Mediawatch: Prepare for the ‘awesome force’

Date published: Tuesday 20th October 2015 12:12

Has Ian Wright got the wrong club, or has he just not bothered checking? Who knows…


Don’t count your chickens in Kiev
Writes Ian Wright in The Sun on Dynamo Kiev: ‘Kiev have shown time and again in Europe that they are a pretty awesome force in the group stages – and this season has been no different so far.’

Mediawatch presents to you Dynamo Kiev’s recent Champions League group stage record:

2000/01 – Four points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2001/02 – Four points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2002/03 – Seven points from six matches. Finished third in group. Eliminated.
2003/04 – Seven points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2004/05 – Ten points from six matches. Finished third in group. Eliminated.
2005/06 – Lost to FC Thun in qualifying round. Eliminated.
2006/07 – Two points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2007/08 – No points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2008/09 – Eight points from six matches. Finished third in group. Eliminated.
2009/10 – Five points from six matches. Finished bottom of group. Eliminated.
2010/11 – Lost to Ajax in qualifying round. Eliminated.
2011/12 – Lost to Rubin Kazan in qualifying round. Eliminated.
2012/13 – Five points from six matches. Finished third in group. Eliminated.
2013/14 – Did not qualify.
2014/15 – Did not qualify.

In the last six-and-a-half years, the only teams Dynamo Kiev have beaten in the Champions League are Maccabi Tel Aviv, Dinamo Zagreb and Rubin Kazan.

Still, Chelsea beware. You are about to face the group stage’s ‘awesome force’.

Update: They drew 0-0.


What a difference a Jose makes

“I’m not being offensive but I have to say it for my players and Chelsea supporters. Referees are afraid to give us decisions. It is not a small incident or a small penalty. Last season we had the same at Southampton – a penalty on [Cesc] Fabregas that ended up with a yellow card” – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, October 2015.

“It’s incredible that it always hits Chelsea…we’ve had two situations in 12 months – at QPR last season and against United on Sunday – when we were not treated fairly. Torres should never have been sent off on Sunday and last year at QPR Jose Bosingwa’s ­sending off was harsh” – Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo, November 2012.

Two comments by two different Chelsea managers, remarkably similar in that they suggest that (but stop short of accusations) referees favour against Chelsea.

Here are the two reactions of the Daily Mirror’s Dave Kidd to those quotes:

‘Why the FA should pipe down and let Jose Mourinho speak his mind: So surely it would be better to simply scrap – or significantly relax – restrictions on free speech in football. To recognise that rows and criticisms add to the whole glorious bunfight.’

‘Oops, they did it again! Just when you thought it was safe to like Chelsea: Di Matteo – who has done so much right – let himself down with a paranoid insinuation. Chelsea are far from the only ­offenders but for any club to espouse the theory that referees show genuine bias against them is puerile at best, sinister at worst. Respect for match officials is at a low ebb – and nowhere more so than at Stamford Bridge.’

Message to Di Matteo: Be more quotable.


Christ alive
In 2009 (and both before and after), Newcastle United supporters used a variation of “stand up if you love the Toon” which went “shoes off if you love the Toon”. It was, to be blunt, a load of fans being very silly and having a bloody good time in dire circumstances.

That’s unless you’re Matthew Syed in The Times, of course, who six years later has found the true meaning in that little chant.

‘The cycle of divinification, hope, sacrifice and renewal has a different tempo at different clubs, as among ancient tribes. At Newcastle United, it is probably fair to say, it all happens rather fast,’ Syed writes with typical understatement.

‘When Alan Shearer was appointed to “save” Newcastle from relegation in 2009 (I was dispatched to cover his first press conference), the fans didn’t just chant his name, but took off their shoes and waved them in the air. I can’t be sure, but I had the feeling that this curious symbolism was about fans wanting to be barefooted, like the early Christian disciples. Newcastle, incidentally, were relegated a few weeks later.’

Mediawatch ‘can’t be sure’ either, but thinks you’re reading a lot into a bout of silly-arsing around, Matthew.


Do as I say, not as you did

“Croatian football always produces top level technical quality, that is their strength. We have to focus on our own performance and to beat them have to play at our best and without speculating on any weak link in a team that has not lost a game for 11 months” – Arsene Wenger, September 16.

“You have to win your home games if you want to qualify from the group stage. It’s as simple as that. We cannot afford to drop points now against anyone at home” – Arsene Wenger, September 28.

“Our focus has been much stronger in the Premier League than it has been in Europe. We maybe could be a little suspected of not taking the opponent seriously enough in the first two games so this time this is not the threat” – Arsene Wenger, October 20.

Why is it not a threat? Because you really mean it this time?


Howard’s way
Mediawatch wondered who would be the first person to use the tragic death of Howard Kendall to make a mournful point about the modern game. Step forward Dave Kidd in the Daily Mirror.

‘Howard Kendall was just 35 when appointed Everton manager in 1981, but he built a wonderful team which won two league titles, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup,’ Kidd writes. He didn’t just leave it there.

‘As we reflect on the life of a great footballing man, we ought to reflect on the dwindling chances of a 35-year-old Englishman being handed such an opportunity again.’

Two things:

1) Why ‘ought’ such a tragic passing make us think about anything other than ‘Oh bloody hell, how horrible. His poor family’?

2) Kendall was appointed Everton manager when they were 15th in the league. That’s the same position Newcastle were when they appointed Englishman Steve McClaren, below where Newcastle were when they appointed Englishman John Carver, below where Swansea were when they appointed Garry Monk (34) and below where Spurs were when they appointed Tim Sherwood. That’s all in the last two years.


Done deal
Say Portuguese newspapers A Bola and O Jogo:

‘According to the English radio Sportsweek FM, FC Porto has renewed interest in Erik Lamela…’

We’ll stop you there folks. Sportsweek FM doesn’t exist.


The greatest question ever asked?
‘Will Steve Evans be a success at Leeds? Send us your thoughts on why he will, or why he won’t, using #SSNHQ’ – @SkySportsNewsHQ.

Put on your tin hat, Mr Weirdly Sat At Your Desk Live On TV Sky Sports Social Media Guy.


Hyperbole of the day
‘One by one some of the greatest players in the history of the game will step off Bayern Munich’s branded Champions League bus. The names of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, Douglas Costa…’ – Neil Ashton, Daily Mail.

Steady on.


Sensitive headline of the day
‘Yaya’s a bit gaga’ – The Sun.

That’s definitely the appropriate take on a player who admitted to mental problems after the death of his brother last year.


Headline of the day
‘Guarded of Eden’ – The Sun.


Recommended reading of the day
Swiss Ramble
on Manchester City. Warning: Everything by the Swiss Ramble will probably appear here.

Paolo Bandini on Napoli.

Don Hutchison on Howard Kendall.


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter David Jackson. Send ‘Mediawatch’ entries to

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