Happy as a Pog in Manc
As is traditional in 2017, the biggest story in football on Thursday morning is not that Champions League football was played on Wednesday night – or indeed any reaction to that football – but the fact that some grown men have flown on an aeroplane and arrived back at an airport. At this point, if they have lost said football match they will be ‘glum’. Unless they are heartless sods and are ‘grinning despite’ said defeat.
The Sun website’s top football story at 10.30am encapsulates all that is wonderful/sickening about said stories with this headline:
‘SECRET HANDSHAKE Man Utd stars glum as they fly home after Basel defeat…except Pogba’
And why is Pogba not glum and was instead ‘pictured laughing with a fan at Manchester Airport’? Well, he ‘obviously knows Jose Mourinho’s men are still favourites to qualify and need just a draw in final game at home to CSKA Moscow’.
Which begs the question: Why the hell didn’t he tell everyone else?
Breaking airport news
Being tasked to write the words to accompany said ‘men fly on aeroplane’ story is a thankless task. Which is why The Sun’s Tom Sheen resorts to this as early as the sixth paragraph:
‘The 1hour 45minute flight actually sees travellers cross the border into France to fly back from the EuroAirport, which serves Basel (Switzerland), Mulhouse (France) and Freiburg (Germany).’
We feel for you, Tom.
Mediawatch is feeling unusually sympathetic today and will add the Daily Mirror’s David McDonnell to its lengthening list. He wrote a piece about Manchester United’s missed chances in Switzerland and some bright spark decided to headline it thus:
‘Jose Mourinho’s bus backfires as Manchester United shut up shop – then lose it late against Basel’
Mentions of a bus by McDonnell: Zero.
Because with 68% possession away from home, talk of parking buses would be absolutely mental.
But still, they probably got some delicious clicks.
Ooh la la
The Daily Mirror’s John Cross is a man with an exclusive – that ‘PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN are back in the market for Alexis Sanchez’. They have ‘reignited their interest’, apparently.
Back? When did they ever go away? Certainly there were plenty claiming interest in October – here and here, for example. The latter is from your Mirror colleague, John, so we would think you might remember that. But yes, we are sure you exclusively know PSG’s thoughts on Sanchez, despite there being little mention of that interest in France.
But it is the final line of Crossy’s piece that is amusing us:
‘PSG have been keen on Sanchez in the past then they signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last summer. But they have long-term doubts over Edinson Cavani.’
That will be the Edinson Cavani who has scored 21 goals so far this season. If they have ‘long-term doubts’, it can only be because he is 30. So the solution is to buy a man just about to turn 29? Of course it is. And you are definitely not just helping Arsenal to sell Sanchez anywhere but City…
You’ve got Mail
The Daily Star also had a back-page exclusive on Thursday morning – that Arsene Wenger wants Giovanni van Bronckhorst to replace him. There are obviously no quotes from Wenger but David Woods has contacts at Arsenal so there may well be some truth in the claim.
But that lack of quotes from Wenger does not stop the Mail, who are nothing short of shameless.
The headline on the website is bad enough – ‘Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger identifies ex-Gunner Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the man to replace him as manager’ – but what is the headline that appears on Google, Newsnow and every other aggregator of football news?
‘Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: Van Bronchorst to replace me’
That’s just plain cheating.
You may have worked out by now that Thursday is a slow day. Hence the pictures of men on aeroplanes and the pretence that Arsene Wenger has named his successor. So we should not be surprised when the Daily Mirror have a headline that reads ‘Eden Hazard admits he will leave Chelsea and underlines “admiration” for Real Madrid after finding top form’ and yet we still find ourselves screaming ‘BUT HE F***ING DIDN’T DID HE?’. Because we will never get used to this sh*t, and nor should we.
So what did Eden Hazard actually say?
“I am always very fine at this club. I still have two years of my contract. When I feel the desire to leave, I’ll leave. But, for now, I’m a Blue.”
‘When’ he feels the desire to leave sounds very much like he doesn’t have the desire to leave right now.
When Mediawatch feels the desire to stop eating bacon, we will stop eating bacon. But don’t hold your breath.
What is news?
The word ‘news’ is definitely over-used in football journalism when what they really mean is ‘nonsense’. It’s an easy mistake to make as they both begin with the same letter.
So to be helpful to the Express website (and they are by no means the only culprits) we will help them with some of their headlines on this beautiful Thursday…
‘Real Madrid nonsense: Arsenal make shock offer for Gareth Bale’
‘Arsenal nonsense: Barcelona agree January deal for Mesut Ozil’
‘Real Madrid nonsense: Florentino Perez identifies key summer target to replace Luka Modric’
‘Man Utd nonsense: Marouane Fellaini emerges as SHOCK target for PSG’
Recommended reading of the day
Gregg Bakowski on twilight careers.
Paul MacInnes on the source of a chant.
Iain Macintosh gets back on the horse.