Mediawatch: United ‘snub’, cultural relations…

Date published: Thursday 17th September 2015 12:21

Manchester United have ‘snubbed’ the rugby World Cup by hosting a match they host every year, what happened to Arsenal ‘blowing away’ Dinamo Zagreb and Stoke go out for a Chinese. Hence some dreadful punnery…


Snub Be Good To Me
In the Daily Mail, Charles Sale has his knickers in a twist over Manchester United and their dreadful slur against the Rugby World Cup.

‘Manchester have shown little or no regard for the Rugby World Cup by staging rugby league’s Grand Final at Old Trafford on the same day as England play Uruguay in their last group game at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium,’ Sale begins. ‘And this ridiculous clash of rugby codes in Manchester on October 10 — when police never allow United and City home games to clash — follows Old Trafford opting out of hosting three proposed Rugby World Cup games, having supported the bid.’

Calling the rugby games clashing ‘ridiculous’ because United and City can’t play at home on the same day is more than a little one-eyed. To Mediawatch’s knowledge, England rugby union fans and supporters of two as yet unnamed rugby league teams don’t hate each other and have a history of trouble, so the policing requirements are likely to be slightly different.

‘United accommodating the Grand Final —with all the Super League ballyhoo that entails, including British indie band The Charlatans playing during the interval — will certainly succeed in drawing attention away from the England team,’ Sale continues.

Will it? Sale’s own Daily Mail reports that only the £250 tickets are left for England’s game that day, so if they wanted to ‘succeed in drawing attention away’, they’ve done a very s***ty job of it.

‘Sir Alex Ferguson, former United manager, has to take a lot of responsibility for the United U-turn — not wanting a union game on his precious pitch, having witnessed how much it was cut up when England played Argentina there in 2009,’ Sale goes on. ‘Fergie was less concerned about damage done by rugby league because it is mainly played on top of the surface rather than through it. But United are making Fergie’s World Cup snub all the worse by shamelessly staging the rugby league showcase as a rival attraction.’

Erm… what? So United hosting a rugby league game rather than a rugby union game is ‘making Fergie’s World Cup snub’ look worse, when Fergie wanted to host a rugby league game rather than a rugby union game? ‘Football manager wanted pitch to be in good nick’ is hardly a controversy.

Also, Old Trafford has hosted every Super League Grand Final to date as part of a pre-existing relationship. So United ‘snubbing’ the Rugby World Cup is like Mediawatch snubbing a night in a hotel with Amy Adams and a pair of handcuffs on Saturday because we’ve already made plans to go out for dinner with the other half to celebrate our anniversary.

It’s the final line of the piece that made Mediawatch hoot: ‘A United spokesman said: “There’s no doubt rugby league is less harmful to our pitch but we didn’t set the date for the Grand Final.”’

So Manchester United didn’t choose to host the match on the same day at all. It was picked for them. B*stards.


Give Me One Good Reason
Forgive Mediawatch for returning to something from yesterday, but we couldn’t help but take a quick glance back at the Metro website’s ‘8 reasons why Arsenal can top their Champions League group ahead of Bayern Munich’. It was a solid start.

Reason 1: ‘They’re a settled side’ – They made six changes.

Reason 2: ‘They’ll blow Dinamo Zagreb away!’ – Looks to Mediawatch like they’re still standing.

Reason 5: ‘Gabriel Paulista is unbeaten’ – Not anymore.

Reason 6: ‘Bayern have it too easy in their own league’ – All that winning sure took its toll during the 3-0 victory at Olympiacos.

Reason 8: ‘Francis Coquelin will be ready for the Champions League’ – Indeed. Unfortunately, Mikel Arteta was not.

Silly things to say made to look silly. Who knew?


Cultural Relations
Mediawatch turned to the top of page 61 in today’s The Sun and immediately choked on its morning porridge. There is a section below for ‘Laboured Intro Of the Day’, but this deserves its own billing.

The headline in the newspaper is ‘Bowen left satay-sfied’, while the website goes for ‘Kung Po Potters’. Us neither, but you get a taste of what’s to come.

We present to you, without comment, the start of a story by Graeme ‘egg-fried’ Bryce. Their moniker not ours, obviously:

‘It’s all being going Egg Foo Yong for Mark Hughes’ Stoke City this season.

‘No wins in five Premier League games has seen the Potters topple into the bottom three alongside Sunderland and Newcastle. Another home defeat at the hands of high-flying Leicester on Saturday could send Sparky Prawn Crackers.

‘However Potters players are smart cookies and predict their fortunes are about to take a turn for the better — after going out for a Chinese meal together.

‘The bonding session, at a restaurant near Manchester, was planned some time ago after a similar outing last year worked wonders for team morale.

‘Hughes will be hoping his side are on a spring roll by the time they visit Watford and Newcastle at the end of October. If not, they will probably come in for some spare ribbing from pundits — and a right roasting from their fans. And if the Welshman can’t manage to serve up any points at all from that little lot… he could really be fearing the chop-sticks.’

We’ve been floored.


One for one, the same rule for another
Apologies to Charles Sale in the Daily Mail, but we can’t leave him alone quite yet. For his other swipe is at Sky’s alleged treatment of Thierry Henry and other pundits.

‘There seems to be one rule for Thierry Henry and another for other Sky football pundits — and not just over pay,’ Sale begins. ‘Jamie Redknapp was blocked by Sky from taking up an unpaid, part-time coaching role with Chelsea’s reserve team as part of his coaching badge qualification.

‘They said at the time they didn’t want one of their main football voices compromised by working with a club. Yet Henry, studying for his UEFA B licence, has been taking training sessions with Arsenal Under 19’s ahead of their UEFA Youth league campaign that started last night away at Dinamo Zagreb.’

Hang on, that does sound a bit fishy actually. Why was one allowed and the other not?

‘Sky said there was no issue with £4million-a-year Henry’s moonlighting and that Redknapp’s issue occurred under different management.’

Oh. That’s why. As you were.


Five More Ridiculous Headlines From Far More Successful Websites
‘The Great Britannia Bake-off: Bojan is cream of the crop as he wins Stoke cake-making competition’ – MailOnline.

‘Unreal stat proves Man United’s Schweinsteiger was the signing of the summer’ – Metro. ‘Proves’.

‘Snapped: Has Luke Shaw posted a picture of his broken leg after undergoing surgery?’ – Daily Express. Yes, he has.

‘Slaven Bilic: Why Man City are top of the league and Arsenal and Liverpool aren’t’ – Daily Star. More points? (The actual answer if that they’ve looked better than the opposition).

‘Arsenal fans tell Olivier Giroud to get out the club after red card v Dinamo Zagreb’ – Metro. Collating five tweets from Arsenal fans saying they are sick of Giroud and calling it a story. Sheesh.


Metr-Oh Behave
If you wanted to know how the Metro‘s website operates through the medium of two headlines on the same day, it is surely this:

‘8 reasons why Arsenal can top their Champions League group ahead of Bayern Munich’ – September 16, 9.17am.

‘Stat suggests Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger may actually be a specialist in failure after Dinamo Zagreb loss’ – September 16, 10.34pm.

But we thought…?


From a website not a million miles from here…

‘Their recent record in all competitions: Played 54, Won 28, Drew 16, Lost 0’.

Storey has been flogged for his idiocy. Again.


Typical Derek McGovern Line Of The Day
‘It’s a bit of an embarrassment being in the Europa League, rather like being spotted with a fat girl’ – Derek McGovern, Daily Mirror. Is this really acceptable?


Laboured Intro Of The Day
‘Sorry Arsenal were left shaken and stirred after succumbing to the after-shock of another dismal Champions League collapse.

‘Arsene Wenger’s team survived a minor earthquake in the Croatian capital the day before this clash. Now they will really have to make the earth move just to get through to their customary last 16 place in Europe’s top competition’ – Mark Irwin and The Sun can at least be congratulated for getting Carole King into Mediawatch’s head.


Quote Of The Day
“You try to kick it in the goal, and you hit me? You’ve got some f****** brains ain’t ya?” – Harry Redknapp’s famous training ground response made it onto BT Sport‘s Champions League coverage.

Gary Lineker apologised for the “spurious sounds”. Might as well get that apology on loop for when ‘Arry is in the studio.


Headline of the Day
‘Papiss Poor’ – The Sun. It’s actually from yesterday, but deserved the nod more than anything today.


Football Story Of The Day
‘Celtic have confirmed that they have written to their own supporters reminding them of the ‘need to wash’ before attending matches.

‘The bizarre intervention comes after fans complained about a smelly fellow supporter.

‘Season ticket holders in the main stand at Celtic Park, where the pong has been reported, were sent a letter by officials.

‘Celtic’s supporter liaison officer, John Paul Taylor, is understood to have written the letter to the supporters, in which it’s claimed they were told that the excessive BO from the fan was “impacting on the experience” of the match. Celtic declined to reveal the exact wording of the letter.

‘Taylor, who is a dedicated point of contact for fans of the Glasgow club, wrote on Twitter: “I can exclusively reveal its genuine, dispatched at the request of incumbents within the locale”’ – Independent.


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotters Ed Taylor and Andy West. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at


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