Mediawatch: The biggest threat to football

Date published: Wednesday 21st September 2016 12:06

Little Englander
Said professional Englishman Terry Butcher on BBC 5Live, when asked why Chelsea were conceding more goals:

“David Luiz is back. I could not believe Chelsea took him back. All of a sudden it is panic stations and there are goals flying in. Just be good defenders. Stop pulling your socks over your knees and stop wearing these blooming undershorts and the big hair.”

While we’ve got you, Terry:

1) Chelsea kept one clean sheet in five games before Luiz played this season. They conceded the same number of goals to Bristol Rovers and Swansea without Luiz as they did to Liverpool and Leicester with him.

2) Rolling socks above the knees, you say?

3) Blooming undershorts, you say?

‘Stop wearing undershorts’; it’s the new motto of the PFM club.


Smell my cheese, you mother
In July, when Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager and all looked rosy, the Daily Mail did one of their PR trips to the Lowry Hotel, where Mourinho would be staying.

The piece laid it on very thick, but here are a few choice lines:

– ‘Not often can it be said that steel railings are so instantly recognisable. Nowhere else, though, are a small number of hotel steps at the heart of a city’s footballing culture.’

– ‘This is The Lowry Hotel, the North West’s award-winning five-star premium place of stay for the rich and famous and heavily utilised by Manchester United. It is viewed as the club’s sanctuary, a space to relax the night before games, to unwind. A second home, if you will.’

– ‘These are elegant surroundings – little wonder United’s new signings Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are housed there for the meantime alongside their manager, who is not in the £4,000-a-night Presidential Suite.’

You get the picture: Manchester United’s manager was being spoilt.

‘Fast forward a few months (and, importantly, three defeats), and the Daily Mail have changed their mind on the Lowry Hotel:

‘Jose Mourinho follows in the footsteps of Alan Partridge as the Manchester United boss continues hotel living,’ is the headline to Mike Keegan’s piece.

From Manchester United’s ‘second home’ to Linton Travel Tavern in just four months. We’ll only get worried when Mourinho gives the receptionist a chocolate orange.


Please Sir, can I have some more?
Within Mike Keegan’s Daily Mail piece on Jose ‘Alan Partridge’ Mourinho comes the following line:

‘South American restaurant Bem Brasil a second home. He is known to be a fan of their simple barbecue dishes and the privacy offered by the eaterie’s booths.’

Don’t tell Mediawatch you’re sick of the ‘cylinders of joy’ already, Mike?


Soft and gentle

‘Jose has brought a personal touch that Ferguson had and Van Gaal lacked. His animated presence in the technical area has also been welcome, compared to the days of LVG just clutching his clipboard’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, September 6.

‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s criticism of players ‘nastier and more personal than Sir Alex Ferguson’s ever was’’ – James Ducker, Daily Telegraph, September 21.

That’s not quite what Custis meant by ‘personal’, is it?



‘Mourinho is also set to axe captain Wayne Rooney for Saturday’s clash with Leicester following another poor performance at Vicarage Road’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun, September 20.

‘Rooney is in need of rest and a period to reflect on a difficult start to life under the new boss. He may well get that chance by sitting out Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Leicester’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun, September 21.

‘Axe’ to ‘in need of rest and period to reflect’? Half-way to completing a U-turn, there.


Storm in a teacup
‘Jack Grealish embroiled in another ‘hippy crack’ storm’ – Daily Mail.

Actual lines in from article:

‘Sources close to Grealish, who had to apologise to then Villa manager Tim Sherwood in 2015 after pictures emerged of him inhaling from balloons, admit the balloons were present at the party but they deny that Grealish inhaled from them.’

Less ‘storm’ and more light drizzle, then?


Coulda, woulda, shoulda

‘Five young players who could feature for Manchester United against Northampton,’ reads the headline on Sky Sports’ website.

That list in full: Axel Tuanzebe, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Sean Goss, Joe Riley, Regan Poole.

To Sky Sports’ preview for the match, which includes a list of 23 players from which Jose Mourinho will select. By now, only Tuanzebe and Fosu-Mensah even make the grade.

Finally to the Manchester Evening News, who report that ‘it is unlikely Axel Tuanzebe or any members of the Under-23s will be taken to Sixfields due to the size of Mourinho’s squad’.

Nailed it.


‘Yeah, that doesn’t work’ analogy of the day

“The first thing he did when he arrived at City was to pick a fight with Yaya and Joe Hart, two of the club’s biggest players. Hart is England’s goalkeeper; Yaya has won the African Footballer of the Year four times. When you first go into someone’s house then you should treat them with respect. You don’t go into someone’s house and ask them to leave”- Dimitri Seluk.

Unfortunately for you and Yaya, it’s as much Pep Guardiola’s house as yours. More so, actually.


Zing of the day

“We worked with Joey Barton for 10 months at QPR and probably four before we let him go to France. Joey Barton has got a book to sell, hasn’t he? He probably needs to bring up things about people because he may struggle to sell it on his football accomplishments, I suppose. I’m not surprised because he will do it to anybody, Joey. That’s my personal opinion. That’s what he does. You look at the last 10 days in his life. I don’t need to say anything else” – Stoke City’s assistant manager Mark Bowen responds to Joey Barton’s criticism of Mark Hughes as “a terrible manager”.


Misleading headline of the day

‘Tottenham to play ‘next Lionel Messi’ in Harry Kane’s absence, says Mauricio Pochettino’ – Daily Telegraph.

Actual quotes from Pochettino:

“Marcus Edwards, he is still 17 years old. His qualities? It’s only looks, his body and the way that he plays, remind a little bit from the beginning of Messi. He’s small, he’s left-footed.

“Remember a little bit (Erik) Lamela when he was at River Plate. When he was 14, 15 years old, there are a lot of videos on YouTube that you can see, that he took the ball, didn’t give a pass and shot straight away.

“He [Edwards] is a very good prospect and, potentially, he can be a top player but we need to be patient and tell him that he has a lot of talent, enough talent to be a top player, a great player but now it’s how he builds his future, that’s very important. And it’s our responsibility to tell him.”

So he’s ‘the next Messi’ and he’ll ‘play in Kane’s absence’, but neither of those things are said. Top work.


Ridiculous headline of the day

‘Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino wears same suit, hair and friendly pose for EVERY contract renewal’ – MailOnline.

We’ll give you the suit (which he probably just keeps at the training ground), but ‘hair’ and ‘friendly pose’? That’s just his actual head.

Come back to us when he’s dyed his hair and is crying.


Recommended reading of the day
Paul Hayward on Joey Barton.

Santokie Nagulendran with Sam Cox.

Alfredo Spalla with Gabriel Jesus.


Thanks to Danny Foster. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, send it to, with the subject line ‘Mediawatch’…

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