on being forced to wax lyrical on the wonders of Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester.
‘Ranieri continues to build something special in a different part of England,’ writes Wyett through a grimace. ‘It is proving to be one of the truly great Premier League stories.
‘Leicester manager Ranieri will not have enjoyed many sweeter nights than this one, as his remarkable team returned to the top of the division and 20 points clear of the team which won the title last term.’
Once again, we will just leave this here…
— TFS Leicester City (@TFS_Leicester) November 5, 2015
Which one of you is Richard Keys?
Mind you, Charlie wasn’t alone.
WELCOME TO THE BIG TIME, RICHARD pic.twitter.com/KfQIS8kORO
— The Football Ramble (@FootballRamble) December 15, 2015
Advice of the day: If you ever find youself agreeing with both John Cross and Richard Keys, lock all the doors and ring an adult.
Hyperbole of the day
‘Vardy and his Algerian sidekick Riyad Mahrez cost less money than the loose change Roman Abramovich spills out of his pocket running for cover when it rains’ – Graeme Bryce, The Sun.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez cost Leicester £1.4m.
Unpleasant sentence of the day
From the back page of The Sun: ‘Vardy bagged his 15th goal and Riyad Mahrez curled No2…’
Five ridiculous headlines from more successful websites
* ‘Chelsea insider says Abramovich considering Mourinho sack’ – Metro. It’s Frank Lampard (very much ‘outside’ these days) and he says that the Chelsea owner is “probably looking at it very closely”.
* ‘Frank Lampard reveals what Chelsea owner Abramovich will be thinking’ – Daily Star. ‘Reveals’? We would have gone for ‘guesses’ or ‘makes a decent stab at’. Is that why we’re not very successful?
* ‘Arsenal assist-king Mesut Ozil enjoys a well earned break ahead of make-or-break festive period for Gunners title challenge’ – MailOnline. Mediawatch’s favourite thing about this ‘story’ is that it is based entirely on one Instagram post. So it’s a ‘deserved vacation’ and ‘winter sun’, but where? F*** knows.
* ‘Report: Mega-rich club eye signing of Chelsea forward (not Hazard)’ – Metro. Ah, the glorious brackets. It’s Pedro by the way (not Hazard).
* ‘Transfer News: Luis Suarez to Man Utd, Real eye all-star Arsenal duo, Liverpool deal close’ – Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do SEO. Round of applause for the Daily Star.
Wales for the Welsh
John Hartson on BBC Radio 5 Live, December 11: “The only question for me is whether or not he would choose to leave Manchester United when he’s tipped to be their next manager. [Louis] van Gaal has said himself: ‘I’m only doing three years, then Ryan Giggs will step in.’ I think a lot of people would like to see Ryan manage a Premier League club. Swansea are a great fit.”
John Hartson then appears on talkSPORT on December 15 and admits he has never heard of Marcelo Bielsa.
On the slash
Headline on MailOnline: ‘Manchester United forced to slash ticket prices for Europa League clash with Danish minnows Midtjylland.’
What fresh humiliation is this?
Third paragraph of said story: ‘United place the Europa League in the same category as the Capital One Cup, meaning there is a 25 per cent discount on ticket prices and season-ticket holders will not face sanctions if they choose not to purchase them.’
So, less ‘forced to slash’ and more ‘implemented long-standing ticket policy’.
As you were.
East is east
Don’t know much about Manchester City’s opponents Dynamo Kiev? Thankfully the Daily Mail have ‘Martin Keown’s guide to the Champions League draw’.
And here he is Keown on Dynamo: ‘I remember playing Spartak Moscow on a freezing night in November 2000 – one of two occasions I wore gloves – and they battered us 4-1. I thought, ‘these guys could win the tournament’, but they finished bottom in the second group stage!’
Tracing a sh*t transfer rumour
Mediawatch has long since moved past the point where we are shocked by the the depths plumbed by the Daily Telegraph website but this on Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United is worth a linger with several tuts and one eyebrow raised.
They claim: ‘Manchester United want Everton hotshot Romelu Lukaku to solve their goal shortage and will launch a move for the Belgian next month. Reports in Italy say that United want an experienced Premier League striker to assist Anthony Martial leading the attack and Lukaku fits that bill.’
We’re immediately wondering why journalists in Italy would know so much about the business being conducted between two English clubs, but we are trying to keep an open mind.
So what ‘reports in Italy’? A visit to the Daily Star website – for that appears to be the Telegraph’s primary source – reveals that the source of the Lukaku story is Itasportpress. Nope. Us neither.
So off we go to Itasportpress to find a story from Sunday evening, claiming (thanks Google Translate): ‘Black period for Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United. After elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Wolfsburg, yesterday the Red Devils have fallen on the field of the newly-promoted Bournemouth. Results that do not enhance the square, but the Dutchman does not raise the white flag. That’s why in January will make an important intervention in the market. Romelu Lukaku is the number one goal for United.’
And which respected journalist has written this story? That will be the internationally renowned Giovanni Parisio – quite the presence on Twitter with 10 whole followers.
It turns out that Parisio – and indeed Itasportpress as a whole – really do love their Lukaku/Manchester United link.
On Saturday, Parisio wrote: ‘Still burns the elimination from the Champions League at home Manchester United. Louis Van Gaal goes hunting for reinforcements as early as January and is ready to splash out. The Dutchman put under the magnifying glass propia other three objectives: Romelu Lukaku, John Stones and Ryan Bertrand.’
And on Thursday, Marco Carmanello (91 followers), wrote: ‘Out of the Champions League and with the meager tally of 20 goals in 15 Premier League games, Manchester United is looking for a striker weight. According to the Sun, the new name on the notebook van Gaal is to Lukaku, the Belgian striker Everton.’
Ah. The Sun. On December 10. Five days ago. Who needs Henry Winter?
Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy Klopp
The desperation of the Daily Mail to paint Jurgen Klopp has some kind of loon continues unabated. On Monday he was ‘CRAZY’ and ‘madcap’ and on Tuesday the headline reads ‘THE MADNESS OF KING KLOPP’. He is one hell of a crazy cat, what with his salute of Liverpool fans, his verbal clash with Tony Pulis and his, his, his…well, he’s just plain bloody crazy, right?
When you are recounting a story about him celebrating a penalty shoot-out victory and pulling a muscle ‘that left him walking gingerly for three weeks’ and calling that a ‘madcap moment’, there’s something a tad wrong with your chosen narrative. The word you’re searching for to describe that series of events is ‘unlucky’.
Adrian Durham of MailOnline and talkSPORT has previously called Tony Pulis an ‘outdated relic’ so Mediawatch is not surprised to see him rage against Pulis’ tactics once again following a 2-2 draw with Liverpool after which Jurgen Klopp said West Brom “played only long balls” at Anfield.
And that’s the starting point for Durham, who writes: ‘English football faces a decision: does it listen and take advice from a coach who provided a string of talented footballers to a World Cup-winning squad? Or does it castigate Jurgen Klopp for daring to question the methods of Tony Pulis?’
Clearly the answer is ‘neither’ but this is Adrian Durham; reason is not his friend.
We’re not entirely sure that Klopp has given any ‘advice’ at all, but it’s the use of the phrase ‘English football’ that confuses Mediawatch. Who faces this decision? The FA? The Premier League? English footballers? All of us? Do we need placards?
He’s not finished with ‘English football’ yet; Durham tells us that:
* ‘Jurgen Klopp is exposing English football’s problems with long-ball play.’
* ‘English football should take note of his comments and change its ways.’
* ‘We would be foolish to miss this opportunity for English football to break free from the historic over-adulation of limited coaches.’
* ‘The Pulis way has held English football back for too long.’
* ‘We can break free from the catastrophic dogma that has led to English football being a laughing stock.’
Hmmm. England don’t play that way. England’s most successful clubs do not play that way. Jurgen Klopp said absolutely nothing about ‘English football’ and we suspect that Jurgen Klopp is perfectly happy with West Brom playing exactly how West Brom want to play. It’s called tolerance. The last place Klopp wants to find himself is in a corner with Durham.
But the best is yet to come as Durham writes in his final line with not a hint of self-awareness: ‘Footballers of England unite – you have nothing to lose but your chains.’
Quoting Karl Marx on MailOnline? Mediawatch doesn’t think it will be hearing from Adrian Durham again any time soon.
Recommended reading of the day
Adam Bate on the Punjabi Wolves
Michael Cox on Jordan Veretout at Aston Villa
James McNicholas on David Moyes and Mesut Ozil