Mediawatch: Does this deserve an award?

Date published: Friday 29th January 2016 1:00

Tweet, tweet fantasy, baby…
There is not enough room on the internet for the length of Mediawatch required to truly do justice to the collective football journalism Twitter meltdown on Thursday night.

It was prompted by two things – Louis van Gaal’s public condemnation of the “awful and horrible” treatment he receives at the hands of some journalists, and Sports Journalists Association awards nominations that never acknowledge tabloid reporters quite as much as their broadsheet cousins.

Three things you need to know:

* The Sun‘s Neil Custis (yes, ‘fat man’) wrote on Tuesday that Louis van Gaal had tried to quit the Manchester United job; Van Gaal said on Thursday: “I have not mentioned that, ever.”

* The Sun’s Neil Custis was not nominated for an SJA award.

* The Sun’s Neil Custis did not enter himself for an SJA award.

Now simply enjoy…

Yes, that is BBC Sports Editor Dan Roan, whose crime was to ask Van Gaal about those ‘quit’ reports and then tweet the Dutchman’s response. The traitorous b**tard.

Then Custis moved on to the SJA…

That is one of 16 tweets Custis directed at the SJA, who had ‘liked’ a tweet making reference to Custis being ‘fat man’. Custis – you may remember – appeared on various TV channels making the same joke about “taking it (LVG’s comment) on the chins”. This was after initially laughing and saying “thank you” when Van Gaal used those infamous words. Now it’s ‘abuse’. And really very hurtful when seemingly condoned (by a ‘like’) by the organisation he labels #snobs for ignoring the tabloids.

Neil Moxley is the Chief Sports Writer of the Sunday People. And this is possibly our favourite Twitter exchange of 2016 so far:

Yes, that is Moxley claiming that standing up is much, much harder than sitting down. Presumably because he was sitting down when he wrote this – in which he argued that Jamie Vardy could be the next £300,000-a-week footballer in the Premier League.

And Moxley was not alone in his abuse of the SJA…

So you can judge a man by the company he keeps.

We will leave the last word to The Guardian/Observer’s Ewan Murray. And what a last word:

As Murray’s Twitter bio says: ‘Constantly being reminded that Twitter IS VERY SERIOUS.’ And really very bloody funny when they turn on each other.


Odd one out
The back-page headlines of the tabloids on Friday morning:

The Daily Mirror: ‘I WON’T QUIT’
The Daily Star: ‘I WILL NEVER QUIT’
The Daily Mail: ‘I’LL NEVER QUIT’
The Daily Express: ‘I WILL NEVER WALK AWAY’

Remind us again which newspaper and journalist had reported on Tuesday that Louis van Gaal had tried to quit his Manchester United job; Custis should get a special SJA innovation award for steadfastly ignoring the story.


Direct line insurance
The Guardian
– unlike The Sun – did not sidestep those Van Gaal quotes about the “awful and horrible” speculation about his job despite Jamie Jackson writing on Tuesday that ‘Louis van Gaal offered to resign as the Manchester United manager on Saturday following the dismal home defeat by Southampton but Ed Woodward’.

But Paul Wilson – sent to Carrington in Jackson’s stead – did write: ‘Over the resignation issue the Manchester United manager claimed he was being questioned about his future in a disrespectful way and complained his treatment of the media has been “awful and horrible” but perhaps significantly, he did not offer a direct answer.’

Well, except for when he was asked whether he had tried to quit and he said: “I have not mentioned that, ever.”

Does that incredibly cryptic answer mean that Jackson’s story is still technically right?


Thank you Mr Predecent
Neil Custis also gets support from Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail, who writes: ‘Calling Sun journalist Neil Custis ‘fat man’ after the draw with Newcastle earlier this month got some cheap laughs, but the 64-year-old Dutchman also lost a lot of goodwill with that unnecessary comment. It was not becoming of a Manchester United manager.’

Hmmm. If you think that no other United manager would abuse journalists, then youse are all f***ing idiots.


Kidd gloves
What to make of the Daily Mirror’s Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd’s piece about Manuel Pellegrini – headlined GRIN & BEAR IT – in which he suggests that the Chilean will be the ‘Prem’s most wanted man’ next summer after winning two or three trophies this season? He moots moves to Chelsea and even Manchester United.

Kidd describes Pellegrini thus: ‘A manager who handles multi-millionaire players and billionaire owners with the same air of stone-faced serenity. A manager who champions attacking football and was pursued by Roman Abramovich in 2013 before he moved to Manchester City and Jose Mourinho eventually returned to Chelsea.’

And yet Mediawatch cannot help but remember this from March 2014: ‘We’ve heard the question all season long from the red half of Manchester: Why did United appoint David Moyes when Jose Mourinho was available? Pretty soon, the Blue Moonies at the Etihad will be asking: Why Manuel Pellegrini when City could have had the Special One?

‘City have the best squad in England by a country mile. Yet Chelsea have the best manager. Where Pellegrini makes obvious mistakes, Mourinho plucks masterstroke decisions from the clear blue heavens.

‘Any team, even one as flamboyant and richly-assembled as City’s, is only as strong as its weakest link. And from Barcelona to Wigan, they all recognise that City’s is Martin Demichelis. The Argentine’s blunders look to have cost the Mancunian Blues two trophies already and if Pellegrini continues to select him, he will scupper their title bid too.’

You may remember that City won the title two months later. It seems the ‘ultimate modern blue-chip coach’ was not a complete chump after all.


No sympathy from old men
Rowley Birkin QC
Jeff Powell is back on MailOnline talking about managers and their ‘egg-shell egos’ and how ‘in the roundabout business of Premier League management nothing succeeds like failure’.

‘Andre Villas Boas is living proof of that,’ writes Powell. ‘Having picked up a £12million pay-off for nine abject months at Chelsea and £2.8m for flopping at Spurs, he is still earning an enriching living somewhere in Russia.’

Those ‘nine abject months’ at Chelsea ended with the Blues three points adrift of fourth – which sounds bloody brilliant now – while ‘flopping’ at Spurs involved a new club record points haul of 72 points. And ‘somewhere in Russia’, Villas-Boas has won the league title with Zenit St Petersburg and just finished top of their Champions League group with 15 points. The bloody chancer.

The most Jeff Powell sentence ever…
…that does not contain the words ‘Bobby’ and ‘Moore’: ‘Jurgen Klopp amuses us with his dervish perambulation.’

Truly bizarre intro of the day
‘DERBY captain Stephen Warnock wants to make Manchester United pay for his wasted years as a scapegoat in the so-called ‘Bomb Squad” – Mike Walters, the Daily Mirror.

Nope. We have no idea what links Warnock’s spell at Aston Villa with Manchester United either. But my God they are going to pay.


Expert of the day
Ray Wilkins on Sky Sports News HQ on potential Sunderland signing Wahbi Khazri: . “For £9m, if it’s successful, then it’ll be a good buy.”


Recommended reading of the day
Sam Tighe on predictable tactical failings

Lee Roden on the Spanish press and Gary Neville.

Tim Vickery on Alexandre Pato.

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