Mediawatch like to imagine that on the walls of the Daily Mirror website there is a rather large sign that reads ‘what do stupid people Google about football?’.
How else to explain the very top story on Friday morning being ‘How Arsenal and Chelsea Europa League semi-final wins affect England’s Champions League places next season’.
To save you the click, the answer is ‘it doesn’t’.
How soon is how?
Over at the Daily Express website, there is another one of those precious ‘how’ stories that is apparently the biggest thing in football in the week four Premier League clubs reached the European finals.
‘How Man Utd could line up with Daniel James next season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plots move.’
You will be astonished to learn that they will line up pretty much as they no now…except with Daniel James replacing Paul Pogba. Let’s hope Manchester United have more vision than James Benson of the Daily Express website.
The big reveal
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals when Man Utd will announce director of football appointment’ – Daily Star website.
When? When? When?
“When they feel they have found the right man.”
Right. Thanks. For f***’s sake.
And the fever…when I’m beside her…
It took five Daily Mail reporters (which might just be a record) to write in December of the inevitable coupling of Manchester United and Mauricio Pochettino:
‘Manchester United have named Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager to replace Jose Mourinho, but are already making plans to put Mauricio Pochettino in permanent charge next summer.
‘Old Trafford legend Solskjaer will be assisted by Sir Alex Ferguson’s former No 2 Mike Phelan for the rest of the season as United reach out to their glorious past.
‘But it’s understood that Tottenham boss Pochettino remains the club’s long-term target and United sources have been aware for some time of his desire to take the Old Trafford job.’
Now you would have thought that any one of those five writers might have consulted their Football Editor Ian Ladyman (or indeed that he might have had a word) because it turns out that he knew the truth all along.
‘Strikingly, one thing that did not worry the Spurs board was Manchester United’s interest in their manager following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho last December.
‘While Spurs fans and even some members of the dressing room began to ruminate on the prospect of life without Pochettino, Levy never did.
”We knew he wouldn’t go,’ said a well-placed Tottenham source. ‘It was not even a conversation we needed to have with him.”
So what happened to that long-held ‘desire to take the Old Trafford job’? All five of them must have been given a bum steer.
From despair to where
Neil Ashton, December 2016, The Sun: ‘THE danger is that English football is being left behind. Starved of success since Chelsea’s incredible win over Bayern Munich in 2012, the Champions League is beginning to feel out of reach.’
Neil Ashton, May 2019, The Sun: ‘LIVERPOOL and Tottenham are the Real deal…This summer Liverpool and Spurs will be caked in cash, with more than £100m each heading their way after these amazing European runs. They will use it wisely, investing in better players and stocking their squads with the world’s top talent. With that strategy, they are here to stay.’
Or, alternatively, it was never that bad. And it probably isn’t quite that good now.
It’s only three years since this from Ashton:
‘English football’s Champions League coefficient – guaranteeing four places – is safe for another season. But the days when teams from the Prem dominated the competition are over.
‘English teams have been left behind by the Euro powerhouses, with Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain operating at another level.
‘They have seduced some of the world’s most revered strikers with the promise of a chance to lift the Champions League.’
How quickly things change because this is Ashton in 2019:
‘Every top player wants in, to pull on those jerseys with the Premier League patches, and to work under two of the most progressive coaches in the sport.’
It was bollocks then and it is still bollocks now – just a different set of bollocks.
‘Every top player wants in’? Lionel Messi does not ‘want in’; Ronaldo does not ‘want in’; Antoine Griezmann does not ‘want in’. Kylian Mbappe does not ‘want in’. In fact, Tottenham would struggle to attract any one of the top 30 players in the world – as measured by Ballon d’Or votes – that do not already play for Tottenham.
In fact, a lot of their top players actually want out, with Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld likely to leave this summer regardless of whether they win the Champions League.
Newsflash: English football was not being left behind three years ago. And it will not dominate for the next three years after an influx of world-class footballers.
Here’s miserable Mark Irwin on Arsenal in The Sun:
‘LET the carnage begin. Arsenal are on their way to Azerbaijan and their long-suffering supporters are convinced their name is on the Europa League trophy.’
Are they the same ‘long-suffering supporters’ who have seen their side win three trophies in the last five seasons? The poor b***ards, however do they cope?
Trolling on the river
How progressive of The Sun to carry an interview with Alex Scott. How predictable of The Sun to start that article thus:
‘ALEX SCOTT came close to quitting her fledgling media career at Christmas after getting fed up with the constant trolling.
‘Abused on Twitter on a daily basis for her punditry on Sky…’
We’ll stop you there, fellas; she isn’t abused for her sodding punditry.
Mystery of the day
‘Pochettino wept when the final whistle blew in Amsterdam. Only he knows why’ – Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail.
We could have a damned good guess.
Recommended reading of the day
Tariq Panja on those UEFA plans
John Percy interviews Ashley Cole