Lost in France
Mediawatch was very happy to see Frank Lampard confirm in his press conference that he had not actually spoken to Roman Abramovich before his appointment as Chelsea manager. Mostly because we could confirm what we suspected but could not say on June 18: That this ‘exclusive’ from The Sun was pure bollocks and guesswork.
‘FRANK LAMPARD is set for talks with Roman Abramovich on his yacht this week over the vacant Chelsea manager’s job,’ wrote Andrew Dillon on the newspaper’s back page, which was dominated by a picture of said yacht.
‘Derby boss Lampard is in France on holiday and plans to meet the Blues’ billionaire owner on the £380million Eclipse anchored off glitzy St Tropez.’
Sometimes, 2+2 equals a right load of old shite.
Name your sauce
And Andrew Dillon was back at Frank Lampard’s press conference on Thursday, where the new Chelsea manager was pressed on the big issues of the day…
Frank Lampard to keep ketchup on the Chelsea menu https://t.co/E1GNVZf74c
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) July 5, 2019
“It’s not about ketchup. I’m not banning tomato ketchup. They go home and they can have a whole tub of it, I will never know that.
“But if I see it showing on the training pitch, I would be strong on that because it’s important.”
It’s at this point that Mediawatch needs a lie-down. As does the rest of a football media that gets an audience with the new Chelsea manager and asks such ludicrous questions, forcing him to talk about ketchup ‘showing on the training pitch’, and forcing us to think about Antonio Rudiger with a little sachet of sauce down his sock.
Description of the day
Frank Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea manager is slightly awkward as he has clearly not earned the job through his actual managerial achievements, because he has none. But the media really, really want him to succeed because he is English and he talks a lot. Which is how you arrive at this from Matt Barlow in the Daily Mail:
‘He is intelligent and articulate, an accomplished frontman and, with circumstances as they are, perfect for Chelsea.’
Is he Robbie Williams?
Say hello, wave goodbye
Obviously we cannot leave it there, because the lauding of Lampard comes hand in hand with the continued denigration of Maurizio Sarri, who only led Chelsea to third place in the Premier League while winning the Europa League. The chump.
Continues Matt Barlow:
‘He is an antidode to Maurizio Sarri, who was too busy chewing on his cigarette butt, too absorbed in his tactics, too concerned with superstition to wave to the travelling fans or throw them the words they longed to hear.’
Because the measure of any manager is how often they wave to fans. Quite why anybody still refers to trophies, league tables or win percentages when we can simply count all of the waves is a mystery.
And what kind of a weirdo gets ‘absorbed in his tactics’ when you can just be an ‘accomplished frontman’? Robbie Williams probably can’t even read music.
And as for the notion that chewing on a cigarette butt somehow prevents you from waving at people…
Yes, that’s Maurizio Sarri, in happier times/before Chelsea fans started routinely calling him a c***.
The Manchester Evening Propaganda
Mediawatch is sorry (not sorry) to return to the Manchester Evening News but their output this summer is utterly fascinating as they attempt to be positive in the face of the absolute shit-show of the last six years at United.
Mind you, Samuel Luckhurst does not even attempt to stem the miserablist pessimism as he writes after Manchester City’s signing of Rodri that ‘City midfield’s balance between youth and experience is so near-perfect it would be disingenuous to speak of a player transition it is so serene’.
Obviously this kind of realism absolutely will not do, so what is the headline on his really quite depressing piece in which he admits that ‘they are bound to still be lagging behind City’, whatever United do in the transfer market?
‘Manchester United have two blueprints for replacing players in the transfer window’
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a ‘leap’.
Elsewhere in the MEP…
‘Manchester United might have found a new way to save millions in the transfer market’
Now this sounds fascinating. And Mediawatch was fascinated until we realised that this ‘new way to save millions’ was basically ‘making the young players better’. It’s never been tried before but it might just bloody work.
And there’s more. There’s always more…
‘The transfer problem Manchester United will face this summer’
Anybody else starting to suspect that ‘Manchester United transfer’ might just be the key here and it matters not a jot which words appear in between?
So what is ‘the transfer problem Manchester United will face this summer’? Well it turns out that they will not be able to sign everybody they want! We are flabbergasted. Are you flabbergasted?
Tyrone Marshall (who is fast becoming a favourite) writes:
‘It might have taken a bit of wrangling, but so far Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United have got what they wanted in the transfer market during the summer window.
‘A £15million deal for Daniel James was wrapped up early in June, before a considerable amount of negotiation with Crystal Palace yielded a £45million move for Aaron Wan-Bissaka last week. So far, so good.’
Yes, they have successfully signed those two young players from smaller clubs in the face of literally no competition. Hurrah and huzzah.
‘But at some point United and Solskjaer are going to have to accept missing out on a top target. So far they’ve completed deals for the players the manager really wanted, but unfortunately it’s not always that easy.’
Really? But don’t you just rock up with slightly more money than a player is worth and give that money to the selling club?
‘Maguire and Fernandes might be much more complex transfer sagas. For starters United aren’t the only clubs interested in the Leicester City defender and the midfielder from Portugal, while the Foxes could yet prove tough negotiators over their 26-year-old central defender.’
Add into the mix that Manchester United are really quite shit – and have no Champions League football, which is oddly not mentioned in the piece – and it turns out that they cannot sign all of the players all of the time. When did the rules change to allow this kind of nonsense?
When gossip goes bad
From the BBC’s gossip page:
‘Bournemouth and Scotland winger Ryan Fraser, 25 is about to sign for Arsenal, after the 25-year-old was spotted in London. (Football.London)’
That will be Covent Garden, London. He was probably watching a drama student balance a bicycle on their nose.
Oh and can you be ‘spotted’ in your own Instagram post?
Bandwagon-jumping of the day
Everybody is talking about women’s football so here’s John Cross with an ‘exclusive’ on the back page of the Daily Mirror:
‘ARSENAL are paving the way for the Women’s Super League to be played in “double-headers” to build on the success of the World Cup.
‘Reigning Super League champions Arsenal are playing Bayern Munich in a friendly before the men’s team play Lyon in the Emirates Cup on Sunday, July 28.’
Did it take him six weeks to read this press release?
Old man shouting at clouds
Andy Dunn is ‘Britain’s best SportsWriter’; we know this because it says that at the top of his column in the Daily Mirror. Which is nice.
He has a hot take or two – that Rafa Benitez might be moving to China for the money and that Harry Maguire is not as good as Virgil van Dijk – but he saves his real ire for all the young people having fun and having the temerity to share that fun.
‘By now, you might have seen video snippets of Declan Rice’s holiday with Mason Mount on social media.
‘Or Aaron Wan-Bissaka mingling with Stormzy, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho in Ibiza.
‘All nice, harmless stuff.
‘But wasn’t there a time when what happened on tour stayed on tour?
‘Now, it seems compulsory to share it with millions of strangers.
What’s ‘bizarre’ is using the word ‘tour’ when what you mean is ‘holiday’.
But not half as ‘bizarre’ as belatedly noticing and then getting angry that young people like taking pictures and sharing them on social media.
Some Arsenal good news!
How do you sell a pretty dull story about Champions League qualification? By putting the names of the most popular clubs in the headline, of course. So we get this from the Daily Mirror website:
‘Champions League qualification change which could help Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool’
Is it that teams finishing in fifth and sixth can now qualify automatically for the Champions League? Well, kind of; let’s let the Daily Mirror explain:
UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin has revealed they are set to discuss “protecting” teams who go deep into the Champions League by handing them a guaranteed spot in the competition the following season.
‘It would mean clubs who reach the semi-finals would qualify regardless of where they finish in their domestic leagues.
‘But he also hinted the move could protect teams as far back as the quarter-finals as he name dropped Leicester City, who reached the quarter-finals the year after their Premier League triumph.’
All of this must come as a huge relief to Arsenal, who last reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010.