Mediawatch: Leader, icon, rock (of sh*t team)

Date published: Monday 1st February 2016 1:27

How will I live without you?
The Daily Mail’s
Martin Samuel loves John Terry. He loves him so much that he has previously suggested that his use of the words “f***ing black c***” to Anton Ferdinand was ‘ultimately meaningless’ because it was an exchange between two people: ‘The words may be offensive but they do not go anywhere.’

So Samuel’s reaction to Terry’s possible departure from Chelsea is predictably hyperbolic: ‘Chelsea’s decision to let John Terry leave makes little sense… how could they jettison their leader, their icon, their rock?’

Indeed. How could they jettison the leader who has taken them to 13th place in the table? How could they jettison the rock on which their pathetic title defence has been built?

‘At a time when there would appear to be no direction at Chelsea, no philosophy, no standard to rally around, how can the club dispense with the services of the one constant across two decades?’ asks Samuel, apparently oblivious to the fact that Terry is the leader, icon and rock of this directionless Chelsea.

‘Leaving aside that Terry remains, even now, the best defender at the club, exemplary against Arsenal, still the first pick in any match that Chelsea have to win, how can he be considered to have nothing to offer in the way of example, or inspiration?’

These questions are getting easier if anything, Martin. Probably because he has patently offered nothing ‘in the way of example, or inspiration’ during an utterly awful season.

‘When he struggled at the start of the season, so did Chelsea. When he began to regain his form, he carried the team, too. Now he is rediscovering the excellence that drove last season’s title win, Chelsea are recapturing that momentum, too.’

Perhaps, and we are just speculating here, Chelsea would like a centre-half who does not have periods of poor form that inevitably lead to Chelsea’s poor form. As he is 35, the club probably believes that Terry’s bad spells will increase in frequency.

‘Chelsea’s best starting XI still includes Terry at centre-back – and for that reason alone the decision to jettison him makes little sense.’

We repeat: Chelsea are 13th. They have a worse defensive record this season than every side outside the Premier League’s bottom five.

Aston Villa’s best starting XI currently features Leandro Bacuna. Would ‘jettisoning’ him make little sense for that reason alone?

Samuel is clearly right: How, oh how, will Chelsea finish 13th without their leader, their icon, their rock?


Frankly, they didn’t give a damn
Mediawatch cannot help but remember Samuel’s disgust when Chelsea decided to let Frank Lampard leave, writing that he ‘will be near-on impossible to replace at Chelsea’. Even in November 2014, with Chelsea strolling towards the title, Samuel wrote:

‘His old club, Chelsea, are being hurried towards the title by the prolific Diego Costa, yet have not replaced Lampard. They never will replace Lampard, because what he brought was unique in the modern age.

‘Eden Hazard is their highest-scoring midfielder this season: he has four Premier League goals, one more than Oscar. Willian and Cesc Fabregas have one each.

‘Lampard at Chelsea would have been hugely disappointed with any of those numbers. He was in double figures in 10 consecutive league seasons.’

And how did that one end, Martin? Oh, with Hazard on 14 Premier League goals (when the adding-up is traditionally done, at the end of the season) and Chelsea with the title. It’s almost like big teams can replace ageing players. It’s just a shame that newspapers do not usually replace ageing columnists.


Death match
Samuel is of course not alone. Here’s Andrew Dillon in The Sun: ‘ROMAN ABRAMOVICH has decided to cut his captain John Terry free after 21 years – at the time when his team probably need him the most.’

And why do they ‘need him the most’? Because they are sh*t, that’s why. And who is captain of this sh*t Chelsea side? Captain, leader, legend, that’s who.

‘Remember this is the man who nearly died when swallowing his tongue in the 2007 Carling Cup Final – and he wanted to play on,’ writes Dillon.

Well in that case let’s let him play until he’s 75. Mediawatch is still disgusted with Manchester City for releasing Bert Trautmann.


The Sun have a lovely little box of ‘HIGHS AND LOWS’ from John Terry’s career.

And there it is – at No. 7 – ‘BECOMES England skipper but has armband taken away again in wake of the Anton Ferdinand furore, which saw the QPR man accuse him of making a racist remark during a game in 2011.’

Football: Where using the words “f***ing black c***” is ‘the Anton Ferdinand furore’. Oh and the FA found him guilty; they don’t really mention that.


What’s the Mata, you, hey?
The Daily Telegraph’s Manchester United transfer blog, January 31, 12.15: ‘Luis Enrique is keen to offer Juan Mata a chance to join the Barcelona substitutes’ bench, according to the wonderfully-named Spanish outlet, Don Balon. All jokes aside, the Catalan club are reportedly interested in securing the Spaniard’s services, with a summer move most likely. It is understood that United would be likely to listen to offers.’

The Daily Telegraph’s Manchester United transfer blog,February 1, 09.59: ‘The Metro are now claiming that Manchester United will not stand in Barcelona’s way should their valuation of the 27-year old midfielder be met.’

This, ladies and gentlemen, is billed as ‘More on Mata’. God f***ing help us.


Let me Google that for you…
‘Everton close in on Niasse’ is the sub-headline on the Daily Telegraph’s Chelsea blog.

‘”What does this have to do with Chelsea?” I hear you ask. Well, quite a bit, actually,’ writes Dan Lucas, who has adopted a stance somewhere between boredom and self-loathing.

‘You see, Chelsea are a team who get googled a lot, so if you have the word “Chelsea” in your headline you’ll get lots of clicks and the sweet, sweet literal fractions of pence that accompany each one. I mean, they’re googled enough to warrant a transfer blog all to themselves even though they’re not going to do anything (where’s my SJA nomination, come to think of it?). Anyhow, that means that a bunch of websites are retrospectively making Niasse a Chelsea target when reporting that Everton are going to sign him, even though they’d never mentioned Chelsea’s interest in the past.

‘This is how transfer deadline day reporting works. Lap it up.’

Presumably, then, it wasn’t the sanctimonious Lucas who was on said Chelsea transfer blog duty on January 9, for which the headline reads ‘Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Chelsea poised to make £15million swoop for Oumar Niasse’.

His SEO-obsessed overlords will be happy to know it was the first result on Google for ‘Niasse Chelsea’.


How this sh*t works
‘Why Chelsea should make a transfer move for Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen’ was the headline on an ‘opinion’ piece on the Metro website on January 31.

A (something) Fichajes misunderstanding later…

Headline on the Metro website on February 1: ‘Rumour: Chelsea make offer to seal transfer of former Arsenal star Thomas Vermaelen.’



Guess who?
‘Man Utd want transfer of quality top-four rival’s star’ – Metro website.

See below for answer.


Busy busy
On the Sky Sports transfer blog, 10.50am: ‘Clubs face a midday rush to get their Deadline Day business done if they want new recruits to be available for Tuesday night’s Premier League fixtures.

‘New registrations of players have to be completed by midday the day before a round of matches, and with eight Premier League games taking place on Tuesday night, some clubs may be rushing to get their deals done.

‘That could mean a busier morning than usual for a Deadline Day, as clubs look to get their deals done early to make sure new signings can make their match day squad.’

Number of Premier League deals completed by 12pm: None.


A new hope
How did Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke simultaneously ‘hand a huge boost’ to Arsenal (Metro) and ‘give hope to’ Edward Woodward (Daily Telegraph website)?

By saying the following about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, of course: “If an offer comes, then we need to discuss it. If it should go into hundreds of millions, then we also need to talk to the player. But I’m not worrying about it because at the moment we want to keep him as long as possible, ideally beyond 2020.”

Pack your bags, Pierre-Emerick.


What a difference a month makes
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde, January 1: ‘The situation is not the best one you could dream to speak with players about, but what I have done already doesn’t show me that nobody wants to come to this football club. You have a lot of players who are clever or smart. They might look at the next two, three or four years – the best project may be this one, despite what can happen. That’s because of many reasons and many things around the football club.”

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde, February 1: “It’s not only finance but for sure it’s a financial position [why Villa have struggled to sign players]. It’s also because we are in a bad football position in the league and for players we are not attractive. It’s not only one reason.”

There clearly aren’t enough “clever or smart” players around.


Premature ejaculation
The BBC were so desperate to announce the first deadline day of what most of us suspected would be the dampest of squibs…

But perhaps they should have checked with the BBC before coming in their pants…

Check the times. Tissues – and some perspective – required.

Update: At 11.12am Alex Pritchard was still a Tottenham player but the BBC had announced a ‘DONE DEAL’ for Seydou Doumbia at Newcastle United ‘subject to a medical’. Subject to a medical? Does no f***er but us know what ‘DONE’ actually means?


Recommended reading of the day
Alan Tyers on Sky Sports and transfer deadline day.

Swiss Ramble on money. We don’t care what it’s on. We love him.

Dominic Fifield on John Terry.
* Danny Rose. Danny sodding Rose.

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