How to rope in Liverpool fans with fake news…

Date published: Thursday 12th September 2019 11:26

James Milner Liverpool

Booing James Milner
James Milner was expected to play in Vincent Kompany’s testimonial on Wednesday night, prompting a raft of self-righteous headlines on Liverpool websites about how Manchester City fans should behave, including ‘Why Man City fans would be wrong to boo James Milner at Vincent Kompany’s testimonial’ ( and ‘Man City boos will be music to James Milner’s ears as revisionist history vindicates Liverpool switch’ (Liverpool Echo).

It also prompted somebody at the Daily Express website (we say ‘somebody’, it was Charlie Malam) to write a pre-emptive Google-friendly piece for when some people inevitably searched ‘why are Man City fans booing James Milner?’.

It began:

‘James Milner was booed by a smattering of Manchester City supporters when he touched the ball during Vincent Kompany’s testimonial.’

And then they decided to publish it. Because, well, why wait for something to actually happen before explaining why?

The problem? James Milner did not play and thus did not get booed.

Two questions:

1) Seriously, how the f*** did we get to a place where publishing an ‘explainer’ on something that might happen is acceptable?

2) Why did he decide on a ‘smattering’? If you’re going to invent something, surely you go big…


My people, my football, my old book
It’s the international break so The Sun’s Mike McGrath has picked up his copy of Pep Guardiola’s book ‘La meva gent, el meu futbol (My People, My Football) to find some ‘news’.

Back in March, he claimed an ‘exclusive’ on the story that Guardiola was ‘out on the pull’ when he first got the call from Johan Cruyff about joining Barcelona. McGrath had ‘seen a rare copy’ of the book, you see, which makes words written in 2001 absolutely an exclusive in 2019.

Now it’s international break time again so McGrath has pulled out his 18-year-old book for another ‘news’ story. And this time it’s to tell us ‘how Laporte doc saved Pep’s career’.

Mediawatch’s favourite line?

‘Guardiola’s book reveals how his relationship with Cugat started 21 years ago.’

Which is about the same time he started writing the book.


Shock horror
‘Former England women’s boss Mark Sampson embroiled in shock new race storm as he is accused of not wanting to sign a Nigerian defender’ – MailOnline.

Listen, if you have to use the word ‘new’ to distinguish this race storm from the last, then it no longer qualifies as a ‘shock’.


Five will make you get down, down…
Counting the words uttered by somebody newsworthy on a newsworthy subject is a widespread and legitimate modern media tactic and it’s one that we have used on Football365 if somebody issues either a curt response or a ridiculously lengthy one.

So when we see a headline of ‘Patrice Evra’s five-word message to Paul Pogba after returning to Man Utd’ on the Daily Mirror, we

a) think it is a little odd because it doesn’t sound newsworthy and…

b) assume that Evra actually said five words.

What we don’t expect is a paragraph that openly admits that Evra did absolutely nothing of the sort.

‘A serious Evra, seemingly adapting to his new role, replied: “You can call me uncle, but just be serious, we are here to work really hard,” before saying “I love you” which prompted a smile from the United playmaker.’

That’s 19 words. That’s not shit maths; it’s shit journalism.


Self-inflated quote of the day
“It’s hard not to (get distracted) when you go anywhere and you see your face on the front of a newspaper, or you turn the telly on and people are talking about you” – Sean Longstaff, getting himself all confused with Love Island’s Greg O’Shea. And yes, we did have to Google that.


Silliest question of the week
A giddy Sam Wallace asked in the Daily Telegraph: ‘Kane and Sterling? Or Sterling and Kane? Who takes precedence now? Might, for instance, Sterling, after that unexpected missed penalty from his team-mate, gently suggest that he takes on those duties for now?’



Take a ch-ch-ch-chance
Talking of England’s new darling, ‘GARETH SOUTHGATE has backed Raheem Sterling to one day replace Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best footballer’.

Has he, Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail? Or did he say “he’ll give himself every chance”?

We’ll fix that for you…

‘GARETH SOUTHGATE has backed Raheem Sterling to give himself every chance of replacing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best footballer.’

You’re welcome.


Messi Ronaldo Sterling live
And here’s The Sun website with an SEO dream…

‘Southgate tips Sterling to emulate Messi and Ronaldo after rapid rise to become England’s main man’

He really bloody didn’t. But congratulations on the clicks.


Drama class
Elsewhere in the Daily Mail, ‘JOHN STONES is ready to answer Manchester City’s defensive SOS’, which is a very odd way of saying that an established Manchester City centre-half is fit to play for his club. Oh and England’s players will not ‘hold a summit at St George’s Park next month’; they will probably just have a meeting.


Propaganda headline of the day
‘Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and now Mauro Icardi… so why did Liverpool laugh loudest this summer transfer window?’ –


Mystery man

Could it be – and this is just a shot in the dark – the man who has transformed the whole club?


Recommended reading of the day
Adam Crafton on the relationship between football and grief (£)

Oliver Kay on Michael Owen (£)

Jacob Steinberg on Ross Barkley (no £)


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