‘Pep Guardiola will wait to land dream Manchester United job’ – The Sun, December 7.
‘Pep Guardiola is being chased by Manchester City, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, but The Sun claim that his family has settled in Munich and would like to stay ‘ – Eurosport, December 14.
‘Could Pep Guardiola…become the new Chelsea manager?’ – The Sun, December 17
‘Pep Guardiola confirmed yesterday that he will leave Bayern Munich in the summer and Manchester City is his likely destination’ – The Sun, December 21.
Keeping their options open.
Slight difference of opinion
‘Van Gaal may have two games to save Manchester United job as Mourinho waits’ – Guardian.
‘Van Gaal has two games left to save his job at Manchester United’ – Daily Star.
‘EXCLUSIVE: Van Gaal has one game to save his job – with the under-fire Manchester United boss on the brink’ – Daily Mirror.
‘EXCLUSIVE: Louis van Gaal is on his way out of Manchester United after contact was made with Jose Mourinho. Van Gaal could be gone before the Boxing Day game at Stoke’ – The Sun.
Four newspapers, three different claims, two ‘exclusives’ (and a partridge in a pear tree).
Shot in the dark
With their Jose Mourinho ‘exclusive’, The Sun are going hard on Louis van Gaal. So hard that they aren’t bothered about things such as truth or accuracy.
In a piece headlined ‘How LVG is shaming Fergie’s legacy’, one unnamed scribe writes:
‘Here is the evidence why Manchester United fans are getting sick and tired of the LVG style of play. In Red Devils’ last four home Premier League games, the 75,000-plus fans have witnessed just seven shots in total – that’s only one shot either on or off target or blocked every 51 MINUTES!’
Nice try, but completely wrong. In their last four home league games, United have had 51 shots including blocks. That’s one every 7.1 MINUTES! When The Sun say ‘shot either on or off target or blocked’, they actually mean ‘on target’.
‘Here is the evidence’, but it’s getting thrown out of court.
‘Footballer posts shocking video of ‘pal’s’ two-footed lunge in street to Facebook page – complete with smiley faces,’ reads the headline on the Daily Mirror website. Uh oh, a footballer’s done a naughty.
‘Tranmere Rovers star Jonathan Margetts’ the piece begi….woah, we’ll stop you there.
Margetts is a striker for Conference Premier side Tranmere Rovers. He has scored twice. He’s currently on loan at Stockport County in the National League North. ‘Star’ might be stretching it.
The entire story is that one of Margetts’s friends tackled a man on the street on a night out, which makes it a ‘shocking’ video. As the story itself (eventually) explains, the ‘tacklee’ was also one of the group of mates, and mocked the fact that this had been turned into a story.
Friend of a non-league player involved in a play fight with his friend. Stop Press!
Tell you who hasn’t been given a kicking for a while: Roy Hodgson. England’s serene progress to Euro 2016 and exciting young players coming through has given Uncle Roy an enjoyable 2015. Until now. Until Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail.
Hodgson’s crime appears to be playing one of England’s pre-tournament friendlies next summer away from Wembley, in a bid to replicate the issues of travelling large distances between games. If that seems logical to you, you aren’t Martin Samuel.
‘So here we go again,’ Samuel begins. ‘Roy Hodgson is to use England’s three-game warm-up for Euro 2016 to replicate the travel schedules of group stage competition. England will play two matches at Wembley, one on the road, and be based at St George’s Park, the training camp conveniently located in the middle of nowhere.
‘For that’s what went wrong in Brazil: the logistics. Not failing to cope with Luis Suarez or Mario Balotelli; not giving the ball away or sending out an XI for the first game that had never started together. It was the details. Hotels, travelling, training routines.
‘That was definitely the bother, those bus rides. When Gary Cahill fell asleep and allowed Suarez to score to knock England out of the World Cup, he was probably trying to work out whether the number 14 stopped at Sao Paulo airport. Maybe they should ditch the manager and get in a bloke from Thomas Cook.’
Jesus holy f**kballs Martin, calm down. It’s one measure to try and assist the squad, not the answer to winning the whole sodding tournament.
Samuel continues: ‘What about the buses? He forgot the buses. Surely there must be some form of bus evaluation factored into any appraisal of England under Hodgson. Otherwise we’re just left looking at results again, like a bunch of amateurs.’
If England are amateurs judging by their results, that makes every other team in UEFA qualifying amateurs too. Forget the bus, someone call Samuel a taxi.
‘Jose Mourinho would be ‘successful’ at Manchester United, suggests Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil,’ reads the headline on the Independent website.
‘Mourinho’, ‘Manchester United’, ‘Arsenal’ and ‘Ozil’? This is an SEO wet dream.
Actual quotes from Ozil: “I’m surprised by what happened with Jose. He’s a great manager. I believe that any club he goes to now he will be successful again. I know how special he is as a manager. He is a manager who always supports his team and always protects his team. He’s getting the best out of any player. I wish him all the best for the future, and also that he’s healthy and fine.”
Mentions of Manchester Unit… Oh you know.
From The Sun’s website:
‘It’s been the worst kept secret in football since that MP stood up in parliament and momentarily forgot he WASN’T a Hello! journalist by revealing to all and sundry that Ryan Giggs was having it away with that Welsh bird.
‘Public German broadcaster ZDF Sport (poor man’s BBC) are reporting this afternoon that Guardiola HAS decided and WILL go to Manchester City this summer.
‘Although the way things are going this afteroon (sic), Man United’s directors might fancy a cheeky gazumping. Unlike their players who are probably more concerned by a cheeky Nando’s.’
We stopped being surprised at ‘bird’.
‘Mourinho is too proud to hang around and accept being second choice, as he was when Guardiola rejected Chelsea in 2013’ – The Sun.
So Mourinho is too proud to ‘hang around and take a job for which he was second choice’? Apart from that example you just provided when he hung around and took a job for which he was second choice?
Holden out for a hero
‘That’s much better than sitting next to Gary Neville,’ reads the headline in the Daily Mail.
The ‘story’ is Roy Hodgson was sat next to Amanda Holden at Goodison Park on Saturday. It was ‘better’ because she is an attractive woman, presumably. Top work.
Graeme Souness on Sky Sports speaking about Watford’s Troy Deeney: “He’s more than a lump.”
A boil? A swelling? A protrusion?
Festive laboured intro of the day
‘O come all ye faithful – but it may well be joyless and untriumphant. That seems to be what Manchester United are asking their fans to do in an increasingly bleak midwinter under Louis van Gaal’ – Martin Blackburn, The Sun.
Someone pass the brandy (butter).
Unacceptable joke of the day
‘Never mind the Louis van Gaal “philosophy” – it’s more like the phiLOSERphy!’ – The Sun. Please make it stop.
Non-story of the day
‘All aboard! City catch train to London ahead of big Monday night match with Arsenal’ – MailOnline.
Yeah, they’ll do that.
Recommended reading of the day
David Conn on the fall of Sepp Blatter
Michael Cox on Watford
Jack Pitt-Brooke on Arsene Wenger