Man eats meal at mealtime
‘Raheem Sterling treats himself to a spot of breakfast despite missing out on being crowned Young Player of the Year the night before at PFA awards,’ read the MailOnline headline late on Monday afternoon.
It’s been a few weeks since a young English player either had his private life scrutinised or was treated with disdain for doing something entirely normal, so Mediawatch is glad that the Raheem Sterling victimisation campaign has clicked back into gear just in time for the World Cup. Remember to attack him if he doesn’t perform to his best ability after months of attacking him personally, guys. What is it about him that makes him an easy target, we wonder?
For what it’s worth (and Mediawatch is sticking its neck out here), we consider it acceptable for someone who is nominated for an award but doesn’t win to continue eating food. Call us lefty liberal left-wing pinkos, but we even think it’s acceptable for those who weren’t even nominated for the award to eat food. Yeah we know, snowflakes.
By Tuesday morning, that headline has been changed slightly, with ‘despite’ becoming ‘after’. That suggests both that the Mail do have some standards in place for ridiculous headlines, and that the original headline fell foul of those standards.
Here’s the thing, guys: none of this story is anything other than absolute guff, and when one player (and one type of person) is targeted more than any other it becomes hateful. So rather than just changing the headline, simply don’t do the story. ‘Man eats meal’ is not interesting.
Newspapers (and their websites) have a responsibility. The link between an arm of the media repeatedly making veiled digs at Sterling plays a role in incidents such as him being racially abused and physically assaulted, because it normalises victimisation. It turns Sterling into a character – complete with parodical characteristics – that shapes the general public’s view.
What’s more, MailOnline only harm the reputation of their other journalists who get fine scoops and write excellent pieces and features with this tripe. That cannot be worth a few clicks and general outrage. Can it?
Do as I say, not as I wrote
Writes The Sun’s chief football writer Dave Kidd on Tuesday morning:
‘As the Three Lions prepare for a World Cup with a supposed lack of midfield quality, three Englishman are heading into the Champions League final.
‘Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were the trio who played such key roles in Liverpool’s early obliteration of Manchester City at Anfield earlier this month. And tonight they will be charged with performing the same job on Roma in the semi-final.
‘A front three from Egypt, Senegal and Brazil may be earning the loudest plaudits, but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are built on unashamedly English foundations. While it’s fashionable to sneer at English footballers, Reds chief Klopp is not joining in.’
If it is fashionable to sneer at English footballers, Kidd has spent his time on the catwalk. This is a man who wrote in October that England were ‘crushingly predictable and mind-alteringly dull’, and that ‘‘there is no excuse for them to be unwatchable’.
And a man who wrote about Henderson – now championed – in October:
‘A plodding midfield pairing of Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson is not going to provide a platform for a side hopeful of beating any half-decent team.’
And as for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mediawatch would consider this to be the most sneering take we have ever read about him:
‘LIONEL MESSI, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe are all sweating nervously about their participation at the World Cup.
‘Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on Amazon, buying a rough guide to the wilds outside St Petersburg, trying to discover whether bears are defecating in the woods near England’s remote base camp.’
We’ll let you guess who wrote that.
The big story
Liverpool are playing Roma in a Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night, but The Sun’s football website doesn’t give two hoots about actual football. The tie doesn’t feature in any of their top ten stories as of 11.30am on Tuesday. Why would it, eh?
So what is the biggest story? That a kid who tweeted Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon to call his girlfriend fat has subsequently apologised on Twitter, of course.
*shakes head and goes for a work with ol’ trusty*
Only one winner
‘Mo Salah was the outstanding choice for the PFA Player of the year award,’ writes Stan Collymore in Tuesday’s Daily Mirror.
‘The sheer variety of goals he has scored in his debut season playing for a club where expectation levels are huge has been phenomenal.’
Fair enough. Hardly a controversial opinion. If you backed Salah for the award during this goalscoring streak then fair play to you, Stan.
Oh, while we’ve got you big man. Do you know who wrote this on February 12, under the headline ‘Why Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne HAS to win Player of the Year’?
‘Harry Kane and Mo Salah have their merits as potential Player of the Year award winners. But that honour has to go to Kevin De Bruyne.
‘He has been weighing in with goals and important assists at important times in games all season. His level of consistency has been outstanding. I saw one article saying they feel up at Manchester City that he should be in the reckoning for a Ballon d’Or shout, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.’
The outstanding choice (of this month).
Writes Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail:
‘Wilfried Zaha looked as if he was hard done by at Watford on Saturday — but, really, is there a smaller violin than the one which plays for those who have earned a reputation for diving and then find the past working against them?’
Mediawatch really doesn’t get this. Even if you do consider that Zaha has gone down too easily in the past (and it’s hardly an open-and-shut case), believing that it should define his treatment for the rest of the career is rather dim.
Does someone who was once convicted for stealing deserve to be arrested for the same crime in the future when they have done nothing wrong? Can people not change?
Lie back and don’t think of England
Sticking with Samuel, and his withering assessment of Serie A’s big game this weekend:
‘Napoli’s late win at Juventus makes Serie A’s title race the most interesting in any of the major European leagues this season. Sitting through it, however, made one realise why the Premier League’s global popularity is unmatched. Slow, dull, and with Juventus happy to take a goalless draw at home, almost from the off, it was not half the occasion it should have been.’
Juventus were happy to take a draw because a draw was all they needed. It might have been the wrong approach, but it was hardly outlandish. Also, we remember Liverpool vs Manchester United in October.
‘Even the technical quality in Italy is overstated. With a match unfolding at this pace it is not hard for a player with good basic skills to look impressive.’
Yes, it’s not as if a player has recently come over from Italy and torn the Premier League apart.
Twitter as an echo chamber, accidentally summed up in one sentence
‘I copped a lot of stick for saying that the appointment of Claude Puel at Leicester was underwhelming, but after reading a lot of opinions from people I respect on social media last week I have to say that he’s proving me right’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror.
For the record, Stan, you copped stick not because you said the appointment was underwhelming but because you called them ‘faceless Foxes’, described it as ‘one of the oddest managerial marriages I’ve seen in recent years’ and said that English managers are being shunned in favour of ‘adventurous, trendy tapas’.
Least surprising headline of the day
‘Paul Pogba has best chance of achieving dream [of winning the Ballon D’Or] at Manchester United’ – Manchester Evening News.
Man employed to write about Manchester United thinks Manchester United is ideal place for Manchester United player.
Recommended reading of the day
David Squires on Arsene Wenger.
Wright Thompson on Juventus.
Sid Lowe on Andres Iniesta.
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