Mediawatch: Is this what cost England?

Date published: Wednesday 29th June 2016 12:18

We all needed a bit of light relief
‘Summing up the national shame, the team’s toy lion was found dumped, unloved, in the back of a lorry’ – Daily Mail. 

Remind yourself (quickly, before the next section) that this is not intentional parody.


I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me?
The next time you hear a Daily Mail journalist moaning about the lack of access to England players, show them a copy of their paper’s hatchet job on England players in Wednesday’s edition of the paper. It is a hateful, spiteful attack. Nothing more, nothing less. It also appears in the news section of the paper.

Sometimes Mediawatch is presented with something so laughable that it’s impossible to swallow whole. With that in mind, Mediawatch presents the following lines from the piece. When reading each one, remember that the headline is ‘No wonder they’re losers’; these are presented as reasons for England’s failure.

On Wayne Rooney:
– ‘On Monday, he seemed preoccupied with his thinning hair (having spent £30,000 on a transplant). Said to have used a specialist spray to make his thatch look thicker during the match – because yesterday morning it looked very thin.’

– ‘While dating then girlfriend Coleen, he slept with a middle-aged prostitute in a backstreet brothel.’

– ‘Coleen was embroiled in a row over taking their eldest son out of school during term-time to watch the Euro 2016 matches.’

On Joe Hart:
– ‘Major blunders to let in goals against Wales and Iceland have led fans to wonder if he is mentally focused – not just worrying about keeping his hair tidy on the pitch.’

– ‘Wife Kimberly Crew, 34, a beautician whose eponymous range of products has been featured on shopping channel QVC.’

On Chris Smalling:
– ‘Glamour model Sam Cooke, 31, once took part in a competition to find the ‘best b**** in Britain’. Sam regularly posts scantily clad images of herself online.’

On Raheem Sterling:
– ‘Became a father at the age of 17 after a brief relationship. Accused of pushing a girlfriend out of a car in a row over a text message but he was cleared in court.’

On Dele Alli:
– ‘His girlfriend, Ruby Mae, seemed to spend much of Monday night’s defeat preening herself in the stands – showing off her low-cut, shorts-style playsuit.’

On Adam Lallana:
– ‘Has been posting pictures online of products such as the cosmetic brand Nivea – for which he is the ‘public’ face – and appearing in endless TV adverts for sports brand Puma.’

On Kyle Walker:
– ‘Has endorsed the violent computer game Call Of Duty.’

On Jamie Vardy:
– ‘Rebekah has two children from a previous relationship. Vardy met her in a nightclub when she was working as a party planner. Rebekah’s Euro 2016 diary appeared in The Sun newspaper and she has her own agent.’

On Jack Wilshere:
– ‘Fans said he was drunk during an Arsenal victory parade last year.’

– ‘Dumped the mother of his two young children. Joined in France by selfie-obsessed fiancee Andriani Michael, 25.’

Mediawatch agrees that it was probably Ruby Mae’s playsuit, Call of Duty and Liverpool’s Nivea adverts that cost England. It’s all about marginal gains.


Give me a reason
‘From picking half-fit players to ridiculous pampering at the team hotel, even giving their silly lion mascot its own accreditation, it shows Hodgson lost sight of what got them there in the first place’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.

Mediawatch guesses that even if Roy Hodgson did sort out the accreditation for the toy lion – which we highly doubt – it really didn’t make that much difference to England’s exit. Cross has tried shooting fish in a barrel and somehow hit a passing toy lion instead.


‘Cause I gotta have faith
This is the time of reaction, when football’s greatest minds pick their choice for the man to lead England forward. Michael Owen also has some thoughts.

‘Attention quickly turns to who’s next for the England hot seat. No question in my mind: Glenn Hoddle.’

Given that Hoddle last managed (badly) in 2006 at Wolves, Owen’s opinion was understandably met with some light criticism. One of those replies concerned Hoddle’s dalliances with controversy, not least the use of faith healer Eileen Drewery.

Don’t worry though, for Owen has the answer:

‘Everybody laughed 20 years ago. Now the majority of clubs use these type of people. Further proof.’

Yes, Owen has confused ‘psychics’ and ‘psychologists’. It’s further proof of something.


Brucey bonus
The Daily Mail’s chief sports writer Martin Samuel has also had his say on England’s next manager. He’s plumped for Steve Bruce.

‘He’s done a good job at every club he’s been to, but he’s English so he doesn’t get to mix with the elite,’ Samuel writes.

That’s right, elite clubs are so desperate to avoid appointing English managers because of their nationality that they deliberately ignore the best candidate. It couldn’t be that the ‘elite’ just don’t think he’s a good enough manager.

As for the ‘good job at every club he’s been to’, Sunderland fans (the biggest club Bruce has managed) might disagree. And so might fans of Huddersfield and some fans of Birmingham and Hull City.

‘Now this may be an unfashionable view, but I think the captain of Manchester United knows who can play and who can’t. I think he knows how to play, too. And I think Bruce, old school though he may be, has the gravitas to stand in a dressing room of England internationals, and make them listen.’

Would Bruce really command respect in England’s dressing room? Given that Bruce last played for Manchester United when Dele Alli was three weeks old, is that likely to count for anything at all? It might shock Samuel, but to many current England players, Bruce is known as a middling football manager, not former player.

If the ‘captain of Manchester United knows who can play and who can’t’, why not give the gig to Wayne Rooney? He really, really knows the current squad.


Confusion raining down from up high
Elsewhere in the Daily Mail, Sami Mokbel sticks the knife in on Hodgson. It’s his formation that gets the most stick.

‘There was confusion among players as to why Hodgson didn’t stick to the same successful formula that produced their 100 per cent qualification record. The diamond system that served them so well in the build-up to France, discarded and replaced with a new and untested 4-1-2-3 formation for the tournament.’

Erm… Hodgson did stick to ‘that same successful formula’. He played 4-3-3 in each of England’s last six qualifiers, and then stuck with that formation during the tournament. Mokbel isn’t tricking us with talk of a complicated-sounding ‘4-1-2-3’; that’s a 4-3-3 by any other name.

As for the ‘diamond system that served them so well in the build-up to France’, England used it once against ten-man Portugal. It wasn’t that inspiring.

As John Cross writes in the Daily Mirror, Hodgson ‘never really found the right balance or a replacement [for Danny Welbeck] to make his favoured 4-3-3 system work’.


Weirdest shout on the new England manager
‘You didn’t need to be a pundit – or even a fan – to understand the root cause of this national humiliation. Even my eight-year-old daughter, watching her first football match, had diagnosed the problem by half-time: “England are rubbish. They just aren’t trying”’ – Robert Hardman, Daily Mail.

But would she drop Wayne Rooney?


Well, you did ask
‘How can Claude Puel be a better bet for Southampton than Michael O’Neill after failing to win Ligue 1 with Lyon?’ asks Martin Samuel in his Daily Mail column.

Before going any further, Mediawatch would point out two things. Firstly, Southampton have probably earned the right to a little bit of patience on this issue. Secondly, Michael O’Neill’s only club jobs were at Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers. Sorry Martin, do carry on.

‘Puel has done well on the south coast – Nice finished fourth this season – but the fact remains his last trophy was 16 years ago and, despite a good Champions League run in 2009-10, he is regarded as having spurned the greatest opportunity handed to him.’

That ‘good Champions League run’ was taking Lyon to the first Champions League semi-final in their history, but Samuel’s argument is that Puel’s lack of title at Lyon should rule him out of this job. Because there certainly isn’t a recent example CLAUDIO of a foreign manager with failure on his CV coming into the Premier League and RANIERI doing quite well.

‘There is no reason, however, to think he will be any better than a British manager, but Southampton appointed their last one close to six years ago.’

Indeed, Martin. And what a piping hot mess they have made. Definitely not still bitter about those damages


First. Fast. What he said.


Moving on
‘After England were dumped out of the last 16 by Euro 2016 minnows Iceland on Monday, which team should you support now?’ asks the question on Sky Sports’ website. ‘Erm… nobody’ is the obvious answer.

Still, Mediawatch did enjoy questions such as ‘Cheese baguette or pizza before the game?’, ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ and ‘EU membership: Remain or leave’. We can see the algorithm in this one, guys.


Daily Mail headline of the day/week/month/f**king forever
‘Game Over: When ROBERT HARDMAN learnt it was ‘too draining’ for England’s spoilt footballers to visit the Somme he knew they’d shame us again’ – Daily Mail. Course.


Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Wayne Rooney

Sid Lowe on Spain 

Steven Gerrard on England 

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