Happy War Chest Day
It’s May 13 and we are officially into war chest season.
The Sun tell us that ‘Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50million’, the Daily Mirror claim Everton’s new manager will have a ‘£100m war chest to fund spending bonanza’ and the MailOnline say ‘Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to be handed £60m war chest to strengthen squad’.
Allardyce needs to back and ask for more; our football dictionary tells us that £50m is merely a transfer kitty.
‘If I were Sunderland owner Ellis Short, I would just be asking Sam what he needs in the summer – because Allardyce never spends his money badly at all’ – Mark Lawrenson, BBC.
Sunderland fans had better hope that he does not decide he needs Modibo Maíga for £5m, Matt Jarvis for £10.75m or Enner Valencia for £12m.
Get Rich quick
A quiz. If you were putting together a list of the 20 best Premier League defenders ever, would you…
a) Use your football knowledge and memory, perhaps Googling a couple of names from the Premier League early days to get some perspective.
b) Consult some previous lists, all of which will feature the names of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Tony Adams and Sol Campbell.
c) Use spurious statistical criteria.
If you answered c), then congratulations because you could get a job at the Daily Telegraph website. Or at least an internship.
They decided that the best way to come up with a list of ‘The 20 best Premier League defenders ever‘ was to calculate the percentage of clean sheets their team recorded with them on the pitch. Oh and they limited it only to players who have played at least 100 Premier League games. So less ’20 best Premier League defenders ever’ and more ’20 defenders who played at least three seasons in the Premier League alongside other really good defenders at a successful club’.
So we learn from this list that…
– Paulo Ferreira (9th) was better than the likes of Vincent Kompany, Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand, who had the misfortune to play for West Ham and Leeds before Manchester United so is of course quite a lot sh*tter than David May (7th).
– None of the above are as good as Daniel Agger (5th).
– Richardo Carvalho (sic) is the best Premier League defender ever. Well done, Richardo (sic). You da man.
The inside track
Mediawatch agrees with Neil Ashton of The Sun that Manchester United need a new coach (and no, we don’t mean that one either, you cheeky monkey) but our argument is based on Manchester United’s results, style of play and scant returns on hefty investment. It is not based on a 28-second clip taken by a massively average player.
‘JESSE LINGARD’S video from the team bus gave an insight into life under boss Louis van Gaal at Manchester United,’ begins Ashton. ‘Discipline, once a bastion of this great club under Alex Ferguson, has pretty much disappeared under the Dutchman.’
Alternatively, it gave an insight into the childish mind of a young footballer in 2016, when everything is recorded and shared on mobile phones. Speculating what would have happened in the days of Roy Keane is an entirely moot argument; he left the club 11 years ago. Long before Twitter. Long before Periscope. Long before most people had smartphones. Those old Manchester United players may have acted like d***s but nobody recorded them acting like d***s so it basically never happened.
‘Lingard looked and behaved like he did not care,’ continues Ashton. ‘When he finally got on the pitch, replacing Ander Herrera seven minutes from time, he played that way, too. It suggests the players are done with Van Gaal…’
Yes. Lingard being sh*t on Tuesday is absolutely everything to do with Van Gaal and absolutely nothing to do with Lingard being sh*t.
The road to ruin
It’s a dream headline. It ticks all the SEO boxes. It’s gold. It’s ‘How Manchester United can still completely ruin Liverpool’s season’ on talkSPORT.
And how can Manchester United completely ruin Liverpool’s season? Mediawatch is – to our embarrassment – intrigued.
Here we go: ‘Whisper it, but United fans might also be hoping that results help put Liverpool above Southampton, into seventh spot.
‘Why? Well, seventh place for Liverpool, followed by defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final on 18 May, then victory for United in the FA Cup final three days later, would mean Jurgen Klopp’s team kick off next season in the Europa League third qualifying round. In July!
‘Now that would surely make even the most anti-LVG Red Devil smile.’
So Manchester United can still ruin Liverpool’s season by helping them get European football, with the help of West Brom, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Liverpool themselves, Sevilla and Crystal Palace again. Manchester United can still ruin Liverpool’s season (by helping them get European football) by winning the FA Cup if three other results first go a certain way.
Yes, we can imagine the very first thing Manchester United fans will think at the final whistle if they win the FA Cup is ‘up yours Liverpool, now you’ll have to start playing in the Europa League in July. Take that suckers’. They may pause to wonder why Liverpool did not avert this horrendous scenario by simply not beating West Brom on Sunday and thus not finishing seventh, but they will probably be too busy doing the w***er sign in the general direction of Liverpool.
Sevilla won the Europa League in 2013/14 having begun their campaign in the third qualifying round on August 1 and they still haven’t forgiven UEFA for ruining their season by banning Malaga and Rayo Vallecano from European competition. After all, they had done their best to avoid this terrible fate by finishing ninth.
Whisper it but a) Mediawatch suspects Sevilla are in a far better position to ruin Liverpool’s season and b) this is a crock of sh*t.
You’re having a LARP
‘It won’t be easy, but then being a West Ham fan never is,’ ends the piece from one Sam Diss of ShortList. Oh diddums. It must be really, really hard to support a club that has spent all but four seasons in the Premier League since football began in 1992.
It particularly isn’t easy being a West Ham in the week that fans of your club have ruined the nostalgia-fest at Upton Park (sorry, Boleyn Ground) by throwing bottles and various other things at a bus.
Ah, but where Mediawatch sees a ridiculous act of mindless violence as the world was watching, Diss sees ‘a little hoolie karaoke’, a laugh, a parody of violent behaviour, performance art. How wonderfully post-modern.
Diss writes: ‘From where I stood, the atmosphere was chaotic but jubilant, and the ire exacted at the away team’s transport was not much more than some performative nostalgia. In retrospect, the affair actually carried more than a passing resemblance to LARPing nerds in painfully-accurate civil war attire. Only they swapped garrison doublets for adidas and Argyle.
‘I felt bad for the police that had to deal with the crowd – on horseback, in riot gear, with megaphones – but they did it pretty well. They contained everyone, getting the joke, and – as long as nothing got too out of hand – they were willing to let the dads have their fun.’
The laughing policemen have presumably released photographs of men wanted in connection to these “totally unacceptable” criminal acts because they want to arrange another fun-filled karaoke night.
Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on the re-building job at ‘zombie’ Newcastle
Luke O’Farrell on the job facing the new Everton boss.
Michael Cox on the battle for fourth in Manchester
Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotters Matthew D Kuzava and Ade J. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting Mediawatch in the subject field.