The three/five/16 things/points/conclusions format clearly has its place in football media. Lower attention spans mean that presenting content in bite-size, structured format is the only way to keep the majority engaged.
But the creep of this content from matches to cover meaningless events really does make Mediawatch weep. The Daily Mirror have a fine example on Wednesday:
‘New Manchester United star man in town: 5 things we spotted as Sanchez returns to London.’
Can you really spot things about a player preparing to climb onto a mode of transport? (Yes, apparently).
It’s all valueless drivel, of course, but there are some truly excellent lines.
– We are told that ‘there is a new star man in town’, with ‘Sanchez and Sanchez alone mobbed by fans’. The second section headline: ‘But this one [Paul Pogba] can still draw crowds.’ So Sanchez wasn’t the only one, then.
– ‘He [Shaw] has a point to prove if – and it’s a huge if – he can get on the pitch at Wembley on Wednesday, otherwise it seems this season we (sic) definitely be his last at Old Trafford.’
Shaw has started five of Manchester United’s last six games. Perhaps you hadn’t noticed.
– An entire section is dedicated to Ashley Young wearing football socks.
What’s the point?
If you think Mediawatch is being a little harsh ihere, here is one of those five ‘spotted’ things, presented in full:
‘It was only the other week that Mourinho was pictured heading to his Lowry Hotel room with a PS4 tucked neatly under his arm.
‘On Tuesday however the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss was carrying something far more practical – a whole bag full of shoes.
‘Now we have no idea why the Portuguese would need more than the pair he is wearing for a quick trip to London.
‘OK, maybe a smart pair and a comfortable pair, but anymore than that is a bit excessive, no? Well the Manchester United boss certainly doesn’t think so.’
See the title of the above section.
Storm in a teacup
On Tuesday, Neymar gave his thoughts on the exit of Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain, who is his friend.
“I am sad because he is a good friend, a quality player who was used very little.
“Here, he could have been used a lot more, I am sure of it. But I am not the owner of the team, nor the owner of PSG. For me, he should never be leaving Paris.”
So, who do you think Neymar is a little annoyed with there:
c) The fragility and ultimate futility of our individual and collective existence
Yes, you’ve guessed it. Talksport’s headline: ‘Neymar is not happy with Tottenham over their transfer business’
With the fight for online traffic reaching fever pitch on Deadline Day, it becomes important to hype everything up to the point of frenzy in order to get bums on seats. Mediawatch has seen plenty of wonderful examples, but the Daily Express (perhaps unsurprisingly) produce the most ridiculous.
‘Aubameyang BOMBSHELL on deadline day: ‘German expert reveals late twist on Arsenal deal,’ is the headline.
That BOMBSHELL? Aubameyang was due a loyalty payment of £2.63million from Dortmund if he stayed put. He has told club chiefs he wouldn’t want it if he joined Arsenal. Obviously.
We’re actually impressed at the gumption.
Tuesday January 30, 2018:
‘SO, Phil, who is current top scorer in the Women’s Super League? The answer amounted to that stock Mastermind response: Pass. It was designed to catch him out — and it did’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
Wednesday January 31, 2018:
‘Phil Neville is ‘name’ and therefore his appointment as England manager will bring increased publicity to the women’s game, they told us. And how right they were. At Neville’s unveiling, a roomful of blokes, most of whom have never attended a women’s football match, asked quiz questions about women’s football to the England’s women’s manager to prove he knows even less about women’s football than they do’ – Dave Kidd, The Sun.
Said it before, will say it again. Love Kidd when he’s snarky.
You’ve got to love Alan Pardew (if you ignore some things), a man who could up-sell your house burning down as ‘a brilliant chance to start again’.
On Monday evening, West Brom signed Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool. By Tuesday afternoon, Pardew had got his story straight. He was ready to brag.
“You would have to put him in the same category as Harry Kane,” Pardew said.
“Harry has had a great spell in terms of fitness and is at the top of his game. It’s understandable that he is probably ahead of Daniel.
“But Daniel has the potential, particularly against teams I think where you need goal, where you need to break them down, he has some individual flair that not many players can match.”
Erm, you don’t just get to say ‘ignore all the injuries and stuff’ and Sturridge is great. That’s not how it works. He does have all the injuries and stuff.
Sturridge is 28. He has started more than 11 league games in a season twice in his career. He has 74 goals in his 194 career league matches.
Kane is 24. He has scored more than 20 league goals in his last four seasons, including 2017/18. He has 113 league goals in his 193 career matches.
Sturridge is the same category as Kane, but only in that they are both English strikers. There’s a reason he is at West Brom, Chunky…
‘Ozil agrees new contract in boost to Arsenal after losing Sanchez – and will marry his fiancee after the World Cup’ – MailOnline.
One of these things is interesting, at least.
Laboured intro of the day
‘At times, Jurgen Klopp must think he’s sticking his finger in the dyke of Liverpool ’s leaky defence.
‘But at Huddersfield last night, he removed the Dijk altogether – by dropping his £75million signing Virgil van Dijk – and it proved an inspired decision that got their season back on track’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror.
Worst headline of the day
‘Who is Natalie Sawyer dating and what football team does the Sky Sports News presenter support?’ – The Sun.
Who is Jim White dating? Or doesn’t that count because he’s a man?
To make this even worse, Sawyer is actually a columnist for The Sun. Have a word.
Recommended reading of the day
Jason Humphreys on Robben and Ribery.
Adam Bate with Lee Philpott.
James Ducker on Manchester City.
PLANET SPORT recommends: Johnny Nic tears into T20 cricket. (Cricket365)