Mediawatch on The Sun and an Arsene joke

Date published: Tuesday 21st March 2017 9:00

I was only joking, my dear
The Guardian’s
Paul Doyle has written an excellent piece about the secrecy surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future doing little to silence his detractors. What secrecy? He was there at the Hawthorns, right? When all was in fact revealed…

‘What next for Arsenal? Only one man knows. Tony Pulis was asked whether he had any inkling as to Wenger’s intentions. He said he did not. “I just wished him all the best,” he said. “I’d be surprised if he goes.” Asked why, he jokily replied: “Because he told me”. As if.’

Well you utter fool, Paul Doyle. Because the exchange you have dismissed in the very last line of your Guardian piece is in fact the back-page lead in the nation’s biggest-selling newspaper.

What you thought was a ‘joke’ – largely because Pulis laughed heartily – was in fact a ‘shock revelation’.

What you thought was a ‘joke’ – largely because Pulis laughed heartily – was in fact an ‘ARSENAL BOMBSHELL’.

What you thought was a ‘joke’ – largely because Pulis laughed heartily – was in fact an opportunity for the Chief Football Reporter of The Sun to demonstrate that he really does not have the same contacts at Arsenal as, for example, John Cross of the Daily Mirror or Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

They have club sources saying Arsene Wenger has made his decision; Ashton has a joke made by a 59-year-old man who still wears a baseball cap.


The king of hyperbole
Neil Ashton, The Sun, March 8:

‘ARSENAL Football Club, Rest In Peace.

‘This institution, one of the most famous clubs in the world, is dead and buried.

‘Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating.’

Neil Ashton, The Sun, March 20:

‘Arsenal Football Club is rotten to the core.’

Well it has been dead for nearly two weeks.


Opinion of the weekend
We can only presume that a lost bet led The Sun’s Head of Football Charlie Wyett to say this on Sky Sports:

“Everton could bridge the gap, they really could.

“Recent success would suggest otherwise, but in terms of the size of a club it’s bigger than Chelsea, I think, and they’re probably the same size as Tottenham.

“Everton are a really big club.”

It’s not an exact science but let’s take a look at the Twitter followers of those clubs to gauge global fanbase:

Chelsea: 8.18m
Everton: 1.06m
Tottenham: 1.88m

It’s not an exact science but let’s look at the turnovers of those clubs to gauge financial power:

Chelsea: £319m
Everton: £126m
Tottenham: £196m

Hmmm. Are their dads bigger than Chelsea’s?


Spotter’s badge
Somebody at the BBC needs to give Garth Crooks a bigger platform than a mere team of the week; nothing gets past him.

  • ‘It was so obvious to me that no-one in the Arsenal back four fancied taking on West Brom’s aerial threat.’
  • ‘A couple of great blocks by John Stones were enough for me to realise this young man was on top of his game.’
  • ‘It’s perfectly obvious to everyone that Chelsea are the team to stop…’
  • ‘This full-back (Nyom) caught my attention during his days at Watford.’
  • ‘What I also noticed during this very credible performance by United was they didn’t miss the presence of Paul Pogba.’

Garth Crooks: All seeing. All knowing.


Non-sequitur of the day
From MailOnline: ‘JAMIE REDKNAPP: Arsenal’s players must stop hiding behind Wenger… and find out who makes my team of the weekend’

It’s probably the least of their worries, Jamie.


Luk who hasn’t done research?
One man who does make Redknapp’s Daily Mail team of the week (as well as Dele Alli, of course; he lurrrrves him) is Romelu Lukaku but Jamie warns:

‘It is one thing to score two goals at the end of a game against 10-man, relegation-threatened Hull and another to do it against the top teams.

‘That is the key difference between Costa and Lukaku – Costa affects the big matches. Should Lukaku return to Chelsea, that is what he would need to bring to his game.’

Five minutes of research, Jamie, that would be all that was needed to see that of Diego Costa’s 49 goals, eight have come against Swansea. In fact, only Swansea, Everton, Hull, Watford, West Brom and West Ham have conceded more than two Costa goals.

As for that flat-track bully Lukaku, how does five in ten Premier League games against Liverpool sound? Or four in ten against Manchester City?

And all achieved while playing alongside the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley rather than Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas…

Still. Sort yourself out, Romelu.


The worst intro of this or any other day
Congratulations to The Sun’s Andy Dillon, who watched a five-goal humdinger at West Ham and then came up with this opening paragraph…

‘CRAIG SHAKESPEARE is not the first boss to discover that living the footballing high-life can lead to problems with WAGS.

‘Only this one has four legs, a wet nose and fur…’

Because this is of course 1983.


With an eye on Friday’s qualifier between Wales and Republic of Ireland Sunday’s Irish Independent reviewed recent meetings between the two sides:

The review of the final qualifier for the two sides in their qualifying group for Euro 2008 contained these words:

‘Ireland were denied third place, and the play-offs for a place in Germany.’

Ireland weren’t denied third; they finished third in the group.
Ireland weren’t denied a play-off place; there were no play offs for Euro 2008.
Ireland weren’t denied a place in Germany; the tournament was hosted jointly by Austria and Switzerland.

Three mistakes in 13 words. It’s almost impressive.


Hyphen hate
It seems apt that the MailOnline chose their snippet on James Ward-Prowse (in a 50 young players piece; it’s international week) to demonstrate a maverick approach to hyphens…

‘An England call-up seemed inevitable for James Ward-Prowse, who spoke about his desire to play for the national team when he was just 13-years-old.

‘It speaks for his talent as a player that Ward-Prowse seems like a fixture in the Premier League despite being just 22-years-old. He made his top flight debut at 17 and immediately impressed with his set piece delivery and superb range of passing.

‘The Portsmouth-born midfielder has improved with time too, which can be an issue for those who break through young. He’s added a physicality to his game and seems to be growing game-by-game this season. One of few surprise call-ups in Gareth Southgate’s England squad that came with no question marks.’

Hyphens used: 12
Hyphens that should have been used: 6
Hyphens used correctly: 5

File under could-do-better.


British quote of the week

Thankfully, there’s nothing more British than drawing 0-0 at home to Burnley and being pretty much relegated in March.


Recommended reading of the day
Nick Miller on Chris Wood.

Jeremy Wilson on Arsenal.

Adam Bate on Antonio Valencia.


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Joe McCarthy. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at

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