Mediawatch: You can’t leave your hat on

Date published: Tuesday 10th November 2015 1:24

‘It isn’t just us’ continental Mediawatch entry of the day
Congratulations to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, who claim that Memphis Depay wearing a hat proves that he doesn’t care what national team manager Danny Blind thinks.

Which raises the important question: Are hats the new ‘hippy crack’?


You can tell it’s international break when…
…the headline on the top of the MailOnline‘s football homepage is: ‘Rooney lays the smackdown! England captain slaps 6ft 7in WWE beast in the face after wrestler insults United star in front of his son.’

While Depay is criticised for wearing a hat, Rooney is being applauded for enjoying the lycra-clad theatre of wrestling. We miss the football already.

‘Wayne Rooney theatrically slapped a brash 6ft 7in WWE superstar in front of thousands of fans during a ringside stand-off last night,’ the ‘story’ begins. ‘The Manchester United and England captain hit Briton Wade Barrett at the Manchester Arena after the wrestler trash-talked him.’

I mea… But it… How is thi… Oh we give up.

‘The pair have previous after Preston fan Wade criticised the striker for diving to win a penalty in a FA Cup defeat,’ is the final one of the MailOnline’s five introductory bullet points. At least that mock-seriousness made us laugh.

Rooney didn’t even scream “f**k off” in the referee’s face at any point. That’s wrestling’s problem; if you’re not going to make it realistic, don’t bother.


Counting the (imaginary) cost
Charles Sale is angry. He has a ‘Sports Agenda’ in the Daily Mail, and he’s angry. He’s not Charlie, he’s Charles. And he’s angry. ‘FA stun kids with £1,000 pitch bill,’ reads his angry headline.

‘The FA, who are culling more than 100 jobs to save £30million a year for coaching and facility priorities, quoted a price of over £1,000 for a youth team to hire a pitch for just two hours at St George’s Park,’ Sale begins.

‘The Under 15 side who made the enquiry for using the national football centre facilities on December 3 were not only asked to pay £480 an hour for an outdoor 3G pitch that had no floodlights but also a further £40 or £60 depending on whether they wanted a standard or elite changing room. [This is] the astonishing cost for a young football team when the FA are attempting to grow the game.’

Sale could indeed consider us astonished by that price, were that the end of the story. But it isn’t. For we shall now hear from an FA spokesperson.

“The prices quoted were for elite team use of the facilities on the basis it was not clear the booking was for a grassroots team,” they said. “We have responded with the correct prices. Since opening, St George’s Park has had over 1,400 grassroots clubs use its facilities with local teams having community rate access from £30 per hour.”

So actually the initial application failed to mention that it was for a grassroots team, hence the slight confusion. If they had done, the quote would have reduced from £480 per hour to somewhere around £30 per hour. Which is far cheaper than your average five-a-side fee.

Mediawatch supposes that ‘grassroots coach sends unclear email’ wasn’t quite worthy of making Sale’s column.


Explosive, west coast s**t
Last week, Charlie Wyett in The Sun worried about ‘Roy Hodgson’s England plans being torn apart by injuries to THIRTEEN of his squad,’ wrote Wyett.

If anything, he undersold it. In the Daily Telegraph, Mark Ogden has taken things further. Much further.

‘Explosion in number of injuries wreaks havoc for England,’ is the headline. So if you heard a loud bang, you know what it was; a bloody explosion wreaking havoc.

‘The talent pool at Hodgson’s disposal has been diminished even further by the injury list which, at the end of the weekend’s fixtures, left 37 English players consigned to the treatment room,’ Ogden writes.

In fact, Ogden only notes 10 names of interest. That’s presumably because even he accepts that Hodgson couldn’t give many flying ones about the likes of Lee Cattermole, Matt Jarvis, Dwight Gayle and Gabby Agbonlahor, Marc Pugh, Tommy Elphick, Tony Hibbert, Steven Taylor and various others who are nowhere near the England squad but injured.

Of those Ogden does mention, there is Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, as well as long-term absentees Luke Shaw, Danny Ings, Fraser Forster and Ben Foster. Mediawatch isn’t sure any of those will come as any huge surprise to Hodgson. That’s sort of why he’s picked alternative players.

England’s starting team (for two mid-season friendlies) could feasibly be: Hart, Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Gibbs, Barkley, Sterling, Delph, Rooney, Kane, Vardy. The likes of Carrick, Alli, Dier, Bertrand, Stones, Lallana and Jones must make do with a place on the bench.

If ‘havoc’ is being ‘wreaked’, at least it’s doing it quietly.


Stretching the point
‘Jose Mourinho feels too many of his players are under-performing and is planning a January cull,’ begins a piece in The Sun. ‘But the Special One might look at the players he has let go since he returned to Stamford Bridge – and wonder whether he would have done better keeping hold of a few of them.’

Two things:

1) Can we please stop the ‘Special One’ moniker now? It was over 11 years ago.

2) The Sun’s list includes Tomas Kalas, David Luiz (they got £50m), Filipe Luis (who was dreadful and on whom they got most of their money back), Mo Salah (who was dire) and Oriol Romeu. That’s stretching the point a little.


‘Arsenal are keen on signing Real Madrid striker Jese Rodriguez, according to reports in Spain. AS claim the Gunners will have the chance to sign the 22-year-old as he wants to leave Madrid due to a lack of first-team opportunities’ – Daily Mirror.

‘In England, the tabloid Daily Mirror puts the ’20’ white [Jese Rodriguez] on Arsene Wenger’s list to strengthen the Gunners in the winter’ – AS.

To me, to you.


Party line
With the Daily Mail’s ex-pro writers (Martin Keown, Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher) – labelled ‘Sportsmail’s three wise men’ – all picking their top five players of the season so far, Mediawatch wondered whether Mesut Ozil would merit a mention. Redknapp and Keown preferred Jack Butland and Toby Alderweireld among others but, lo and behold, Carragher has picked Ozil. Fair play.

Carragher also adds a line of praise to each nomination to explain their selection. Dimitri Payet gets ‘signing of the season’ and David Silva ‘I can’t forget how good he was’, for example. Ozil’s line? ‘Chasing an assist record but he frustrates me as he can do so much more to influence a game’.

One of the top five players of the season, but still only worthy of criticism. Back on track.


Investigation in progress
‘Graeme Souness putting down fellow Sky pundit Thierry Henry by snapping ‘I’m talking’, when the Frenchman tried to interrupt his post-match analysis of the Arsenal-Spurs draw might have something to do with Henry earning £4m a year while Souness takes home six figures’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.

Or it could be because he’s Graeme Souness.


Dann! Dann! Dann!
‘England manager Roy Hodgson missing a trick in ignoring Scott Dann’ – The Guardian’s (and Crystal Palace fan) Dom Fifield, November 9.

‘Dann has got the lot, so why no call-up from Roy?’ – The Daily Mail’s (and Crystal Palace fan) Neil Ashton, November 10.

Consistent at least.


That went well
‘[Swansea chairman] Huw Jenkins convinced Michu to sign a new contract with the Swans that runs until 2016 in January as reward for the 27-year-old’s impressive start to life in England. And as part of that deal, Jenkins believes he has an agreement with Michu that Swansea can ­demand £25m from any interested rivals’ – Daily Mirror, August 2013.

‘Swansea have paid Michu, 29, around £500,000 to leave the club. The striker has agreed a settlement for his £40,000-a-week contract’ – The Sun.

Nice to Michu. Nicer to see you go.


Optimistic paragraph of the day
‘Dann, along with fellow defenders Joel Ward and Martin Kelly, plus forwards Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha, are continually passed over’ – Neil Ashton, Daily Mail.

The point on Dann is valid, although John Stones, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Phil Jagielka (and probably Eric Dier) are all ahead of him in the queue. Heading into an international year and after a qualifying campaign during which England conceded fewer goals than all bar one country, Hodgson’s faith is understandable.

As for the rest, come on. Zaha has started 38 Premier League games in two-and-a-half seasons and been given two England caps. And who do you drop for Jason Puncheon? As for calling for both Palace full-backs to be included…


Advice of the day
On Monday afternoon, Phil Brown on Talksport advised Liverpool to change ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to something more upbeat to improve the atmosphere at Anfield.

Mediawatch has only just stopped smiling.


Least surprising news of the day
Kieron Dyer will be in the new series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.


Recommended reading of the day:
Sid Lowe on David Moyes

Huw Davies on how misplaced xenophobia is damaging English football

David Squires on football and Rememberance Day


Thanks to today’s Mediawatch spotter Steven Hunt and Alex Lancaster. If you see anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.

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