Mediawatch: No foreigner ever liked English football

Date published: Wednesday 18th January 2017 1:11

You know it’s a slow news day when…
…the top story on MailOnline at 11.15am is ‘JOHN BARNES pick his dream XI from ex-Liverpool team-mates… including Dalglish’s clone and the striker who trained as a defender’.

The next story involves someone writing a list of the net spend of Premier League clubs. Who knew that Manchester City had spent lots of money?!


“They come over here…”
Mediawatch quite likes Chris Waddle, so we were hugely disappointed to read his angry words in Wednesday’s The Sun on foreigners in England. And yes, that is all foreigners, under one fun, if slightly hefty, umbrella:

“Foreign players come to England only for the money. I don’t believe they even like English football.”

All of them. Every single one of the buggers from all 106 nations represented in Premier League history. Gianfranco Zola? Hated it. Peter Schmeichel? Cried every time he had to play. Thierry Henry? Famously spat on pictures of the Queen and Bobby Moore after every goal for Arsenal, just to reiterate how much he hated England and English football.

“Be they from France, Spain, Italy or Brazil, they have no loyalty to England. They’re only here for their bank balance.”

This is one of those occasions that Mediawatch doesn’t really need to say much, simply point at the quotes and just say “Yeah, we know, f**king hell eh?”

There is no doubt that, just as in every industry, money plays a part in every career decision. Yet to extrapolate from that the conclusion that no foreign player can like English football is truly ludicrous, and more than mildly xenophobic.

Perhaps Waddle is simply guilty of judging every player by his own standards? After all, here is what he said when joining Marseille from Tottenham AS A FOREIGNER in 1989: “I just had to accept it. Because of what it offered financially to my family for the future.”

As he now writes:

“It’s not like a local kid who comes through the ranks and knows everything about his club and truly loves it like Mark Noble at West Ham or Harry Kane at Tottenham.”

Or the kid born on Tyne and Wear who became a Sheffield Wednesday legend. Or the Sunderland fan that became a hero at Newcastle United. It’s almost as if different people, regardless of nationality, can behave differently.

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British is best
Paul Merson has taken plenty of flak for his comments about “clueless” Marcos Silva getting the Hull City job over Gary Rowett and, erm, well Jeff, erm… Gary Rowett.

Merson need not fear, however, for he has support in the form of Martin Samuel’s Daily Mail column:

‘Paul Merson has found himself on the wrong side of football’s snobs in recent weeks, for doubting the appointment of foreign coaches, and in a London accent.

‘Merson wondered why the Hull job had not been given to a promising English manager, such as Gary Rowett; then, to compound his sacrilege, referred to Marco Silva as ‘this geezer’. Cue outrage.’

The London accent wasn’t the problem, Martin, and you know it. The problem was the dismissing of a manager based solely on his nationality.

‘Cue a lot of bluffers pretending they were very familiar with Silva’s sterling work at Estoril in Portugal’s second division, and hadn’t just looked it up on Wikipedia. Many cited his subsequent promotion, Estoril’s impressive fifth-place finish and his season at Sporting Lisbon, where he won the Portuguese Cup.’

Two things, Martin:

1) Educating yourself about something or someone you didn’t know much about isn’t something to be mocked, but applauded. If you weren’t aware of Silva’s work prior to Hull appointing him, researching his achievements is an awful lot better than blindly dismissing him, no?

2) It doesn’t matter what ‘bluffers’ knew about Silva. It mattered what Hull City knew about Silva, and how he interviewed.

‘They even discussed the Taca de Portugal as if they followed it – so presumably knew the final was played at a 37,000-capacity stadium that is otherwise dormant and has one entire side left open. That Porto, by far Portugal’s strongest club, haven’t won it since 2011, that Benfica have lifted the trophy once since 2004 and that recent winners have included Braga (2016), Vitoria de Guimaraes (2013) and Academia (2012). No, the Taca de Portugal – we’re all over it in England.’

There have been 76 Taca de Portugal finals. Benfica, Porto and Sporting have won 57 of those 76; way to twist the statistics.

Also, presumably Samuel thinks Steve Bruce and Alan Pardew deserve no credit for reaching the FA Cup final in 2016 and 2015 on the basis that Liverpool haven’t won it since 2006 and Manchester United won it once in the last 12 years?

‘Yet equally, Merson could cite Pepe Mel, Felix Magath, Walter Zenga, Bob Bradley, Guy Luzon, Philippe Montanier, Fabio Liverani, Ricardo Moniz, Karel Fraeye, Alberto Cavasin or Marinus Dijkhuizen as foreign coaches parachuted into a league, or a situation, in English football for which they have little experience, with underwhelming results. And that is just in the last two years or so.’

Or Mike Phelan, Paul Clement, John Carver, Tim Sherwood, Chris Ramsey, Alan Irvine, Dave Hockaday, Neil Harris, Lee Johnson, Alan Stubbs, Warren Joyce, Neil McDonald, David Dunn, Steve Robinson, Chris Brass, Kevin Nolan, Craig Hignett and Ian Hendon. Weird how this works, isn’t it?

‘Merson might not speak proper like what some of the bluffers do, but that doesn’t make him wrong. If Rowett was Portuguese, his work would have been noted. Instead, he might as well have been hiring out sun beds in Estoril.’

Of course we finish with the classic straw man.

Rowett should not have been sacked by Birmingham. He will, at some point, get a decent Championship job and get the chance to prove his aptitude. ‘Hiring out sun beds in Estoril’? Honestly…


Slight difference of opinion
‘What will this do for Mike Dean’s ego? The referee turned King of Sass has been one of the main talking points over the last month or so after a number of curious performances. And it appears that record has come back to bite him as he’s been dropped to the Championship for this weekend’s fixtures’ – The Sun.

‘Mike Dean will referee in the Championship on Saturday when he takes charge of the teatime Yorkshire derby between Barnsley and Leeds. Dean asked to officiate in the second tier after doing six consecutive high-profile Premier League games live on TV’ – Daily Mail.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, The Sun.


Excuse me
“I’ve not wanted to use it as an excuse and I’ve genuinely tried not to, and I’m not using it here,” said David Moyes after Sunderland lost to Burnley in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Good to hear, David. No excuses. Your side were rotten, after all. What’s that, you haven’t finished?

“But if I had other players, maybe I could take some players out and put somebody else in. I could do something different with it and let them know – you’re not getting away with that. At the moment I can’t do that. It’s a fact, we’re short, we’re finding it a struggle, we’re putting near enough the same players out.

“We’re looking around, everyone knows our limitations but we are needing to add, due to the shortage of what we’ve got – long-term injuries, some who are close, boys at the African Nations Cup. We’re trying.”

Thanks David.

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Orange peel

Firstly, they can choose who they want – that’s how it works. But this is also a whacking great straw man, given the terrific work of journalists in uncovering the sex abuse scandal in football. Shall we just see who wins the award?

You both get paid presumably handsome sums to cover two of the biggest football clubs in the world, including access to matches around the globe and interviews with some of the best players and managers in the sport. You could just be happy with your lot…


Peak Telegraph
Headline? ‘Transfer rumours: The top 100 targets in the January transfer window 2017’ – Daily Telegraph.

Gallery? Oh yes. Gallery with 101 different URLs? Oh yes. Lovely work.

Of those 100 January transfer window targets, Mediawatch looks forward to counting how many actually move. Antoine Griezmann, Toby Alderweireld, Cesc Fabregas, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Toni Kroos, you reckon?

Quick point: Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman aren’t ‘targets’ in a piece dated January 18. They both played for their new clubs three days ago.


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Big news.


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