Phil yer boots
Mediawatch mistakenly thought we had written about the differing treatment of black and white footballers for the last time; there seemed to be a watershed moment during the World Cup when mainstream writers were saying a collective ‘woah there, this is all a bit weird’. Phew. After all, it is 2018.
Mediawatch clearly has too much faith in certain elements of the media because we opened our copy of the Daily Mail on Friday morning to see the headline ‘Foden buys £2m home for mum’.
Mediawatch’s first question – after a puzzled face at this story’s appearance on the actual sports pages of an actual newspaper – is why this is being sold as Foden buying a home ‘for his mum’ when the very first paragraph says that he ‘has set up his future in the area by buying a new house, thought to be worth around £2million, for himself and his family’?
So unlike Raheem Sterling – who actually bought a house for his mum and was promptly vilified – what Foden has actually done is buy a home for himself and his parents. Yes, Phil Foden Snr will also share the house that his son has bought ‘for his mum’. Will they all have to pay her for bed and board?
‘The move is likely to change little for the player who has always lived at home, doesn’t drink and doesn’t yet drive.’
Well he is 18. Most 18-year-olds do still live at home.
‘He takes cash, rather than cards, on nights out and is thought to have taken out a substantial mortgage on the new house.’
Sorry, what? How is this news? And is using cash rather than cards inherently better or more down to earth? If anything, cash is surely flashier. And most importantly, cards would look shit on a cake…
Why are we not all talking about Phil Foden’s birthday cake? pic.twitter.com/ZRKucFjtum
— Macca (@The_Paris_Angel) May 29, 2018
Oh. It turns out that cash also looks pretty shit on a cake that seems pretty vulgar and flashy for a young man who has his feet so firmly on the ground.
But forget all that because ‘he still fishes with his father’! How cute.
The bad news for sportswriter Ian Herbert is that he has form for writing about young Manchester City players buying houses.
To save you a lot of clicking and reading, Herbert conflated the fact that Manchester City youngster Tosin Adarabioyo had bought himself a £2.25m house with the fact that Peter Beardsley had been accused of making racist remarks to young black players.
As we wrote at the time: ‘Only a man employed by the Mail could see a non-story about a young footballer owning a house and accusations of racism and bullying against a coach at another club and conflate the two into a column that edges dangerously close to victim-blaming.’
This was the headline:
‘One academy star owns a £2.25m house, another is driven to work in a Bentley. Today, old-school coaches are tackling cosseted kids. These generations are…WORLDS APART’
Yes, he really did attempt a defence of Beardsley based on the notion that young footballers these days are spoiled and over-paid. He started with ‘The story of Manchester City’s young defender Tosin Adarabioyo encapsulates the way the world of academy football has changed’ and it got worse…
‘Time will tell whether 56-year-old Beardsley has, as several witnesses allege, bullied and racially insulted young players in a deeply misguided attempt to keep Newcastle’s academy players’ feet on the ground.’
A reminder might be handy here that Beardsley watched a young African player struggle on some climbing equipment and allegedly said: “Why are you taking so long? Your lot should be good at this.”
Clearly it was just a ‘deeply misguided attempt to keep Newcastle’s academy players’ feet on the ground’. That’s pretty much all that racism is, to be fair: Misguided attempts at managing expectations.
Herbert wrote of the parents of such young, flash men:
‘As academy boys find fabulous wealth, some of their parents discover such a distorted sense of entitlement and self-importance that you wonder who on earth would want to be a coach in an environment like that, these days.’
Nine months later, Phil Foden’s parents ‘Phil and Claire, are thought to have been involved in choosing the house and he is determined to keep the close-knit family together despite his emergence as one of England’s outstanding talents’.
Spot the (absolutely massive bloody) difference.
You got the style
Mediawatch is not privy to whose idea it was to write a list of the 20 Premier League clubs based on the clarity of their system, but we absolutely know that what tactical writer Michael Cox thought he was writing is not quite how ESPN have sold the piece.
‘What’s your club’s playing identity and how well do they stick to it? Here’s our “league table” that ranks all 20 Premier League teams according to one question: How identifiable is their game plan?’
‘Style Points: Ranking all 20 Premier League clubs by how they play the game (sorry, Man United)’
That’s really not the same thing. The clues are there when you see Burnley in fifth and Cardiff in sixth.
Shortest hoodoo ever?
Says the back page of The Sun:
‘ALVARO MORATA finally found the net to end his Europa League hoodoo.
‘Chelsea’s Spanish striker had been the competition’s most wasteful player this term, with only one shot on target in 13 attempts.’
He ‘finally’ found the net to end a ‘hoodoo’ that had lasted a grand total of 150 minutes.
Note to tabloid writers: Not everything has to have a narrative. Sometimes a man just scores a goal to win a football game.
Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Storey on West Ham and Mark Noble
Richard Jolly on Newcastle United
Stuart James on young England