Man United legends SCARING off potential Ten Hag successors and other ‘job offer’ nonsense

Editor F365
Former Man Utd players Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.
Former Man Utd players Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.

The Manchester United job is just too scary, and it’s not even because of the fact they’re definitely selling all but three of their first-team squad.


Scare quotes
In the latest instalment of How Journalism Works we have a long, thoughtful piece of work from the Telegraph about the unique difficulties of managing Manchester United. One reason given is the sheer number and profile of former players with punditry gigs, and how they can make life harder for the manager.

That the current most outspoken pundit on United is Jamie Carragher raises some issues about the specifics here, but it does still seem reasonably valid. Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes are all very high-profile pundits and none is renowned for fence-sitting about the travails of their former club.

The Telegraph, though, are clear that this is seen as a bit of a bother rather than any kind of deal-breaker.

Telegraph Sport knows of at least two potential candidates for the United job, should they decide to make a change, who harbour concerns over the constant noise and debate created by opinionated ex-players.

There is no suggestion any candidate would turn down the post if it were offered because of the opinions of ex-players, but it is an issue that would be taken into consideration and is ultimately viewed as making the job harder.

One source said: ‘No English club has as many ex-players talking about all the great things they did at the club in the past and creating so many headlines with their opinions about the manager. Nobody can think it is helpful.’

There you go: ‘no suggestion’ it would put actually anyone off the job, but it’s unhelpful and makes things harder. Fine.

But pop it all through The Sun Quote-a-tron 4000 and it comes out as:

Man Utd’s angry legends are SCARING away Ten Hag’s successor with managers ‘concerned over constant criticism’

And a double-down of an intro:

Angry Manchester United legends could scare away potential successors to Erik ten Hag, reports say.

Number of the times the words scare, scaring or any variant thereof appear in that Telegraph report: you already know.

👉 Ten Hag sack may now be inevitable, but where Man Utd go next remains an insoluble puzzle
👉 Why leading Man Utd manager candidate Tuchel would be far better fit than doomed Ten Hag


Special offer
There’s a lot of Ten Hag guff around, you’ll be astonished to discover.

The Sun have also gone with this one:

Erik ten Hag loses managerial job offer just hours after Man Utd’s 4-0 mauling at Crystal Palace

It’s a nice line – and textbook use of Mediawatch favourite ‘just hours’ – but it is, alas, utter balls.

Being ‘among the top candidates’ for the Bayern Munich gig is not remotely the same thing as a ‘job offer’, and they know it.

Repeat after Mediawatch: words have meanings.


Three is the magic number
This one is clearly going to bug us for the entire bastard summer, but we’re not going to let it go.

The Daily Mirror’s turn to be told today: Manchester United having only three players for whom they will not entertain any offer for any amount from anywhere is not the same thing as being ‘ready to ditch all but three players’. They will definitely keep some of the others.


Going for Gold
This has been a thing for a while, but never to this level. There are now whole swathes of the Daily Star football homepage stuffed with headlines that read like questions from the ‘Who am I?’ head-to-head round of Going for Gold, which for younger readers was a quiz where contestants from mainland Europe would wipe the floor with contestants from Britain in a quiz conducted entirely in English.

Mediawatch readers, you are in control: play or pass?

‘I’m an Arsenal icon – I twice snubbed Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd to stay put’

‘I’m ex-Premier League manager – I’m more likely to start pub band than return to dugout’

‘I played under Roy Keane as a boss – he was never there so we didn’t have a relationship’

‘I’m an ex-Liverpool star but I want Arsenal to win the league – I’ve always supported them’

‘I was a Tottenham star when we fell to lasagne-gate – a fire was lit in my guts’

‘I’m an ex-Liverpool star – one pre-season booze-up ended with the squad in prison cell’

It is, admittedly, perhaps even tougher than the actual quiz. And you’d really need Daily Mail-length headlines for it to properly work counting down through the four scoring zones.

Anyway, answers at the bottom because we know it’ll drive you batty otherwise, perhaps even in extreme cases leading you to the Daily Star website itself. Which won’t do.


Icon watch
Lovely stuff from The Sun with this headline.

Liverpool snap up 17-year-old son of Premier League icon and hand him first pro contract after stunning 90-GOAL season

Let’s deal with the timings here first, because they’re technically correct but could do with some context. The player in question was snapped up in 2018, and had his 90-GOAL season three years ago playing for the U13s and U14s.

Technically correct, then, to say Liverpool ‘hand him his first pro contract after a 90-goal season’, in much the same way as it’s correct to say Liverpool ‘hand him his first pro contract after the birth of Jesus’.

As to the iconic status of Keyrol Figueroa’s dad, Maynor Figueroa, we’ll leave you to make up your own minds.


Who Am I? answers, in order, are Tony Adams, Glenn Hoddle, Pascal Chimbonda, Ryan Babel, Michael Carrick, Stephen Warnock