Mediawatch: Manchester United to ‘copy’ Liverpool? Hardly…

Date published: Thursday 23rd May 2019 12:15

Sarri to bother you
The Sun do not like Maurizio Sarri. They think he is ‘floundering’. They consider him a ‘wild and illogical’ carbon copy of Luiz Felipe Scolari. They love to refer to him as ‘a former banker’ and are reluctant to offer much, if any, credit for combining a third-place finish with two major cup finals in his first season managing in a new country with one permanent outfield signing. He’s rubbish.

The Sun do like misappropriating things that Maurizio Sarri says. So when he offers a quite level-headed response to a quite ridiculous question about those quite ridiculous rumours suggesting his future hinges solely on the outcome of the Europa League final – and that Chelsea might even sack him regardless of the result – he obviously ‘snaps’ in a ‘shock ultimatum’.

The Italian’s thoughts on why “it would have been better” for the Europa League final to have been played “in another location” were clearly too sensible, too boring and nowhere near ultimatumy enough to make the back page. So by the time it reaches their website, those first quotes are from an ‘under-fire’ manager who has ‘sensationally threatened’ to quit.

For clarity, here are the quotes in question:

“If that’s the situation I want to go immediately. Ten months of work and then I have to play everything in 90 minutes? It’s not right. It’s not the right way.”

That seems fair. But perhaps he did actually raise his voice, or maybe slam his fist on the desk. After all, we were told that he had ‘snapped’.

Rather helpfully, The Sun later released footage of the unsavoury incident.

Our only hope is that those present recover from this traumatic situation.


Trophy strife
Good to see The Sun‘s resident West Ham fan Andrew Dillon could not resist a dig, mind.

‘If Sarri does win a cup after 20 years in management do not expect much of a party.’

Certainly not a media-led one.


Judge moody
But that is nothing compared to the Daily Mirror‘s offering. It’s time to discover why getting an Arsenal fan to cover the press conference of their opponents a week before a major European final is a bad idea.

That’s just not what he said, is it?

John Cross witnessed an ‘ultimatum’ that was simultaneously ‘furious’ and ‘stunning’, in which Sarri ‘angrily told the club’s hierarchy that if they are judging him purely on the outcome of next week’s Europa League final against Arsenal, then they should sack him immediately’.

Again, watch the footage above and decide for yourselves just how ‘angrily’ Sarri responded.

In a further piece, Cross even says Sarri’s words ‘rang hollow’ in ‘the long goodbye for yet another Chelsea manager’. Can a ‘stunning ultimatum’ really ‘ring hollow’? And can a national media successfully hound a manager out of a job he has fared pretty well in thus far? Tune in this summer to find out.


Committee to memory
Forgive Mediawatch, for it is about to do something completely unprecedented and unforgivable. But it might be time to defend Neil Custis.

You see, he has written an exclusive for The Sun on how Manchester United ‘are assembling a committee of three ex-players to help identify transfer targets’. It’s a fine story, including information on how Darren Fletcher ‘is expected to head up a team charged with finding players to fit the United DNA’. Rio Ferdinand is one of those who might work alongside him.

But nowhere does Custis mention Liverpool in the newspaper article, namely because they are completely and utterly irrelevant to the story. Yet one change to The Sun‘s website version has given it a new lease of life.

The following paragraph has been randomly inserted online, with Liverpool crowbarred into both the headline and URL:

‘Liverpool have already successfully gone down this route with boss Jurgen Klopp working in tandem with sporting director Michael Edwards, head of scouting and recruitment Dave Fallows and goalkeeping coach John Achteberg [sic].’

As a result, we get the following:

‘Manchester United ‘to create transfer committee of three ex-players to make sure they avoid signing flops’ as club look to copy Liverpool-style model’ – MailOnline.

‘Man Utd transfer news: Red Devils ‘to copy Liverpool’ with new approach’ – Daily Mirror.

‘Man Utd decide to copy Liverpool in transfer approach: Major plan put in place’ – Daily Express website.

It clearly wasn’t sexy enough before. But saying ‘Liverpool have already successfully gone down this route’ is a load of balls. They’ve hardly put Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan and Vladimir Smicer in charge of transfers, have they?

Indeed, Michael Edwards, Dave Fallows and John Achterberg never played a single game for Liverpool during their respective playing careers. It’s almost as if that has no bearing on their ability to identify potential targets.

And Liverpool’s transfer committee is not in any way limited to three people ‘working in tandem’ with the manager. Their team contains particle physicists, astrophysicists, mathematicians and data analysts, not Rio Ferdinand just constantly shouting ‘MATTHIJS DE LIGT’ in Ed Woodward’s face. Take a look.

Hell, The Sun’s website has even completely misunderstood their own newspaper exclusive, claiming that Nicky Butt will be the third man in this transfer committee. He’s probably a bit busy as head of their academy. And Custis only says he ‘was also involved in the meeting at Carrington and ‘will also get a much bigger budget to start scouting the best young stars around the globe’. There is no mention of him becoming part of this three-man team whatsoever.

All in all, it’s pretty embarrassing for everyone involved that Custis emerges as the innocent party. That he made no mention whatsoever of Liverpool in his newspaper story suggests someone took it upon themselves to casually insert a paragraph comparing two completely different things, then made that the main crux of the headline and watched as the vultures promptly swooped.

Just think how much time and effort could have been spared if someone just asked chief football writer Neil Ashton for his thoughts. He would have told them just how worthwhile Liverpool’s transfer committee is.


Just terrible
‘DANIEL JAMES’ £20m move to Manchester United has been hit by a family tragedy’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.

‘Daniel James’ £15million Manchester United move has been hit by a family tragedy’ – James Dutton, Daily Mail.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Manchester United’s move at this difficult time.

Seriously though, f*** off. Daniel James is a man who has lost his father, not a transfer target or commodity whose hopes of moving clubs has suffered a blow of any sort. Some things transcend football, and the last thing on his mind right now will be where he is playing football next season. Show some respect.


Dirty little secret
‘Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may have secret weapon up sleeve for Champions League final’ – Daily Express website.

Just who is this ‘Roberto Firmino’ fella?


Hate male


Recommended reading of the day
Chris Wheeler talks to Teddy Sheringham.

Will Unwin chats with Victor Moses.

Mark Ogden interviews Tim Howard.


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