Mediawatch: A manager quotes special

Date published: Tuesday 8th November 2016 12:54

Paul Lambert has been appointed the new manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, a decision that hasn’t gone down brilliantly with every supporter. Still, there’s one man confident of erasing the mistakes of the past, and that’s Lambert himself. Not his mistakes, you understand.

“I went to a great club like Aston Villa and had difficult times there but I certainly wouldn’t do that again.

“I certainly wouldn’t protect people the way I did protect them, then the club spent money after I left and ended up getting relegated.

“It just shows you I didn’t do too bad a job there when you look at it. If you look back on it I think people will say he did a good job considering the amount of money I got given to spend.”

A few choice points:

– Lambert spent £47m on players at Aston Villa. He sold players for fees totalling £10m. In between Lambert leaving and relegation, Villa did indeed spend £59m on players, but received £55m in transfer fees. The only reason they spent that money is because they lost two of their best players in Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke. Yes, we’re talking about net spend, fella.

– If Lambert “protected people”, he did it to keep his job. If that was to the detriment of performance, that’s his own doing.

– In Lambert’s last 57 league matches at Aston Villa, the team took 51 points and scored 42 goals. “People will say he did a good job” – if those “people” are fans of Aston Villa, they really, really, won’t.

– Given that he left the team in 18th position having scored 12 goals in 25 league games that season and alienated supporters through awful football, it might not be a good idea to bring up the subsequent relegation as reflecting well on him. Isn’t the opposite true? Lambert didn’t complete the fall, but he certainly failed to address the slide.

– Lambert has completely ignored his time at Blackburn Rovers. Did he protect people there, too?

It might go well for Lambert at Wolves, but using Aston Villa’s relegation after his departure as evidence of his strengths is a ballsy start to life in the Black Country.


Brain training
Jose Mourinho on Luke Shaw:

“Shaw told me this morning that he was not able to play. For the team, you have to do anything. There is a difference between the brave, who want to play at any cost, and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference. If I were to speak with the many great football people of this team, they will say they played many times without being 100%. We have players on the pitch with problems. In every sport, how many times do you play and you’re not 100%?”

Apropos of that, here’s former Derby County defender Shaun Barker on the psychological impact of serious injury, speaking in an interview with the Guardian:

“Your brain remembers such trauma that you’ve got to tell yourself that it’s getting better. You’ve got reinforce the fact there’s nothing wrong in your knee any more, and it’s just your brain protecting you because of what happened before. I need to teach my brain to do all these normal functions again.”

And here’s former player Gregor Robertson, who like Shaw suffered a double leg break, talking to Sky Sports:

“The greatest test for a footballer who breaks his leg is in his mind. There are so many steps to be taken on the road to recovery. Conquering each one is like placing another little piece in a puzzle. The biggest test will come when he has to put his leg in harm’s way. None of the work with the physios or strength and conditioning coaches can prepare you for that moment, when instinct and reaction in the heat of the moment means putting your leg into the unknown.”

Shaw is 21. He broke his leg 14 months ago, and has started eight club games since. Permission for Mediawatch to consider it a d*ck move to publicly ‘out’ his mentality.


This mortal Coyle
Said Blackburn Rovers manager Owen Coyle, with his team in 23rd place:

“We’ve had one clean sheet. If we’d have had 10 clean sheets we’d have been picking up enormous points.”

And if Mediawatch only stopped eating chippy teas we’d be svelte.


Clean as a whistle
Said Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, having taken 24 points in his last 32 league games:

“Clean sheets have never been top of my priority, but of course they’re important. I’m looking for one in the next two or three games – it gives us a foundation to win games.”

You’ve kept two clean sheets in your last 30 games, Alan. We know it’s not a priority, but…

“I want my team to play and entertain. If certain Palace fans focus on that part of our game that’s understandable – but I’m not going to change the way I play. I want us to entertain and I thought the Liverpool game when it was poised at 3-2 was unbelievably a great game for anyone watching.”

It was wonderful to watch for the neutrals, but not Palace fans who saw their team slip to their 17th defeat in the last 29 league games. After the game was “poised” it became distinctly un-poised after Palace conceded a fourth goal. That became 18 defeats in 30 at Burnley. Still, at least that was a good game to watch too.

“Our Palace fans should enjoy that we are having a go at Liverpool and not sitting back looking to just stop them. That’s how I am and that’s how it is.”

Telling fans they should enjoy the football while the team achieves miserable results after a significant summer spend. That always ends well.


‘The man who always speaks his mind’
With Dave Kidd departed for The Sun, the Daily Mirror have given Stan Collymore top billing with his column. We’re told to read ‘Stan the Man’ on the back page, and on page 51 told that this is ‘the man who speaks his mind’. Is that necessarily a compliment?

‘I hear some pundits saying, ‘Oh, well last week I thought Manchester City were going to win the league but this week I’m going to say Liverpool’,’ Collymore writes.

‘And that’s rubbish, it winds me up, because things don’t just change over a weekend or two.’

Okay, how about two months, Stan? Because that’s how long ago you wrote this on Liverpool:

‘Am I allowed to criticise Jurgen? Is anyone? Or is the cult of manager so strong at certain clubs that we all have to blindly wait for Liverpool to show the consistency under a highly-paid, long-contract manager?

‘Liverpool show little real confidence, tempo, pace or belief that Mourinho’s United did for example or Pep’s City. Both of those teams played with the kind of swagger you’d expect from title contenders, but Liverpool just passed the ball from side to side, back to front, without urgency or pace which was supposed to be the hallmark of the Gegenpressing manager.

‘“But most aren’t his team Stan, he’s not been there long etc etc”. Neither has Mourinho, Pep and certainly neither was Claudio Ranieri last season. Patience is fine and I’m an advocate of a proper well thought plan but in all honesty, Plan B. What is it?

‘When the tempo of the Premier League bites you, even two games in, and you can’t blitz teams like City away last season, what then? A big man to play off, like an Ibra? Oh that’s right, he’s just been sold to Palace leaving Liverpool with no physical presence up top at all.’

And what about this from September:

‘I can’t help but laugh that he has commanded more than £100m in transfer fees when he is one of the worst central defenders in Premier League history.’

That was on David Luiz.

Or this from April?

‘What Conte needs to do is bring in a trusted No.2, but, equally important, is to get three or four players in and out. I’d show Eden Hazard, Branislav Ivanovic, Diego Costa and maybe even Gary Cahill the door, although the latter could still be a squad player.’

There’s a difference between speaking your mind and talking absolute bunkum for effect.


If my Auntie had balls…
Mediawatch did enjoy this wonderful internal monologue from Collymore’s column:

‘The only reason Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t comfortably top is because they’ve drawn their last three Premier League home games and they could quite easily have turned those results into three wins.

‘Some of you will say, ‘But they didn’t, Stan’.’

Yeah, they might say that, Stan.


It’s goodnight from me…
On page four of The Sun, for this is a news story, there is a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo in his new glasses.

The answers we received to that question included Gok Wan, Sporty Gok Wan, Clarke Kent, Nicolas Winding Refn, Thomas Shelby from Peaky Blinders, Oscar Pistorius, Ricky from My So Called Life, Infinity War version of Harry Potter, that guy from Eastenders and ‘tech savant has convinced the world of his altruism. Secretly he is planning to take over the world. Only Tom Cruise can save us’. God bless your imaginations.

None of you idiots got the correct answer, at least according to The Sun:

‘It’s the third Ronnie. Footie ace Cristiano Ronaldo looks just like comedy heroes Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett in his glasses.’

It might be Mediawatch’s favourite ever lookalike.


Gone but not forgotten
In his first column for The Sun, ‘the voice of Sunsport’ Dave Kidd takes on Chelsea’s new formation.

‘IT’S long been a mantra of old-school English football types – and I’m not mentioning any Redknapps in particular here – that the game is ‘about players not systems’.

‘Except that when Chelsea were playing with a flat back four, they had their backsides whipped by Liverpool and Arsenal – but since Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3, they have won five straight league games, scoring 16 goals and conceding none.’

And what better ‘old-school English football type’ than your former Mirror colleague John Cross, Dave?


Football news story of the day
Wayne Bridge will be in this year’s series of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’.

And what is the obvious story as a follow-up to that, Mediawatch doesn’t hear you ask?

‘FRENCH FANCY Who is Vanessa Perroncel? What do we know about Wayne Bridge’s ex?’ – The Sun.

Of course. ‘Who is the ex-girlfriend of a now-married ex-footballer that is going on a reality TV show’ is exactly the right angle. Perroncel certainly wants this dragged up again.


Recommended reading of the day
Iain Macintosh on the start of his Football Manager 2017 journey. 

Miguel Delaney on “crisis” clubs near the top of the Premier League

David Squires on poppy season

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