The Sun always shines
‘Some of the abuse which came Sterling’s way after his departure from Liverpool was vicious and there was more of the same in the summer. Now, though, he has learnt to ignore social media and keep his head clear for football’ – Martin Blackburn, The Sun.
You left ‘the front pages of Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper’ off your list of things to ignore…
Sale of the century
In Tuesday’s Daily Mail, Charlie Sale’s Sports Agenda column contains a scoop.
‘Elite referees Jon Moss and Anthony Taylor had night out on eve of Stoke match that saw Mark Hughes sent off,’ Sale’s headline reads, and the insinuation is clear: How bloody dare they?
Firstly, the Mark Hughes detail is entirely superfluous. Sale is hinting that the incident in question was in some way controversial (as well as related to this ‘night out’), but Hughes himself admitted that he deserved to be sent off.
‘Footballers would be castigated for being seen out on a Friday night yet Moss and Taylor had agreed to take part in ‘An evening with Premiership referees’ organised by Stockport Referees’ Society at Stockport County FC on the eve of their match duties,’ Sale writes, desperately trying to turn up the MailOnline outrage-ometer.
Yes, that’s right; the referee’s ‘night out’ was actually a charity dinner that Moss and Taylor appeared at to raise money. Sale tries to add a layer of controversy by making reference to alcohol (‘three-course dinner with wine’), but neither referee actually drank anything.
Sale’s sh*t-stirring isn’t finished there:
‘A Premier League spokesman said the event was for charity and both Moss and Taylor left by 10pm without drinking. However, a picture was tweeted of the pair still at the dinner at 10.07pm. Either way, if footballers keep their heads down on a Friday night before a match, so should the referees.’
Fortunately for Mediawatch, the Instagram user who took said picture is a regular reader, and has been in touch. Sale appears to have forgotten that social media photos don’t have to be posted the second they were taken.
“The refs left straight after drawing the charity raffle at around 10pm,” Matt Allen says. He has asked Sale to remove the picture from the article after it was used without permission. “I uploaded the image once I’d walked back to my car.”
So no alcohol, no ‘night out’, no overstaying their curfew and no controversy. Top work.
The next time someone asks why referees don’t come out and explain their decisions, point them to Sale’s manufactured controversy and wonder they’d ever bother their arse.
Divide and conquer
‘Romelu Lukaku still divides fans despite hat-trick as Everton’s Idrissa Gueye takes plaudits,’ reads the headline on the Daily Telegraph website.
It’s the latest in a new breed of online Telegraph articles which essentially involves taking some controversial tweets from low-profile users – because Twitter is the perfect place to look for nuanced debate – and selling them as a news story. Because clicks.
‘Lukaku’s clinical finishing and spectacular return to form were not enough to quiet the sceptics on what ultimately turned out to be an enjoyable away day for the Toffees,’ Sean Gibson writes.
‘One fan noted: “A world class striker could have scored more,” while another chimed: “Can’t wait for Lukaku not to score for two months.”’
Scroll down two inches to see tweets that say exactly that, from Twitter users @Deckyyyy and @VanDerClaart. Neither user has more than 350 followers and neither tweet gained more than one retweet, proof that the Telegraph’s writers are actually searching social media for anything they can brand as news.
Yet that isn’t what rankles most: Both these users are self-professed Tottenham supporters, with both bios containing a message of ‘COYS’. It’s hardly the split opinion among Everton fans that the headline suggests.
‘Random Tottenham fan tweets that he still doesn’t rate Lukaku’ – it’s the headline we deserve.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Writes the Daily Mirror’s chief sports writer Dave Kidd:
‘Those ‘combined XIs’ where, before every major fixture, everyone has to decide which members of the two teams would fit into one starting line-up. It was vaguely interesting when someone first thought of it during the late 20th century. Now it’s the definition of pointlessness. Enough.’
Treating me like a Rose
Metro’s Team of the Weekend article, Monday morning:
‘Danny Rose – Tottenham are back! Or so it seems after a convincing 4-0 victory over Stoke City. Rose was one of the many Spurs stars to finally hit their straps after a steady start to the campaign, contributing at both ends of the pitch to ensure the north Londoners came away with all three points.’
Metro’s Team of the Weekend article, Monday afternoon:
‘Ben Davies – Tottenham are back! Or so it seems after a convincing 4-0 victory over Stoke City. Davies was one of the many Spurs stars to finally hit their straps after a steady start to the campaign, contributing at both ends of the pitch to ensure the north Londoners came away with all three points.’
Watched that game carefully, didn’t you fella? They’ll never notice.
For reasons unbeknown to Mediawatch, the Daily Express are predicting the final Premier League table after each round of matches. There are no boasts of ‘unique algorithms’ or ‘indexes’, just some really bad guessing that is weighted far too heavily towards early-season results rather than logic.
The top eight, in order: Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton, Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal, Hull City, Liverpool. And the bottom six, bottom upwards: Stoke City, Sunderland, West Ham, Southampton, Bournemouth, Burnley.
Guys, you’re changing this table every week. There is already a table that changes each week according to results; it’s called the league table.
Shout out to the Metro for trying to make a big deal of Alexis Sanchez not picking Tony Adams, Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech in his all-time XI.
Double shout out for mocking up a graphic of the team and including ‘Madini’ and ‘Khan’. Nailed it.
Say what you like about London's new mayor, but Alexis Sanchez considers him a safe pair of hands (so say the Metro) pic.twitter.com/eINB1TAFD0
— Football365 (@F365) September 13, 2016
Let’s just hope Roberto Carlos can ‘contribute at both ends’ as well as Danny Rose on Saturday.
‘It’s a great game in terms of the occasion and Celtic rarely actually get hammered when they face Barcelona’ – Charlie Nicholas, Sky Sports.
Scoreline last time Celtic played Barcelona: 1-6.
‘The 12 players who will make the Champions League group stage worth watching’ – Daily Telegraph.
Players from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Paris St Germain: 0.
‘*The* 12 players’? Bloody hipsters.
Worst headline of the day
‘Moanio Balotelli’ – The Sun.
Actual lazy journalism.
Recommended reading of the day
Raphael Honigstein with an alternative take on RB Leipzig
Matthew Hall on MLS in Canada
Jason Burt with Marco Verratti