Man United destroyed and brutalised after Champions League exit, and now City could be THROWN out!

Editor F365
Erik ten Hag and his Man Utd players
Erik ten Hag and his Man Utd players

Manchester United’s meek and mild departure from European football obviously creates a few headlines, some of which are insane, while Manchester City could be THROWN out of the competition as well, although the emphasis there should very much be on the word could rather than the word thrown.

 

My Girona
‘Man City could be THROWN out of Champions League if they fail to win title’ shouts The Sun, in a headline that surely needs either more or less ALL CAPS to work properly. If you’re going for the caps it has to be THROWN OUT, doesn’t it? Try saying it out loud with The Sun’s emphasis. Exactly, you sound like a crazy person.

Anyway, that’s not the real issue here. Why could City be THROWN out of the Champions League? It’s those pesky multi-club ownership rules. You remember them, because it came up a while ago with Ineos-owned Nice potentially scuppering Manchester United’s Champions League qualification back when the idea of ‘Manchester United’s Champions League qualification’ wasn’t a notion entirely hilarious in and of itself.

This time it’s City facing being THROWN out, because of La Liga surprise package Girona. They’re currently two points clear at the top after beating Barcelona and are part of the City Football Group.

What are the details here, then?

Manchester City could be thrown out of next season’s Champions League if they fail to win the Premier League.

The Treble winners could be denied entry if sister club Girona win LaLiga.

‘Could’ in the headline. And the intro. And the second para. Hmm. Mediawatch’s Spidey senses are tingling. It’s almost like could is the word that should be in caps here, if anything.

Both clubs are members of the City Football Group, who have complete ownership in City and are the largest single shareholders in Girona with a 47 per cent stake.

Uefa rules currently state that if clubs with the same owners qualify for the same competition, only the side with the highest league position will be allowed to enter.

The lower ranked side would instead be moved down to the next competition, which in this case would be the Europa League.

That all sounds very clear. No need for all those coulds! City would be screwed! They’ll have to go in the Europa! Mortifying! Oh wait, there’s more. After nine paragraphs explaining how City would be buggered comes this quite important clarification.

Fortunately for City and Girona, though, CFG’s stake in Girona is below majority ownership and therefore avoids breaching Uefa’s multi-club ownership rules.

Oh. Right.

However, John MacBeath is a director at both clubs according to their official websites and would have to step down from one of those rules if they both qualify for Europe.

Oh. He’ll probably do that, then.

 

Sing when you’re winning
‘Bayern Munich chants show how far Manchester United have fallen after Champions League exit’ reckons the Manchester Evening News.

We might be wrong, but we think Manchester United finishing bottom of their group, losing four games and conceding a record 15 goals showed how far they’d fallen, even if hearing a German accented ‘You’re sh*t and you know you are’ echoing round Old Trafford was quite striking.

 

Rice and easy
We kind of knew we’d have to repeat ourselves this morning about Manchester United’s ‘failure’ to sign Harry Kane in the summer, but we didn’t think Paul Scholes would be quite so brazenly and defiantly wrong about it.

Kane turning up with his Champions League group-winning Bayern chums to inflict more misery and confirm United’s exit from the competition was always going to re-energise the mindless ‘Why didn’t United just sign him!?’ chat, and once Scholes started talking on TNT about United’s two transfer mistakes in the summer we knew at least 50% of where we were heading.

“Harry Kane, £100million and he’s yours.”

If you’re Bayern Munich, yes. But not if you’re Manchester United. We’ve been over this, Scholesy. Spurs were not going to sell to Manchester United or any other Premier League rival as cheerfully or as cheaply (relatively speaking) as they did to Bayern. You know Daniel Levy. He’s different.

But Scholes wasn’t done there.

“The other one is Declan Rice, another £100million.”

Even if we accept the valuations, it’s a very glib way of describing a £200million outlay on two undoubtedly excellent footballers but footballers who have between them thus far won two-fifths of f*** all.

“Then you’re buying properly known quality, the right characters, they know the country, the club, and I thought it was so easy.”

There you go. It was easy. Signing Harry Kane from Tottenham – easy. Convincing Declan Rice to choose Manchester United over an Arsenal side that spent 95% of last season top of the league – easy.

Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, nodded along and agreed with every word. The narrative is not going to change from these guys now. Really, we should probably stop trying to correct them and just sit back and enjoy all these furious and confused ex-Fergie players floundering in their unwillingness or inability to comprehend how the world has changed since those days.

 

Destroy and exit
Erik Ten Hag’s claim that ‘the performance was very good again and we didn’t deserve to lose’ as Manchester United went out of Europe with a whimper attracts inevitable laughs this morning, but the Mirror may have just got slightly overexcited with this headline.

Jamie Carragher destroys Erik ten Hag’s response to Champions League exit with brutal reply

Destroys. Brutal. This is going to be absolutely savage. We’re going to give you the whole Carragher quote here, just so you can experience the destructive brutality of it in full.

“I think what happens is because it’s been so poor for Manchester United this season, you’re playing one of the top teams in Europe, you are missing injured players.

“I think it’s almost a case of because you haven’t been beaten 3-0 or 4-0, 1-0 actually feels okay. You’re in the game for an hour. He’s probably watching the game thinking “we’re still in this” and it’s almost like a slight feel-good factor.

“Because you lose 3-0 to Bournemouth, you’re now playing one of the giants of European football and you only lose 1-0, he’s trying to take something from it to then get to Sunday.

“That will be the message to the players: “You were playing one of the top teams in Europe anything could’ve happened, we’ve got to go to Anfield now and try to produce some sort of performance.”

“A result looks really tough on paper but I think that’s just a manager trying to clutch at straws.”

Hmm. we guess one man’s destructive brutality is another man’s considered and thoughtful explanation. Mainly, though, Mediawatch finds itself wondering how the Mirror managed to pass up the opportunity to sneak Liverpool into that headline. Rookie error.

 

Whistlestop
It’s a very serious tweet about a very serious issue but we’ve honestly been laughing about it for almost an entire day now.

Mediawatch is very sorry, but we simply cannot stop giggling at the phrase ‘downing whistles’. Journalese really is an entirely different language. Again, imagine saying that out loud in front of actual people.

 

Unrecognisable
Regular readers will know Mediawatch is always partial to the ‘Unrecognisable’ genre of story and the tabloids’ pretend bafflement at the concept of ageing. They will never stop being apparently astonished that people you may have last seen 20 years ago now appear 20 years older than they did then, and we will never stop being astonished at this confected astonishment.

It’s a device the sports pages have borrowed from the celeb pages and, in slight defence of our corner of the increasingly grim journalism industry, the sport versions do at least generally avoid using it as a thinly veiled way of having a go at someone for their embarrassing failure to discover the fountain of eternal youth. That’s also largely, we suspect, because the examples in sport are more likely to be men and in the celeb versions far more likely to be women.

Enough sociology, though. Which ‘Former Manchester United Champions League winner’ is now ‘unrecognisable’ and managing his local team? Why it’s none other than Jonathan Greening, looking precisely like Jonathan Greening from 20 years ago but with shorter hair, a grey beard and a Scarborough Athletic beanie.