Shake and Beek
Question: What is the biggest story in all of football as of Thursday lunchtime, a day after seven Premier League clubs secured safe passage in the League Cup, with Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City all playing their ties in the evening?
Well Luis Suarez is headed to Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. That’s quite substantial. As is the transfer window as a whole, with only a few days left for clubs across Europe to strengthen. And that global pandemic thing is still threatening the integrity and very existence of teams everywhere around the world. So there is plenty to go at.
Yet The Sun proudly stick this atop their website:
‘Van de Beek and partner Estelle Bergkamp explore Manchester in plush dinner date’
Couple has dinner. And gives shameless outlet a flimsy excuse to publish a story with four irrelevant pictures solely of a footballer’s girlfriend either posing on a beach or getting out of a swimming pool, all taken from her Instagram.
It’s enough to make you wonder why they bother employing actual journalists and sending them to matches.
‘How Burger King made tiny STEVENAGE FC a global powerhouse using FIFA 20’ – The Sun.
Sure, they aren’t Real Madrid. But ‘tiny’ Stevenage FC are fifth in League Two and have been in the Football League for a decade. Why are you referring to them like a semi-professional team full of part-time builders instead of one that was in the same division as Wolves and Sheffield United six years ago?
What’s at least £28m between friends?
‘Edouard Mendy becomes Chelsea’s SEVENTH new arrival this transfer window as he joins in £22m deal from Rennes… as boss Frank Lampard finally signs goalkeeping target to take his summer spending above £250m’ – MailOnline.
‘Chelsea sign Mendy from Rennes for £22m to take spending to incredible £222m’ – The Sun.
Have you ever noticed that the Manchester Evening News have a favourite word?
‘Manchester United fans think they might have four new undroppables’ – September 24. The players: Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
‘Manchester United confirm new undroppable after harsh reality check’ – August 18. The player: Luke Shaw.
‘Manchester United have a new undroppable from unbeaten run’ – June 28. The player: Luke Shaw.
‘Manchester United fans name new undroppable after Sheffield United win’ – June 26. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘How Manchester United have discovered a new undroppable in their attack’ – April 21. The player: Daniel James.
‘Manchester United have discovered six undroppables’ – April 12. The players: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial.
‘Manchester United have new undroppable for Man City derby fixture’ – March 7. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘Manchester United might have a new undroppable in Eric Bailly after Chelsea performance’ – February 18.
‘Manchester United player Scott McTominay is undroppable claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ – December 4, 2019.
‘Manchester United’s undroppable restores their identity in win vs Tottenham’ – December 4, 2019. The player: Marcus Rashford. But also Scott McTominay.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has another Manchester United undroppable after Norwich win’ – October 28, 2019. The player: Scott McTominay.
‘Manchester United have a new undroppable in Axel Tuanzebe’ – October 16, 2019.
‘A Manchester United player has become undroppable again’ – February 7, 2019. The player: Nemanja Matic.
‘Manchester United have nine undroppables under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ – January 8, 2019. The players: Phil Jones, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, David de Gea, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Manchester United, there, having 18 undroppables in as many months. And Nemanja Matic fulfilling that role about 427 times alone. It’s almost as if it’s too facile a term to use constantly.
But here is by far our favourite MEN headline of this genre, from December 3 of last year and based on quotes from Solskjaer:
‘Manchester United players told they are not undroppable’
Oh for fu…
The revolution will not be televised
There is something wonderfully old-fashioned about the back page of The Sun claiming an ‘exclusive’ on the Andy Dillon’s news that ‘David Moyes is set to take West Ham training via Zoom from Covid-19 exile’.
So, man works from home, basically. Like the rest of us.
And of course he is not going to ‘take training’, as much as the image of Moyes mocked up as Joe Wicks is massive amounts of fun. He is simply going to ‘set up a Zoom video link with assistant Alan Irvine to oversee preparations’. Frankly, it would be weird if he didn’t; he’s at home, he’s not ill and West Ham have lost their opening two games of the season. Sitting on his sofa and watching The Land Girls would be a dereliction of duty.
But we have to turn to the inside pages for the real insight:
‘West Ham insiders say Moyes is planning to watch Sunday’s game on TV while keeping an open phone line to his backroom staff on the bench at the London Stadium.’
It would be a ballsy move not to watch West Ham play when you are the actual West Ham manager.
The Sun‘s Andy Dillon was also at Chelsea on Wednesday night, a tough assignment for a West Ham fan.
We learned that ‘Lampard brought £70million man Havertz in from his traditional winger role to support recalled striker Tammy Abraham’.
Can two Premier League games be a ‘tradition’? Havertz played twice as many games as a supporting striker than as a winger in the Bayer Leverkusen season that earned him his move to Chelsea.
The only thing traditional here is that a tabloid newspaper knows or cares very little about formations and tactics.
It’s a tad disingenuous of the Daily Mirror to headline their Everton match report ‘Carlo Picks on Jordan’ when he literally said “Jordan wasn’t the only one”. Even The Sun say that Ancelotti ‘refused to point the finger at Jordan Pickford’. And you don’t want to be on lower moral ground than The Sun.