Mediawatch: When silly season became stupid season

Daniel Storey


Happy Deadline Day!


You know it’s a slow deadline day when…


Click into gear

‘Ooor er. It just got interesting,’ reads that Daily Telegraph live blog. ‘How’s this for a transfer rumour to satisfy that mid-morning slump? Are you sitting comfortably? Chelsea’s technical director Michael Emenalo has travelled to Italy to complete an £86m, yes an £86m deal for Torino striker Andrea Belotti.’

This is the problem when you have journalists with credible contacts and sources, but choose to ignore them in favour of some delicious clicks on a live blog.

Still, why would you believe your Chelsea guy over Sky Italia? Law must feel so special.


The inside scoop
Tuesday is Deadline Day, which means Sky Sports’ Jim White is in a newspaper talking up his birthday and Christmas rolled into one. He’s only too happy to explain why he’s the man in the know.

“What makes it a special day is getting that piece of information that other people have not got and breaking it live on air,” White tells The Sun. “Being first is key, and making sure it is accurate.

“Agents drop me messages trying to get airtime for their clients and saying their players might being going here or there. I also speak to managers and also chairman. I speak to them a lot. They tell me what direction the deals are going.”

White is so in the know that he even tells us five deals that he believes will happen on Tuesday. These aren’t just punts, of course. Because White is in the know. In the know.

Join Mediawatch tomorrow when we will tick off just how many of Ashley Young to West Brom, Wilfried Zaha to Tottenham, Leonardo Ulloa to Sunderland, Scott Hogan to West Ham and… erm, Chelsea to “spend big” happened.

White’s in the know, you see.


Rogues’ gallery
‘Twenty players you may not have heard of that Premier League clubs should buy on transfer deadline day’ – Daily Telegraph gallery, January 30.

‘Transfer deadline day Premier League round-up: who will be the busiest club?’ – Daily Telegraph gallery, January 31.

‘Thirty transfer deadline day deals that could happen for Premier League clubs’ – Daily Telegraph gallery, January 31.

That’s a lot of individual URLs with the words ‘deadline day’. SEO-tastic.


There is some actual football on Tuesday night, and in The Sun Neil Ashton piles the pressure on Jurgen Klopp ahead of Liverpool’s home game with Chelsea, presumably confident that nobody on Merseyside is actually reading. Mediawatch can’t help feeling that Ashton is guilty of double standards.

‘On Saturday the phone-ins were jammed with all manner of crackpots claiming Klopp’s spell at Anfield should come to an end following the 2-1 defeat to Wolves, a club 18th in the Championship.’

And then:

‘To lose one game at Anfield is bad. Two is careless. Three is a crisis. A fourth on Tuesday, especially against nouveau riche rivals Chelsea, would be unforgivable.’

So ‘crackpots’ for wanting Klopp out after three straight home defeats, but ‘unforgivable’ if they suffer four? You can’t have it both ways.

Another story from Ashton on The Sun’s website is headlined ‘Jurgen Klopp believes he could face the sack if Liverpool lose to Chelsea at Anfield’, even though Klopp said nothing of the sort, while the feature piece talks of ‘weary retreats’ and Klopp’s ‘mental scars’.

Are you sure you’re not the ‘crackpots’, guys?


Always in the Wright
Elsewhere in The Sun on Liverpool – Chelsea get approximately 300 words of coverage – Ian Wright rolls his eyes and asks why anyone was silly enough to get excited about them in the first place.

‘WHEN I see the number of people amazed at Liverpool’s ropey run, one question springs to mind — why? It’s so obvious why Liverpool go into tomorrow’s game against Prem leaders Chelsea trying to avoid four home defeats in a row for the first time since 1923. One staring-you-in-the-face reason why that all-action, non-stop style was always going to struggle here — lack of a winter break.’

Thank you, oh wise master. Thank you for opening our eyes.

Weird then that Wright didn’t mention the winter break issue in November, when he wrote this when saying the Premier League title was between Liverpool and Chelsea:

‘Liverpool make mistakes, yes. They don’t keep clean sheets the way Chelsea do and in other circumstances it might be a big issue. But under Jurgen Klopp this season, Liverpool are playing with such confidence that there is the belief they will always score more than the opposition.’

Weird too that Wright didn’t mention the winter break issue in December, when he said:

“We all sense Liverpool have a great chance of winning the Premier League this season.”

And weird that Wright didn’t mention the winter break issue less than two weeks ago, when he said:

“I still think Liverpool do have a chance in the title race. Remember how many players are missing for Liverpool at the moment. You have to say that Liverpool have got a better chance than others.”

Talk them up for the title when they’re winning, then say “Klopp’s style was always going to struggle” when they struggle. A pundit’s life is an easy one.


Probability 101
After the FA Cup fifth round draw on Monday evening, BBC Sport’s news story contained a section headed ‘Analysis’. And here’s that analysis, from Chris ‘suddenly ubiquitous’ Sutton:

“It’s a brilliant draw for Sutton United. Normally the big Premier League teams get the home draw.”

It’s a random draw, Chris. There’s no ‘normally’ about it.


Data entry
Wonderful work from The Sun in ‘disproving’ Arsene Wenger’s claim that his current attack is the best he’s ever worked with:

1) You’ve only used league statistics. Arsenal don’t only play in the league.

2) You’ve used the players’ all-time statistics as the club. Is it really relevant how Walcott was playing in 2006/07?

3) You’ve chosen Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie and Sylvain Wiltord as the attack to beat. Given that Wiltord had left England before Van Persie even played for Arsenal, it seems an unfair comparison. Why not stick Ian Wright in there too?


Through the Metro filter
The story:

Diego Simeone’s dad has said some things.

The quote:

“He is very comfortable in Madrid. But I think that at some point, a change will come. Italy, England, I don’t know, but it will come. I am with him in waiting a couple more years. He needs weekly work, the match every Sunday. I think between the ages of 50 and 55 he will go to the national team.”

*Through the Metro filter*

The headline:

‘Huge! Diego Simeone’s dad reveals when he will be coming to England’

Or Italy. They literally don’t give a fu…


That’s why Mums go…

Iceland didn’t really happen for Adam Lallana: He didn’t play a part in the game.


Image of the day
‘Even when he spoke ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash with leaders Chelsea, Klopp arrived at Melwood without socks, a pair of Daddy Cool New Balance trainers and jeans rolled up neatly above his ankles. After three savage defeats on the spin at Anfield, most managers would have walked in with their trousers around their ankles’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.

Erm… what?


Misguided opinion of the day
“This is one of the best days of the year. It is like a public holiday. Everybody goes nuts. It is a day like no other” – Sky Sports’ Jim White.


Recommended reading of the day
Adam White and Eric Devin on Paris St Germain.

Michael Cox on Antonio Conte.

Adam Hurrey on David Platt.