Phil Neville could be the new Guardiola or Dalglish…

Date published: Thursday 25th January 2018 12:06

Did you go to school?

If so, you probably learned how to spell words by breaking them down into components. How do you spell ‘disgusting’? Dis-gust-ing. How do you spell ‘fabulous’? Fab-u-lous.

Mediawatch knows this elementary technique (tech-nique) and did not consider itself in possession of any kind of special knowledge. Until we clicked on, who promise us this:

‘The secret way of remembering how to spell Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang’s names’

It turns out that the ‘secret way’ to spell those tricky names ‘lies simply in breaking them down into bite-sized chunks’. You don’t f***ing say.

‘For Mkhitaryan, the best way to do it is “Mk-hit-a-ryan“. If it helps, just think of someone considering – and then granting – your request to punch one of your friends named Ryan. “Mmmk; hit a ryan.”‘

If that helps, you are probably a moron.

‘As for Aubameyang, it breaks down as “Auba-me-yang” – or “Au-bam-e-yang” if you need it to be more segmented. The latter is just a slowed down version of how his name is actually pronounced, while the former sounds a bit like a Cockney bloke talking about how drunk he was last night.’

Now Mediawatch is not Cockney (small mercies) but no, it really does not. And your ‘secret’ advice is to slow down how the name is pronounced? LIKE YOU WERE TAUGHT WHEN YOU WERE SIX.

Our favourite part of the whole article (written by the site’s Deputy Editor as this is no job for amateurs) is this final line:

‘Got a better way to remember their names? Let us know in the comments below.’

There are no comments so presumably Kevin Beirne is pretty damn pleased with himself.


Baby, you can drive my car
Mediawatch sympathises because we too have spent every day since Monday mourning the loss of traffic generated by the prospect of the transfer of Alexis Sanchez. So the challenge is obviously to keep ‘Sanchez’ in a headline somehow. See yesterday’s Mediawatch for our own example.

Which is presumably how the Mirror arrive here:

‘How the value of Alexis Sanchez’s car compares to entire Yeovil squad’s vehicles ahead of Manchester United match’

SPOILER: It is more.

‘It is when you compare Sanchez’s car to the vehicles of the the Yeovil Town players that you realise the true difference in levels between United and the League Two minnows.’

Yes, that is traditionally the true test, once you have discounted league position, performance, wages, international caps, social media presence and the size of their actual knobs.


Sanchez Sanchez Sanchez
‘Sanchez takes tour of five-bedroom Greater Manchester mansion worth £2m – that comes with its own piano room – after signing £350,000-a-week deal (and it’s down the road from Chile pal Bravo)’ – MailOnline.

‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Alexis Sanchez arrive back at Lowry Hotel after Red Devils’ new boy views plush £2m mansion’ – MailOnline.

Because the one thing we were left wondering after the first story is exactly where Alexis Sanchez went next. The shocking answer: The place he is currently staying.


Mr Right
Now Mediawatch broadly agrees with the Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton that the tweets sent by Phil Neville should not preclude him from a job within the FA. They were silly but they were not malicious and an apology should be just about enough.

But to state that Neville ‘is clearly a good coach’ in an article headlined ‘Why Neville is the right man to lead England’s women’ exhibits exactly the kind of ‘jobs for the boys’ attitude that is so infuriating to those of us outside said club.

As Jonathan Liew writes in The Independent:

‘Neville’s coaching CV, features, in order of prominence: a role in the most disastrous Manchester United season of recent times, a role in one of the most disastrous Valencia half-seasons of recent times, and a 2-1 win for Salford over Kendal Town, for which Neville took caretaker charge with Paul Scholes.’

It doesn’t sound like he is ‘clearly a good coach’. Unless Kendal Town are notoriously hard to break down.

Neville might be a roaring success with the England women’s team – we wish him luck – but we have absolutely no clue at all that he is the ‘right man’. It is a guess based on the fact that he seems a nice, self-deprecating man and he has been successful on the football pitch.

Lawton writes:

‘Some object to the fact that Neville did not apply for the job. Nor did Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.’

Woah there, fella. Ferguson may not have applied for the job at Manchester United but nine trophies in eight years managing Aberdeen made him a very, very viable candidate. That’s rather different to a man with limited coaching experience and zero coaching success being offered the job of coaching the third-ranked international women’s team. Very different indeed.

‘Complaints about Neville’s lack of managerial experience when being given such a high-profile job should also be challenged. Was the same fuss made last week when Ryan Giggs was appointed by Wales?”

Yes. Where the hell have you been hiding?

‘Or when the Welsh turned to Mark Hughes or Gary Speed?’

Well, when the Welsh turned to Mark Hughes in 1999 they were barely in the top 100 of FIFA’s world rankings. It was not a high-profile job outside of Wales. Which more qualified coach would have taken that job?

Similarly, Wales were again at a low ebb – now outside of the top 100 – when they turned to Gary Speed in 2010. They were desperate for youth after a particularly miserable spell under John Toshack.

To repeat: England’s women (not girls) are ranked No. 3 in the world.

‘The Dutch appointed a 36-year-old Frank Rijkaard as manager despite his only previously having been as assistant, and he guided their national team to the semi-finals of Euro 2000.’

And that was an achievement so magnificent that Rijkaard – who had assisted the previous manager – immediately resigned after the game, saying: “I set myself one goal when I started as national coach and that was winning the European Championship.”

Lawton has yet more examples (of men taking over men’s teams):

‘Franz Beckenbauer didn’t do too badly when his Germany side won the 1990 World Cup in his first managerial appointment, and Pep Guardiola, Kenny Dalglish and Fabio Capello also demonstrated that giving a major job to a rookie is a gamble that sometimes pays off handsomely.’

Couple of small things: Beckenbauer did indeed win the World Cup – six years after his appointment, and he had to survive a humiliating semi-final exit at the hands of the Netherlands at Euro 88 when many fans wanted him gone. This was no instant success story.

And we really do not need to detail here the achievements of Guardiola, Dalglish and Capello both on and off the pitch as both players and coaches at the clubs they then took over. The crucial part of that sentence is ‘at the clubs they then took over’; their playing and coaching experience was relevant to the actual job.

Use them as (ridiculous) examples of why Neville is the right man to lead Manchester United by all means, but do not tell us he is the ‘right man to lead England’s women’ when you frankly have no clue.


Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Liew on Phil Neville
Jonathan Wilson on Antonio Conte and Chelsea
Neil Wood celebrates crap knee slides

Andre Agassi exclusive: Women can accomplish whatever they want. (Tennis365)

More Related Articles