Mediawatch: Who created the Sterling trolls?

Date published: Wednesday 7th September 2016 12:15

You know it’s a slow news day when…
…This is the top football story on Wednesday morning (and  Wednesday lunchtime) according to the Daily Mail:

‘He’s Ronaldo’s best pal who appears in all his social media snaps and celebrates with him on the pitch – so just who is Ricky Regufe?’

A more pertinent question might be ‘Who gives a flying f**k about a footballer’s mate?’


Dean Saunders, ‘misremembering’ champion of the world
You might have heard Dean Saunders’ story about Brian Clough, one that the former player told to much guffawing on Talksport this weekend. It surrounded Clough’s attempts to sign Saunders when allegedly intoxicated. You can listen to the interview here, if you must.

For some, the story left a lingering sour taste in the mouth, given that at the time Clough was evidently battling an alcohol addiction that would eventually cause his premature death.

Nevertheless, it went as ‘viral’ as any banterous story by a Proper Football Man is likely to do…because I think we can all agree that alcoholism is an appropriate subject for all the lols.

Mediawatch would therefore like to stand and applaud Daniel Taylor at the Guardian, who has discovered that not only was Saunders’ story slightly unpleasant, but was also least partly founded in fantasy.

“It’s a good after-dinner speech but unfortunately most of it isn’t true,” Alan Hill [mentioned in Saunders’ story] told Taylor. “Brian wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t crawling on his hands and knees, he didn’t sit facing a wall, he didn’t mention the carpet once and there was no flowerpot… it just feels like he [Saunders] has put this story through a very imaginative scriptwriter and this is what they’ve come up with.”

Go here to read Taylor’s full rebuttal, and decide for yourselves whether Saunders seems like a man worth listening to or just a bit of a d…


Sterling work

‘England flop Sterling enrages fans after Iceland humiliation by showing off blinging house and fleet of supercars’ – The Sun, June 29.

‘The 21-year-old – who infuriated Three Lions fans with a string of below par performances in France – landed in Luton at around 6pm on Monday after being sent packing by the minnows in the second round. A pal posted the video of the pampered star – still wearing his England national team polo shirt – who was only interested in bragging about a fleet of luxury cars and the extravagant mansion’ – The Sun, June 29.

‘Life and times of Three Lions footie idiot Raheem’ – The Sun, June 30.

‘RAHEEM GIRLING Sterling splashes out thousands of pounds to fly stunning sisters to Jamaican hideaway without his girlfriend’ – The Sun, July 24.

‘England footie flop Raheem Sterling blows thousands in 9month chase of glamorous teen while calling his live-in partner ‘just a girl’’ – The Sun, July 30.

Fast-forward six weeks:

‘Sick trolls target Raheem Sterling over four-year-old daughter’s first day at school photos’ – The Sun, September 6.

It’s called cause and effect, guys…


Little Englander Waleser
Sometimes Mediawatch reads a quote from a Proper Football Man or Proper Football Pundit and just giggles to itself. We’re weird like that.

Apropos of exactly that, the following lines are taken from John Hartson’s Scottish Sun column on Oliver Burke’s move from Nottingham Forest to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. Strap in.

‘He’s gone over to Germany and I can’t understand that, to be honest with you. I think that stinks of agents more than anything else,’ Hartson begins.

Sure, there probably were agents involved. We’re not sure about the stink.

‘How much German football do we all see? We see highlights of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and that’s about it.’

You can watch eight different Bundesliga teams on English television this weekend, plus ten more online. That’s literally every team, John. Having been a pundit on BT Sport, perhaps you should ask them for a free subscription?

‘The Premier League is the place to be. I thought that was the next step for him. He’s gone to Leipzig, but what about a Burnley or a Sunderland or a West Brom? It’s only my opinion, but I think he is good enough for the Premier League.’

This kind of Premier League nationalism really is brilliant. You don’t have to agree with RB Leipzig’s policy and ethos – and plenty don’t – but they clearly have greater ambitions and potential than Sunderland, Burnley or West Brom.

Wonderfully, Hartson’s main gripe is that he’d be able to watch more of Burke at Burnley or West Brom.

Number of RB Leipzig games on British television this weekend: 1
Number of Burnley and West Brom games on British television this weekend: 0

It’s a fine strand of Little Englander syndrome: Bemoan British youngsters for not moving abroad to broaden their horizons, then turn up your nose at any German club other than Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Sublime.


A bit of Howe’s your father
‘Ed Hunted’ shouts the back page of Wednesday’s The Sun. It is, it must be said, a strong headline.

‘EDDIE HOWE is under serious consideration to become the next Arsenal manager,’ the piece begins. ‘SunSport can reveal that the highly-regarded Bournemouth chief’s name is being discussed in the corridors of power at the Emirates.’

Arsene Wenger’s contract expires next summer, and neither the club nor manager have made a decision on his future. Eddie Howe is one of the Premier League’s up-and-coming managers. Would it not be weirder if Howe’s name wasn’t ‘being discussed’?

We’ve said this plenty of times before: When the opposite would be a bigger story, it’s not back-page news.


That’s Howe, for now
Said Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn on Eddie Howe:

“We have a man of immense talent and any man of talent, whatever business you are in, is always going to be sought after. We see that very much as a compliment. But Eddie is a Bournemouth boy through and through. He has been with the football club since he was ten.”

Are we just ignoring that bit when Howe chose to leave and manage for Burnley for 18 months before being sacked?


Deflecting attention
Writes comedy Cockney – yes, he did write the word ‘Blimey’ – Paul Jiggins on Marcus Rashford’s goal in The Sun:

‘Rashford scored his second goal of the night to make it 4-0 two minutes later, with a lob so sublime it sparked widespread debate in the stands about whether it had taken a deflection.’

We’ll stop you there, Paul. It did take a deflection.


The new Vieira
Mediawatch gives the Metro website plenty of stick for their unique brand of clickbaitery, but sometimes you have to just doff your cap. Today is one of those days.

‘Brilliant Xhaka stat shows Arsenal may finally have found their new Vieira,’ reads the headline on their football homepage.

The ‘brilliant stat’ is that Xhaka has been sent off a lot, and Patrick Vieira also got sent off a lot.

Strong work.




Derek McGovern casually racist line of the day
‘El Salvador’s national team claim they were offered a bribe before last night’s World Cup qualifier with Canada – the kind of match even Eurosport would turn up its nose at. A Salvadorian go-between, acting for a Honduran businessman, allegedly offered the inducements, but I find that hard to believe – Honduras has businessmen?’ – Derek McGovern, Daily Mirror.

Over eight million people. Approximately four million of them are men. Some of them will be in business.


Disturbing image of the day
‘Hot-shot Rashford on fire and hat-trick has Sam bubbling’ – Daily Mail.

We shudder to think where those bubbles are coming from…


Recommended reading of the day
Marina Hyde on Allardyce and Rooney.

Michael Cox on Manchester derby tactics.

Jonathan Liew on football and competition.


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