Confusing introduction of the day
‘Cricket was on Jose Mourinho’s mind – not sumo wrestling.
‘For a man from a country that does not get the sport, Jose Mourinho had a mighty good go at playing with a straight bat.
‘For a time he could have taught our floundering Ashes squad a thing or to (sic)’ – Neil Custis, The Sun.
Even ignoring the extremely tenuous cricket references, you can hardly sell your piece on the inside page as Mourinho ‘playing it with a straight bat’ when the back-page story (which you write) has Mourinho ‘slamming City as uneducated’, sees you claiming that the ‘derby-day storm continued to blow across Manchester’ and describes how Manchester United’s manager ‘raged’.
That sounds more like hitting out than forward defence.
Taking the p*ss out of your own people
Mediawatch apologises for coming across as particularly grumpy today, but some things really do make you stand back in awe at this race to the bottom.
At 11am on Wednesday, the top story on Mirror Football is headlined ‘Man United win the Premier League! The table according to Google searches (and City don’t even make top six)’.
To repeat, this is the top story. Not a silly little feature hidden away to garner some SEO traffic, but the big hitter.
The Mirror have a network of fine journalists who get stories and pass comment. On Wednesday alone, they have David Anderson and David McDonnell all over the Manchester clubs, David Maddock covering Jurgen Klopp, John Cross doing Arsenal and Simon Bird with the latest Rafael Benitez stuff. The budget is there. The stories are there.
So how do those people feel when the top story is designed purely to gain SEO traffic? Any pretence that that isn’t the case is removed when you look at the URL slug: ‘news/manchester-united-win-premier-league-’. Come on, guys.
‘Manchester City would not qualify for Europe if the Premier League table was determined by Google searches,’ the piece begins.
Lucky for City that it isn’t determined by sodding Google searches, then. It’s determined by the results of football matches. Football matches that you send a raft of journalists to cover. At least give them the respect of not pushing their work below this shite.
For those interested, the story second on their football homepage is that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is selling his car. Of course it bloody is.
Cold hands, warm heart
You have to admire The Sun’s – the biggest selling daily newspaper – continued insistence on also ignoring actual football in favour of the noise around the game.
In the paper they take a ruckus in a tunnel into its third straight day of back-page lead, while Burnley going fourth in the Premier League and Crystal Palace scoring two late goals to move out of the relegation zone don’t merit any story space on the back.
The website goes further, of course. ‘Michy Batshuayi’s hot water bottle, Luis Suarez’s snood and Ryan Giggs’ tights… how footballers stay warm in the winter,’ reads the headline on their football homepage. Sit back and learn how footballers use hats, tights, snoods, gloves and blankets to stay warm. It’s like they’re human beings like us.
The low point of the article is being shown a photo of Luis Suarez wearing a scarf four years ago and told:
‘Luis Suarez eventually left Liverpool for the chance to win more trophies and the play with Lionel Messi.
‘Playing in sunny Barcelona (average of 14C in December) over Liverpool (average 6C) probably also had something to do with it.
‘Suarez did his best to wrap up back in March 2013… but he’s clearly not the happiest.’
Still, it could be worse
‘YOU ABU-TIES Respectful Real Madrid Wags cover up in hijabs to explore Abu Dhabi’ – The Sun.
‘Manchester United ‘target’ Willian sends Chelsea warning amid transfer talk,’ reads the headline on the Manchester Evening News website.
Now that headline hints at something quite specific. The Manchester United link is needed to make this a local story to the MEN, but the ‘sends Chelsea warning’ implies that Willian has, well, done exactly that.
So what exactly did Willian say?
“Always when I play I want to play well, to try to make the difference with my team-mates. Of course, I want to play every game, everyone wants to play every game, but only 11 can start so always I do my job.”
It takes a sensationally low threshold to describe that as a warning. Almost deliberately low, you might say.
The state of online journalism, part 427
‘Liverpool news: Most likely January signings according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, November 13.
‘Arsenal news: Most likely January signings according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, November 14.
‘Chelsea news: Most likely January signings according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, November 15.
‘Transfer news: Most likely January signings according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, November 27.
‘Six likely January deals according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, December 4.
‘Transfer news: Six most likely January deals according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, December 6.
‘Barcelona news: Most likely transfers according to the bookies – Coutinho and Luiz tipped’ – Daily Express, December 12.
‘Man Utd news: Most likely transfers according to the bookies – odds on Ozil and Griezmann’ – Daily Express, December 12.
‘Real Madrid news: Most likely transfers according to the bookies’ – Daily Express, December 12.
Men of the people
‘It wasn’t just the players’ performance that didn’t go down well at Chelsea in the final Champions League group game with Atletico Madrid last Tuesday.
‘The hot pre-match food destined for the media got stuck in the lift on its way down to the press room at Stamford Bridge’ – Andrew Dillon, The Sun.
So they were only able to eat cold food from the free buffet? The heart bleeds.
Pardew gonna Pardew
“Will I bring in a psychologist? Yeah, me – I’m the psychologist. I’ve told them, and I’m sure they’ve got the message. I can’t play, though, and your experienced players and younger players need to understand where the game is and how will we see it through” – Alan Pardew.
Friend first, boss second. Probably a psychologist third.
Image caption of the day
‘How it might look if rivals bosses Guardiola, Mourinho and Wenger settled their differences in the sumo ring’ – The Sun.
And people accuse our tabloid media of dumbing down.
Jose saying ‘diversity’ – are we sure? Broken up – the way he’s delivering it – it sounds more like ‘diver-city’. Listen again.
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) December 12, 2017
What a man.
Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith with Stuart Taylor.
Michael Cox on Raheem Sterling.
Matthew Santangelo on Mauro Icardi.