Mediawatch: Merson, McDonald’s & Arsenal

Date published: Friday 16th October 2015 12:12

Paul Merson has pinpointed why McDonald’s rule the world, and Van Gaal is a tactical chump…


Paul Merson’s magic guide to business
As far as Mediawatch is aware, Paul Merson does not have a Business or Economics degree. And yet he has entirely nailed the secret of McDonald’s’s continued success on Sky Sports:

“Just think of massive fast food companies. They make all that money and create all that success, selling more hamburgers and more chips and more drinks than anyone else, but they still spend on adverts. Arsenal should have spent in the summer.”

We’re lovin’ it.


Trouble shooting
“If one of the centre-halves or strikers gets injured they’re [Arsenal, who else?] in trouble,” said Merson. You mean like when Gabriel came in against Liverpool, Newcastle, Stoke and Manchester United and they kept clean sheets, Paul?


Magic advice of the day
Paul Merson on Jurgen Klopp: ‘It’s different over here, and he will need to get used to it.’


Diminishing returns
‘I wouldn’t rule them out of a top-eight finish,’ is Paul Merson’s balls-on-the-line verdict on Crystal Palace (who are ‘a different kettle of fish’, apparently. To what is never made clear).

As his September 4 prediction was that they would finish fifth, we should bloody think not.

What’s coming in November? ‘Merson fancies Palace for top half’? By February they might be primed for survival.


One more from Merse
‘City without those two [Silva and Aguero] is like taking the City out of Manchester.’

Sorry, what?


The big question

Tottenham are in eighth. This time last season, Tottenham were also in eighth; and that was their worst start since 2008. #SSNHQ


The biggest week ever, ever, ever
The Sun’s
Steven Howard has previously called Louis van Gaal ‘away with the fairies’ (for making his Manchester United players practise passing – the crazy fool), so Mediawatch is unsurprised to see him building up games against Everton, CSKA Moscow and Manchester City as ‘the most important week of his Manchester United career’. Mediawatch would have picked the week in March when fourth-placed United played (and beat) Tottenham and Liverpool in quick succession to pull away from their top-four rivals, but never mind. This week in October – with United two points off the top of the table – is definitely the biggest yet.

Howard even claims that Goodison Park is a ‘bit of a burial ground for high-profile managers’. Is he seriously suggesting that Van Gaal could be sacked if they lose? Surely he will get the chance to complete ‘the most important week of his Manchester United career’?

The ‘man at the heart of The Sun’ is more than happy to peddle the idea that serial trophy winner Van Gaal is some kind of tactical imbecile:

‘So it’s a big week for Van Gaal who arrived last season on a high after taking Holland to the World Cup semi-finals.

‘They might have fared better if Robin van Persie had taken part in the penalty shootout against Argentina — except Van Gaal had substituted him six minutes into extra-time. Bizarre.

‘He can’t afford too many slip-ups over the next few days.’

Yes, substituting a 30-plus player after 96 minutes just four days after he had played 120 minutes is just plain crazy. Especially when the man coming on to replace him is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who had scored the winning penalty to beat Mexico in their last-16 clash. The mad b**tard.

And there has definitely been no recent indication that Holland reaching the World Cup semi-finals was any kind of achievement.


Revelation of the day
‘The BBC study revealed a full Manchester United junior strip, with name and number printed on the back, cost more than £100.’

Because obviously you can’t get that information by just going to the United website.


Luddite of the day
‘In these days of intense analysis, with an obsession for statistics like passes completed, tackles won and yards run, we are in danger of producing ‘Stepford Footballers” – Dave Woods, Daily Star.



Five ridiculous headlines from far more successful websites
‘Thomas Muller actually sounds exactly like Kermit the Frog’ – Metro.

‘Cesc Fabregas proves he’s in shape to fight to save Chelsea’s stuttering title defence’ – MailOnline have a picture of Cesc with his top off. The professional sportsman looks like a professional sportsman.

‘Former Man Utd boss to replace Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa over ex-Liverpool manager’ – Daily Express give a lesson in how to get the names of England’s two biggest clubs in a headline about Villa. Boom.

‘Man United must do this vital thing to beat Everton’ – Metro. It’s ‘get off to a fast start’. One word: Insight.

‘Everything you need to know about Norwich v Leicester’ – The Independent. Surprisingly not a blank page.


Least surprising titbit of the day
‘Sherwood wanted the likes of Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor’ – The Daily Mirror.

Was it too late to get Michael Dawson?


Sing out loud, sing out strong
Says Tim Sherwood: “They were singing my name three weeks ago – they will be singing it in three weeks’ time.”

Three weeks ago Aston Villa were losing 3-2 to Liverpool; it’s probably best that Sherwood doesn’t recall exactly what they were singing.


Salesman of the year
Neil Ashton, Daily Mail, March 25: ‘Dave Bassett and Wally Downes are to set the record straight about the glory days at Wimbledon after agreeing to write a book about the club’s incredible rise through the Football League.’

Neil Ashton, Daily Mail, September 18: ‘Former Wimbledon manager Dave Bassett and ex-Dons midfielder Wally Downes have collaborated on a new book to provide an accurate reflection of events at Plough Lane during the club’s glory years.’

Neil Aston, Daily Mail, October 16: ‘Jonny Owen’s film I Believe in Miracles — the story of Nottingham Forest’s success under Brian Clough — has been received to critical acclaim, but on Friday night there will be a celebration of another remarkable run to the top of English football. Many players from the Crazy Gang era will join generations of Wimbledon supporters at a special dinner for the launch of Dave Bassett and Wally Downes’ book The Crazy Gang about the club’s journey from the Southern League to the old First Division.’

Somebody owes Ashton a pint.


Misleading headline of the day
‘From Martial’s magic to Mourinho’s moans…as the Premier League returns, our experts say this could be the BEST season of all’ – Daily Mail. They really don’t. Not a one of them. Not even close.


Overdramatic headline of the day
‘KLOPP’S CRISIS’ – the back page (the actual back page) of the Daily Mail. Does losing two fringe players really constitute a ‘crisis’?


Worst headline of the day
‘Poch has to Heung on a Min’ – The Sun.


Non-football story of the day
‘Ted Richards wants to be a parrot. Such is his desire to appear a feathered bird that he’s undergone numerous body modifications. His latest is to chop his ears off. The Bristol man loves his pet parrots Ellie and Teaka a great deal and just endured a six-hour operation to be closer to them. “I think it looks really great,” he said. “I love it. It’s the best thing that has happened to me. I am so happy it’s unreal, I can’t stop looking in the mirror.” Apparently the move left a top surgeon absolutely “horrified,” but the 56-year-old says he’s “happier than ever”. He’s just got himself a girlfriend, too – Suzannah, 31.

‘Ted has given his ears to someone “who will appreciate them” and they’re going to be preserved in resin. The only complication the Bristolian now faces is that he can no longer keep his glasses in place. But he said he’s had ‘transdermals’ put in – objects placed partly below and above the skin – to help solve the problem’ – Quirker.


Recommended reading
Jack Pitt-Brooke
interviews Valon Behrami, who appeals for sympathy for migrants

Jonathan Wilson on the wonders of gegenpressing

Nick Miller on the debuts of Liverpool managers


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotters James Pender and Antony Lifsey. Enjoy your weekend and send ‘Mediawatch’ entries to

More Related Articles