It is not a big enough exclusive to take precedence over an opportunity to poke fun at England being terrible at something, but the Daily Mail‘s back-page revelation of a ‘threat’ to Match of the Day is certainly eye-catching.
— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) July 24, 2019
The claim is simple. Matt Lawton writes that ‘Sky are considering making Premier League highlights freely available after matches this season in a move that could hit viewing figures’ for the BBC’s highlights show. The programme is even said to be ‘under threat’ from the new proposals, which would see Sky broadcast ‘three-minute clips of key moments on YouTube shortly after games finish’ for nothing, even to those without a Sky subscription.
So this is clearly terrible news for the BBC. Except by paragraph five, Lawton gives the game away. ‘Insiders insist the initiative by Sky should not be of any great concern to the BBC, because the clips on YouTube will not be accompanied by expert analysis or extend to anything like as long as Match of the Day’s coverage of games.’
Quite. And by paragraph six, even Sky are downplaying the doom-mongering: ‘Sky would also insist that fans who watch highlights on their smart phones represent a different demographic to the traditional Match of the Day audience.’
Yet this is all ‘sure to concern senior figures at the national broadcaster’. They, much like Lawton, have presumably never been on Twitter at any point from 3pm to 5pm on a Saturday afternoon, nor can they spot the difference between three minutes of match clips and an hour-long television broadcast interspersed with highlights and in-depth analysis.
Over to you, Gary.
No threat at all. 🙄 https://t.co/Terj18oAGF
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 24, 2019
Also on that Mail back page – albeit swallowed by much more important and definitely legitimate news – is an update on Paulo Dybala’s future. Mike Keegan is one of many journalists who reported Tottenham’s interest in the Juventus forward on Wednesday evening.
‘Tottenham have contacted Juventus as they plan an £80million swoop for striker Paulo Dybala,’ he writes. It is a story also carried by Alasdair Gold of Football.London and Dan Kilpatrick of the London Evening Standard, both of whom have a history of well-sourced Spurs updates. Whatever the motive, it has come from within the club.
The Daily Mirror have not been informed. Simon Mullock is in Shanghai following the club on their pre-season tour, but the newspaper contains no suggestion of a Dybala bid. Yet a story about the striker adorns the top of the Daily Mirror’s website.
‘Paulo Dybala ‘says yes’ to transfer amid Man Utd and Tottenham interest’ reads the headline, cleverly sold not on the claim that Spurs have actually made a bid, but on a Tuttosport story that is about 24 hours old. That Tuttosport story contains no information on Tottenham’s interest, so the Mirror have simply combined the two lines to create an update of their own.
That’s no crime; plenty are guilty of having done similar before. But the Mirror are not content with combining two completely different stories to create one. A third ingredient is needed here.
This just in: appearing in a kit launch is not the start of an unbreakable ten-year contract. pic.twitter.com/SJtwcToMEY
— Football365 (@F365) July 25, 2019
Because no transfer story is sexy without a kit launch.
Of course, Dybala will have had no choice in the matter. He is contractually obliged to appear in any such photo shoot if asked. Much like Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Raheem Sterling and numerous others who left their clubs shortly after doing so.
Indeed, wait until the Mirror discover Laurent Koscielny proudly proclaimed that “we play for the badge” during Arsenal’s kit unveiling at the start of the month.
It is completely and utterly meaningless. Stop pretending otherwise.
Earn your Spurs
‘Mauricio Pochettino is hinting Spurs will make more attacking signings before the season starts,’ writes Oscar Paul in The Sun. Perhaps those Dybala rumours really did have a semblance of truth to them, ‘despite’ him appearing in his current club’s kit…
‘The Tottenham boss has been very impressed with young striker Troy Parrott in pre-season.’
Then he’ll be devastated to learn that Pochettino is buying someone who will inevitably take his spot.
‘Poch’s coaching staff see Parrott as a potential star of the future. But the boss said new buys could mean he has to wait for his chance.’
It’s not often Pochettino publicly discusses signings in such detail. This should be good…
‘He said: “I think I’m going to be happy with the squad we’ll have.
‘”Troy’s still so young but we’ll see what happens at the end of the window.
‘”If we have the squad that we have today, of course he’s going to have the possibility to be with the first team. Today, yes. Tomorrow, I don’t know.”‘
The only ‘hint’ there is a hint of bullsh*t. Where is the suggestion that Tottenham are contemplating signing a new striker?
Perhaps The Sun are not actually solely to blame. The quotes come from an exclusive interview Football.London published on Wednesday morning. The headline?
‘Has Mauricio Pochettino just dropped a big hint that Spurs might look to sign a new striker?’
‘Man Utd agree world-record £80m Harry Maguire transfer with Leicester star set for medical’ – The Sun, July 15.
‘Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not give up on Harry Maguire’ – The Sun, July 25.
He probably should. Harry Maguire’s head is big but a ten-day medical is taking the p*ss.
Floating underwater, breaking into pieces, pieces, pieces
‘Man Utd won’t offer wonderkid Greenwood new deal until he turns 18 after ‘mistakes’ of Macheda and Januzaj’ – Daniel Cutts exclusive, The Sun, May 20.
‘Man Utd lining up new deal for wonderkid Mason Greenwood… as he’s only on £800-a-week’ – Daniel Cutts’ weirdly-hypened, exclusive, The Sun, July 25.
Unnecessary ‘fear’ of the day
‘Fans fear for idol Messi as Barca star shares sunburnt snap on family holiday’ – The Sun.
Bit of aloe vera gel and he’ll be fine, guys.
Recommended reading of the day
Stuart James on Nuno Espirito Santo.
Nick Wright on Dani Ceballos.