Mediawatch: Rooney: captain, leader, legend

Date published: Wednesday 11th May 2016 11:42

The data day
Most of Wednesday’s papers are in agreement on the performance of Manchester United’s Daley Blind against West Ham: He was rotten.

The Daily Mirror give him a mark of 5/10, saying he was ‘caught out of positions on several occasions’. The Daily Express go one lower with a 4/10: ‘Caught 25 yards out of position in the first half but Carroll couldn’t punish him, however Reid made him pay when he lost him for the Hammers third goal.’

The Manchester Evening News were particularly scathing about one of their own, describing how ‘his nine-day playing rest appeared to be insufficient, since the Dutchman has seldom looked so tired’.

Congratulations then to The Sun and their incredible ‘match ratings compiled using Opta data’, who had only two players on the pitch (Dimitri Payet and Diafra Sakho) rated higher than Blind.

It really is time to give back that data and let someone else have a turn.


When there’s an international tournament coming up so you’re being nice to the captain…
‘The game seemed to pass the United captain by in the middle of the park’ – Charlie Philippe, Daily Express

‘West Ham proved how untenable his new role in midfield is when he is faced with pace. His passing was particularly wasteful and too often lost his rag with referee Mike Dean’ – Samuel Luckhurst, Manchester Evening News.

‘For the captain and one of the most experienced players on the pitch, there wasn’t the level of motivation or leadership you would expect in a game in which his team is playing the opposition and the crowd’ – Scott Patterson, ESPN.

‘Rooney, once again, running his socks off. Love his energy and desire. Once again, Wayne Rooney talked with authority before the game about the attack. What a fine captain and leader he’s become’ – Daily Mirror chief football writer John Cross.


Holmes under the hammer
Said Eamonn Holmes on the violence at West Ham on Tuesday evening:

“This is going back to the 70s and to the 80s, the type of thing you were seeing that was bad about Hillsborough, for instance.”

Yeah, that’s exactly what was bad about Hillsborough. For a Sky News presenter, Holmes isn’t too clued up on current affairs.


Holmes wasn’t the only person to stuff up on the West Ham aggression last night. Here’s BBC News sports correspondent Joe Wilson:

“I am about 100 yards from the main entrance to the ground. The key thing is many want to be here to be part of the atmosphere. Right outside the ground was the Manchester United coach and it was stuck, it wasn’t going anywhere.

“There were about 10 police vans in front of it and it was surrounded by a sea of fans. I didn’t see any bottles being thrown then, I watched for a couple of minutes, but I have seen videos on social media of a couple of bottles being thrown. Most fans standing around were gesturing and singing, to say the bus was being attacked I think is something of an exaggeration.”

Alright, David Sullivan.


You got that Vibe
The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel cannot help himself but have a sneery dig at Brentford and the broad concept of using analytics in football. The smugness leaks out of every word. Regular readers may remember Samuel’s rant against Brentford in September last year. He’s back with a vengeance.

‘As everything at Brentford is put through the analytics wringer, one presumes statistics do not just govern recruitment, but player sales,’ Samuel begins.

‘So it must have been some set of numbers that persuaded them to sell Andre Gray to Burnley – even for a club record £6million.

‘Gray has scored 23 goals in 41 league games as Burnley returned to the Premier League. Brentford, meanwhile, have fallen from fifth to ninth, collecting 13 points fewer than last season. With promotion worth in excess of £100m, Brentford’s computer might need a reset.’

Several things, Martin:

1) Gray’s fee could actually be £9m, not just £6m.

2) There are very few clubs in the Championship – without the benefit of parachute payments – who can afford to reject bids of £9m for their players; that’s how they survive.

3) Brentford have indeed dropped four places in the Championship, but ninth is still well above where you would expect a club of their size to be. This has been a good season.

4) Brentford have scored six fewer goals this season than last.

And finally, and we can’t stress how important this is:

5) Brentford sold Andre Gray, who had scored 17 league goals, for £9m. They replaced him with Lasse Vibe, who has scored 14 league goals, for £1m. That’s exactly how this s**t works.


Meeting of minds
‘Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was spotted meeting Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson for lunch yesterday’ – Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror.

‘Mauricio Pochettino and Alex Ferguson leave a restaurant after meeting up in London yesterday. And it is a picture that will send a shiver down the spines of Tottenham fans everywhere’ – Paul Jiggins, The Sun.

‘Mauricio Pochettino met former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday. The pair were spotted lunching together in London’ – David Woods, Daily Star.

Only the Daily Star have the temerity to label the story as an ‘exclusive’.


The Sun is shining
Mediawatch brings you a step-by-step guide creation of the front cover of The Sun’s ‘Goals’ pull-out:

1) On April 29, Sam Allardyce claims that Crystal Palace players will be “on the pop” when they face Newcastle.

2) On May 10, Allardyce references that line when saying that Sunderland players and staff will celebrate if they confirm their relegation survival this evening. Well, obviously.

3) Somebody at The Sun realises that ‘pop’ rhymes with ‘top’, and that Sunderland’s nickname is ‘Black Cats’.

4) This happens:


A staunch defence
Ahead of Everton’s match with Sunderland on Wednesday evening, Roberto Martinez has issued another defence of his performance as manager. It’s not gone well.

“If anyone wants to have a scrutiny of my job, they are allowed to do that. But you do it over the last three seasons and see where we are now.”

That’s the problem, Bobby. We do see where you are now: 12th. Six places lower than when you started.


Predictable news story of the day
‘Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy is to be a reality TV star — looking for the next unlikely football superstar. The striker, 29 — who won the Premier League with the Foxes — is to act as guru to 42 non-league players in documentary series Jamie Vardy’s Having An Academy’ – The Sun.

‘Jamie Vardy’s Having An Academy’. Jesus f**king Christ.


Transfer rumour of the day
‘Arsenal have made an official £33.8m offer for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Granit Xhaka after moving ahead with their first transfer of the summer, with the German club resigned to losing the Swiss international in the coming weeks’ – Independent.

Dortmund have got no right to get p*ssy with Bayern Munich if they’re making money by selling Borussia Monchengladbach’s players.


Worst headline of the day
‘Baut out the Blue’ – The Sun. Not even close to how you pronounce Courtois’ first name.


Recommended reading of the day
David Conn on the FA and Hillsborough

Andy Brassell on Renato Sanches

Glenn Billingham on football in Bogota


With thanks to Matt Roberts. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, send it to, with the subject line ‘Mediawatch’.

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