Mediawatch: Write column first, check facts later

Date published: Wednesday 14th December 2016 8:21

The glorious return of acewatch
‘Ex-Man Utd ace believes this underrated star has surprised Mourinho’ – Metro.

Mediawatch likes Danny Higginbotham and his punditry, but you know the old Chinese proverb: Three starts for a club doth not an ace make.


Stan Collymore: F**king hell
Stan Collymore is a man who likes being noticed, so when Pep Guardiola said his name in his press conference on Tuesday it presumably felt like vindication.
Notoriety truly is the holy grail for a new breed of pundits desperate to be in the headline as much as the byline.

It’s worth pointing out that Guardiola did not actually say that he didn’t know who Collymore was, only that he didn’t understand the question being asked. Anyone interested in learning the full facts before writing a national newspaper column about them (say Stan Collymore, for instance), could easily have done so.

Fact-checking and research? Sounds too much like hard work to us, because facts are for losers. So the Daily Mirror allowed Collymore to continue unabated because clicks, and he ploughed on with a column that told Pep Guardiola exactly who he is. Passing comment on the news is so passé, you see. These days it’s all about passing comment on yourself.

‘It’s fine if Pep Guardiola doesn’t know me – Brian Clough did, rated me highly, and he got his success from scratch.’

‘If Pep doesn’t know who I am, that’s absolutely fine.’

‘I’m comfortable not being known by Pep.’

‘If a manager feels I’m irrelevant, doesn’t know who I am or dismisses me, that’s absolutely fine.’

It’s fine. Definitely fine. Absolutely fine. And that’s why you wrote 421 words about it.


Goodwill to all men
Stan Collymore’s intention may have been to tell Guardiola exactly who he was, but the column was dual-purpose. It also stuck two fingers up at Collymore’s peers, and in particular those who went to the press conference:

‘I had to have a belly laugh at the posts from blogs and websites getting giddy that Pep Guardiola, when asked about my MirrorFootball column, looked puzzled and asked: “Stan Collymore?”.’

He didn’t. You could have checked.

‘They’ve had a field day, gleefully saying “he doesn’t know who you are etc” which, bearing in mind most of these journalists wouldn’t be recognised in their own front room, makes it even funnier.’

That’s it Stan, keep those colleagues on side. Perhaps those journalists pride themselves on getting the news, not being it?

‘And to all of those bloggers and journos laughing in Pep’s press conference today at my expense, I’ve won awards in YOUR industry and have a 15-year playing career to back it up. If Pep genuinely dismisses me, just imagine what he thinks of you!’

Getting loads of Christmas cards just takes up too much space anyway.


The penny drops
By Wednesday morning, Collymore had finally bothered to watch the press conference. So did he:

a) Chastise himself for not spotting this earlier?

b) Attack anyone and everyone else, calling them ‘fucking bullshitters’ and ‘wankers’?

Way to keep all that goodwill, Stan.


A lingering bad taste
Mediawatch doesn’t really blame Collymore for trying to engineer a spat with Guardiola. It’s good for business, after all.

Yet we must ask questions of the Daily Mirror, who were at least complicit in the ‘misunderstanding’ that led to Collymore’s column. While the author seems to have genuinely not realised that Guardiola was not claiming to not know who he was, the Mirror don’t have that excuse.

That’s because their man David Anderson was at Guardiola’s press conference, and included the incident in his piece.

“If it doesn’t work, I will say to Stan Collymore, I will go back to Catalunya and say all the best to Manchester City,” Anderson quotes Guardiola as saying.

Funnily enough, that line was cut from the online version of Anderson’s piece, sitting as it does adjacent to Collymore’s opinion piece. How forgetful of them.

Still, they’ve presumably taken it down now, haven’t they? Rather than leaving it as their third highest story on the football homepage? Oh.


…And as if by magic
‘Stan who? Pep Guardiola gives hilarious bewildered reaction when asked about Collymore criticism in Manchester City press conference’ – MailOnline.

That’s just a lie, isn’t it guys?


Dier straights
‘Bayern eye ousted Dier’ reads the Times headline on Tuesday morning.

We can’t help thinking that Matt Hughes has been stitched up by the headline there; Dier has started 11 Premier League games and five out of six in the Champions League for Tottenham this season.


Re-writing history
Readers of Tuesday’s Mediawatch will remember the Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman defending Loris Karius’ comments about Gary Neville:

‘From a 50-minute interview, that part took up about 35 seconds. Karius was not animated or emotional. He just answered the question… Karius was just being a grown-up. He was just having a conversation with a tape recorder running.’

Mediawatch agrees that attacking any player for defending himself publicly is a) unfair and b) foolish in an age of anodyne soundbites, but couldn’t quite accept the defence that Karius’ comments could be subsequently played down by the Daily Mail.

Mediawatch made an extra discovery on Tuesday: The Mail actually altered Karius’ quotes.

Here are the quotes in that original piece by Tuesday evening:

‘What critics say right after the game, I don’t know what I think. If you asked them again would they say it now? And I don’t care what Gary Neville said. He was a top player, then he was a manager for a short bit and now he is back to being an expert again. But he is always very critical.’

And here are the quotes in that same piece last week. Spot the difference:

‘What critics say right after the game, I don’t know what I think. If you asked them again would they say it now? And I don’t care what Gary Neville said. He was a manager for a short bit and now he is back to being an expert again. But he is always very critical.’

Suddenly Karius calling Neville a ‘top player’ has magically appeared.

‘So here is the bit where we stand up for him,’ Ladyman wrote on Tuesday. ‘Here is the bit where we provide some context. I conducted the interview with the young German last week. Twenty minutes in, I asked him about Neville and Karius responded.

‘This is what he said: “I don’t care what Gary Neville said. He was a top player, then he was a manager for a short bit and now he is back to being an expert again. He is always very critical. I think he does it to everyone. I just hope that when I do well he will comment on that. We will see in the future.”’

That is exactly what Karius said. It’s just that your newspaper waited five days to put it in the piece.


One of these things is not like the other
In The Sun, Danny Higginbotham picks his top five tacklers from the Premier League era. Mediawatch wasn’t surprised that all five played for Manchester United (Higginbotham is a United fan), but one name did stick out.

Paul Ince? Yep. Roy Keane? Sure. Jaap Stam? Oh yes. Nemanja Vidic? Why not. Ryan Giggs? Of cours… erm, what?

Ryan Giggs is better at tackling than every non-Manchester United Premier League player of the last 25 years. It’s quite the statement.


Please release me
Shout out to The Sun for bringing us an XI of players Jose Mourinho ‘released’ when he was Chelsea manager. It includes Romelu Lukaku, Andre Schurrle, Kevin de Bruyne, Juan Mata, Felipe Luis, David Luiz, Petr Cech, Robert Huth and Ryan Bertrand, who were sold for a combined £163m.

That’s not how being released works, guys.


Headline of the day
‘Sunderland v Chelsea: Blues handed chance to increase lead over Arsenal’ – Metro.

Yep, that’s how football matches work.


Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Gray on Ayr United fans

Jonathan Liew on the question of too much football

Adam Bate on the changing face of scouting

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