You know it’s a slow news day when…
…the back page of the Daily Mirror contains the following paragraph:
‘The winger’s [Eden Hazard’s] fondness of vanilla-flavoured powdered drinks was revealed in a document containing details of Chelsea players’ nutritional needs after matches.’
You also know it’s a slow news day when…
…the top story on The Sun’s football homepage is:
‘Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ander Herrera pretend to look interested in PR stunt for oil firm in China.’
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the perfect The Sun football story. It would be a transfer rumour, naturally. It would contain references to a ‘WAG’, of course. Preferably one who is prolific on social media.
Step forward Toby Gannon, for his sensitive reporting of Italian newspaper Corriere della Sport’s slightly dubious claim that Mauro Icardi’s agent is in London talking to Arsenal.
‘Mauro Icardi to Arsenal: Inter Milan star’s sexy wife and AGENT flies to London for showdown talks over £43million Gunners move,’ the headline reads.
Mediawatch particularly enjoyed the ‘AGENT’ in capital letters, as if to say “They’ll let women do anything these days.” Remember Wanda Icardi, you’re a ‘sexy wife’ first and everything else second.
The story contains 190 words, uses ‘WAG’ three times (including ‘the cheeky Wag’, which sounds wonderful) and contains nine pictures of Wanda Icardi. The only surprise is that just six of them are bikini shots.
Nailed it, as ever.
In the Daily Mirror, poor David Anderson is forced to squeeze a two-page spread out of Manchester City’s friendly against Bayern Munich. Unsurprisingly, he went for the Pep Guardiola angle.
‘He won three successive Bundesliga titles and averaged an unprecedented 2.52 points per game with a win rate of 80 per cent,’ Anderson begins.
‘Yet there was barely any mention on Bayern Munich’s website of Pep Guardiola’s return on Wednesday with Manchester City. It is a stark illustration that boss Guardiola’s relationship with the Bavarian giants is one of respect rather than love.’
Firstly, it’s not that unusual for a club to focus on their current manager than former. After all, this is Carlo Ancelotti’s first home game in charge.
Secondly, the top story on Bayern Munich’s homepage is a story about the game against Manchester City. These are the first two paragraphs of that story, verbatim:
‘FC Bayern against Manchester City: what sounds like a mouth-watering Champions League encounter is a friendly in mid-July, when the teams are in the middle of pre-season preparation and a number of pros are still on holiday after the Euro. But even if the significance of the meeting is diminished, the fans have reason to look forward to a highlight! Carlo Ancelotti makes his debut at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday at 20.30 CET, and he takes on none other than his predecessor Pep Guardiola.
“I have a very good relationship with Pep,” Ancelotti commented after Friday’s training session at the Säbener Strasse: “He did an outstanding job here.” Ancelotti is looking forward to meeting Guardiola on Wednesday, but he does not need the Catalan’s expertise with regard to FC Bayern. “I already know my team very well. Every coach has his own style. I’ll try to introduce my ideas, but Pep has shaped FC Bayern’s style of play of course.” The meeting between Ancelotti and Guardiola is at the centre of attention, but the two coaches focus on other things.’
We’ve handily italicised the name that is ‘barely mentioned’ (in the top story on their website).
‘Sergio Aguero to shock Manchester City by snubbing £52m deal for return to Argentina’s Independiente’ – Phil Cadden, The Sun, March 16.
‘Exclusive: Sergio Aguero to sign new Manchester City deal as Pep Guardiola effect begins to show’ – Phil Cadden, The Sun, July 20.
Oh Phil. Phil, Phil, Phil. Get your Phil. Big Phillie style. We’re not angry, just disappointed.
On the same page
‘Antonio Conte claims he has seen plenty of promising signs from his Chelsea squad’ – Adrian Kajumba, Daily Mirror.
‘Antonio Conte knew that managing Chelsea would be tough – but now the reality is setting in’ – Justin Allen, The Sun.
Yes, those lines are both on the same quotes from Conte.
First. Fast. Later.
— The Northern Echo (@TheNorthernEcho) July 20, 2016
BREAKING NEWS: Sky sources: Talks between Middlesbrough & Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic have broken down.
More on #SSNHQ
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) July 20, 2016
More broken than breaking.
‘John Stones to Manchester City: Everton ace hints deal to join Pep Guardiola is close as he crosses M62 for shopping spree’ – The Sun, July 19.
‘John Stones attempted to distance himself from speculation surrounding his long-term future by going on a shopping trip with his girlfriend’ – MailOnline, later on July 19.
‘Distance himself’? Somebody should have told The Sun.
One man and his Drog
‘Finally! An Arsenal defender who isn’t scared of Didier Drogba,’ shouts out the Metro headline.
The Arsenal defender in question is Calum Chambers. Here’s what he said:
“It will be a good test playing against a player with such experience. He is probably the player I’m looking forward to playing the most. He just always scores important goals. The way he plays, obviously he is strong and is a big character. To match up with players like that is what you want to do and who you want to play against.
“That for me will be a great experience to play against him. He was always in the right place at the right time and the way he plays, he’s got a great finish on him as well and he is strong. He has the whole package which makes him such a handful.”
Even by the Metro’s typical standards, this is fine work.
Please stop this
A wild @paulpogba has just appeared!
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) July 20, 2016
More ridiculous headlines from far more successful websites
‘Picture proves Mourinho will always have Chelsea in his heart’ – Metro.
A picture of him, with his two kids, on the Chelsea pitch with the Premier League trophy. Manchester United must be fuming.
‘Has Jose Mourinho’s wife accidentally confirmed Paul Pogba’s transfer to Manchester United?’ – Mirror Football.
No. At best she has let slip that Mourinho would like Paul Pogba. Which we all knew, and so did you.
‘Is that the FA on the phone, Steve? Bruce takes a call on the Mansfield bench as Hull boss puts his case forward for England job’ – Daily Mail.
‘Man talks on phone’.
Worst headline of the day
‘Gunners can trap Moussa’
Mickey Mousse pronunciation from The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Marcus Christenson with Daniel Agger.
Sid Lowe on Barcelona, Real Madrid and signing players
Grant Wahl on Javier Hernandez.