Mediawatch: Welcome to ‘the coach’s graveyard’

Date published: Thursday 14th January 2016 1:15

Man and lingerie model
Forgive Mediawatch for reading the front page of a newspaper, but the Daily Mail‘s headline (again, front page) of ‘So what REALLY went wrong for Lineker and his lingerie model?’ could not be ignored.

Is ‘lingerie model’ French for ‘wife’?


Fat controller
‘Lost his temper’, ‘meltdown’, ‘blasted’, ‘another angry bust-up’, ‘snapping’, ‘visibly irate’. A number of the descriptions given by both The Sun and the Daily Mail, the only two newspapers brave enough to take on Louis van Gaal after he called a reporter – now revealed to be The Sun’s Neil Custis – “fat man” on Tuesday.

The incident occurred in Van Gaal’s post-match press conference after Manchester United’s draw with Newcastle on Tuesday, but, after a video emerged of the ‘angry bust-up’, it has somehow become news again.

The Sun are very much in their element on Thursday, with ‘our Neil’ giving ‘MY VIEW’, in which he attributes his weight gain to a knee operation.

The Daily Mail join in, with Craig Hope having his say on the ‘unsavoury incident’.

Mediawatch is hardly backing Van Gaal here, but are we missing something? This happened on Tuesday night. Wednesday had passed by the time this became back-page news. Is it not slightly disingenuous of The Sun to feign offence now?

As an aside, their ‘story’ is a ‘TONSPORT EXCLUSIVE’, with the headline ‘Just you weight’. Sigh.


One more match
Remember when Van Gaal had ‘two games to save his job’? They were fun times. Reported by pretty much every media outlet, Van Gaal was supposedly given the festive fixtures against Stoke and Chelsea to rescue his position at Manchester United. Defeat came at Stoke, with a spirited performance in a draw against Chelsea. The Dutchman kept his job, insinuating that a single point was enough from a possible six to ensure he would not be sacked.

United have not lost since that defeat to Stoke, but the pressure remains on Van Gaal after some shaky performances. According to The Times, Van Gaal has been given another warning over his position.

‘One more loss could be the end for Van Gaal’ reads the headline to a piece by James Ducker, Northern Football Correspondent. The ‘could’ sticks out, but that seems like pretty huge news. United’s next three Premier League fixtures are against Liverpool, Southampton and Stoke. One loss is more than conceivable.

‘Louis van Gaal is facing the biggest game of his Manchester United tenure away to Liverpool on Sunday with the club’s hierarchy increasingly concerned about the prospect of being cut adift in the race for Champions League qualification.’

The first paragraph does not quite offer such a definitive conclusion as the headline, but still, there must be something in this.

‘Defeat to Liverpool would present the gravest test yet of the faith in Van Gaal of Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, and the Glazer family, the club’s owners. Patience will erode if there is a serious threat over the coming weeks to the club’s minimum target of a top-four finish in the Premier League.’

More ‘Van Gaal could lose his job if he doesn’t achieve his main target by the end of the season’, less ‘one more loss could be the end for Van Gaal’, then?


Reade all about it
Liverpool host Manchester United on Sunday in a rather big game. It may pit ninth against sixth in the Premier League table, but the significance of the clash has not been lost. Certainly not on Brian Reade of the Daily Mirror.

You see, Reade has noticed a pattern of sorts with regards to the managerial fates of Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes and Roy Hodgson. Their respective demises all correlate with poor performances in this clash – or, in Hodgson’s case, the very ‘fear’ of allowing him to manage a game against United forced Liverpool to sack him. Which is tenuous.

On Rodgers, Reade writes:

‘When Liverpool collapsed in the second half of September’s game to lose 3-1… the owners made their mind up to move for Jurgen Klopp, and three weeks later the Northern Irishman was gone.’

Rodgers managed another six games after that defeat in September before being sacked.

On Moyes, Reade writes:

‘When Liverpool thrashed United 3-0 at Old Trafford two years ago, the calls for David Moyes’s head reached such a crescendo the board conceded his time was up.’

Moyes managed another eight games after that defeat before being sacked.

On Hodgson, Reade writes:

‘Back in 2011, when fearful Kopites let the new American owners know it would be bordering on sado-masochism to allow a sinking Roy Hodgson to lead Liverpool out at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, they agreed, and dragged Kenny Dalglish back from a cruise ship to do it instead.’

Ahead of the FA Cup third-round clash with United in January 2011, Liverpool had just lost 3-1 to Blackburn. They had won twice in eight games, losing to Spurs, Newcastle and Wolves in that sequence. Liverpool were 12th in the Premier League at the time of Hodgson’s sacking. It probably didn’t have much to do with the identity of their opponents in the FA Cup.

But still, this game ‘has become the coach’s graveyard’. Except the corpses are still breathing.


‘Andy Carroll has been ruled out for four to six weeks by West Ham’ – Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror.

‘Andy Carroll has suffered fresh injury frustration with the news that he faces up to two months on the sidelines with a hamstring problem’ – Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail.

‘Andy Carroll will be out of action for four to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury’ – The Times.

‘West Ham fear they will be without Andy Carroll for up to six weeks’ – Carl Long in The Sun.

‘West Ham fear Andy Carroll could be out for up to six weeks’ – Alex Smith in the Daily Star.

‘Injury puts Carroll out for six weeks’ – David Hytner in The Guardian.

‘Carroll out for six weeks’ – Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph.

Six newspapers reporting the same story. Only one reports it as an exclusive (Clue: It’s the first one).


El of a talent
Now, Mediawatch isn’t saying that the author of the Metro’s ‘five reasons Mohamed Elneny will be a great signing’ hasn’t seen the midfielder play all that much, but the reasons are as follows:

1) He likes to shoot.
2) He has won things.
3) He likes to pass.
4) He likes to run.
5) He is a midfielder.

Technically, they’re spot on.


The clock is ticking
‘Deal close: Man United to agree first January transfer in coming hours’ – Metro.

That’s Aleksandar Dragovic ‘in the coming hours’. We’re setting our stopwatch.


Mad Manuel: Fury Road
‘Pell’s fury’ screams the headline on the Daily Star‘s back page. For such a mild-mannered man, Mediawatch finds it difficult to believe Manuel Pellegrini said a great deal about Roger East, even if the referee opted not to award Manchester City a late penalty against Everton for John Stones’s late tackle on Raheem Sterling.

But go on then, Jeremy Cross, what has Pellegrini said? Has he called East a ‘fat man’? Started a ‘who’s the w**ker in the black?’ chant?

‘Manuel Pellegrini blasted referee Roger East after refusing Manchester City a stonewall penalty at the Etihad,’ reads the first paragraph. Buried within the paper are some actual quotes from the manager, including: “If the referee doesn’t whistle for it, we can’t say anything about that.”

Hell hath no fury.


Attack, attack, attack
Shout out to the Daily Telegraph for their Premier League team of the (mid)week. More importantly, shout out to the Daily Telegraph for their homage to Garth Crooks.

The Telegraph use a 4-3-3 formation. That midfield three is Roberto Firmino, Jon Walters and Georginio Wijnaldum. Ballsy.


Can do
‘Emre Can: Dominated early stages with a key role in the opening goal’ – the Daily Telegraph, who award Can a mark of seven out of 10. Only Roberto Firmino scored higher.

‘Emre Can: Excellent first half from the German, who continues to make a case to be a part of the side’s axis alongside Henderson – the Liverpool Echo, who award Can a mark of seven out of 10. Only Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino scored higher.

‘Emre Can: Worked hard but lacked quality in the middle of the park’ – the Daily Mirror, who award Can a mark of five out of 10. Only two of the 28 possible players scored lower.

Did they watch the same game?


Predictable author of the day
A headline in the Evening Standard: ‘Signing Emmanuel Adebayor is no-brainer, even for Chelsea’ – by Harry Redknapp. Obviously.


Headline of the day
‘HUTH HURTS’ – bravo, The Sun.


Worst headline of the day
‘Koeman has a Long face full of smiles’ – Daily Mirror.


Recommended reading of the day
Michael Cox on Hector Bellerin

Jeff Livingstone on Johan Cruyff

Kristian Walsh on Liverpool

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