Bad, bad news for Jose Mourinho. Already under pressure after a start to the season that has left them already five points behind Manchester City after a summer of spending, how could things possibly get worse? We will leave it to The Sun to explain…
‘THE pressure on Jose Mourinho to deliver trophies has been intensified after confirmation Manchester United have the most expensive-acquired squad in football.’
He must be fuming; the last thing he bloody needed was some boffins in Switzerland doing some adding-up. Before they came along with their calculators, we had no idea he had spent a penny.
The Sun’s Justin Allen has been to China. The Sun’s Justin Allen has been to China to conduct a SUN INVESTIGATION of Chinese football. Why? Well, frankly we don’t have a clue. But what we do know is that he really, really doesn’t like China.
The piece is so riddled with stereotypes and sweeping generalisations that we are a tad surprised that it is not accompanied by a video of Allen doing the ‘Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees…’ song.
Here are our ‘favourite’ lines:
* ‘The Land of the Dragon seems to be full of lazy, jealous Chinese footballers and vastly overpaid millionaire mercenaries strolling about in half-empty stadiums.’
* ‘The Chinese come across as lazy generally – surely a by-product of a communist regime that has ruled their land since 1949.’
* ‘For years, their government has done and thought everything for them. Only here have I seen people shamelessly sleeping on the job … like two workers at an airport help desk in the city of Changchun in the middle of the afternoon in full view of passengers.’
* ‘Hulk would probably get away with driving one along the pavements here as it is a daily hazard for pedestrians to avoid being hit by mopeds speeding along pathways. But even that is not as shocking as hearing people clearing their throats from the pollution by spitting into the street.’
* ‘But they certainly swap flocking to their noodle cafes for the Camel Sports Bar in Shanghai to watch Premier League football.’
They probably get a rickshaw, the lazy, lazy b***ards.
Lazy when I’m hatin’…
Other revelations from Allen’s INVESTIGATION include the shock that ‘the gulf in quality between the permitted five foreign imports and six Chinese players in each team was embarrassing’. Thanks Woodward. And that ‘in Shanghai – China’s biggest city with a population of 24million – Sven Goran Eriksson’s SIPG average just 25,346 fans…meaning their 56,842-seater stadium is 55 per cent empty’.
Astonishingly, a league launched only 12 years ago and only handed serious investment last year is not as firmly established as the Premier League. Presumably because they’re lazy.
What Allen does not mention – oddly enough – is that SIPG were only formed in 2006, were only promoted into the Chinese Super League in 2013 and have increased their average attendance from 10,161 in just three seasons. That sounds an awful lot like a success story to us.
It doesn’t take a great deal of investigation to find that average attendances across the Chinese Super League have more than doubled in the last ten years. Personally we think that Justin Allen comes across as lazy generally.
No Pep in his step
Duncan Castles loves Jose Mourinho. Duncan 4 Jose. S.W.A.L.K.
So Mediawatch should not be surprised that Duncan Castles has sought to cast aspersions on Pep Guardiola and his training methods. They might have won him six league titles in his last seven seasons of management, but they will not win him the Premier League. Oh no.
‘Pep Guardiola over-trains and over-stretches his players – his methods could cost Man City the title’ it says here on the Daily Mirror website.
There is far too much nonsense to document here – though let’s take a second for ‘how Guardiola elects to deal with this new challenge may determine whether the favourites for the title claim it or not. His record at Bayern bodes poorly’ and then remember that Guardiola won three of three titles on offer in Germany – but here is the very last line:
‘One of the key questions of this Premier League season is whether that perfectionism will carry Manchester City to the title, or allow someone else to keep it out of the hands of the division’s most capable squad. Will Guardiola’s many positives outweigh the negatives? Or will English football force him to find another way to win?’
A reminder: They have lost one game. One sodding game. His current way is probably okay.
Kit’s a knock-out
We know it’s international week because the MailOnline are inviting us to ‘meet Pep Guardiola’s trusted 16-man Manchester City entourage who are helping the Spaniard launch a Premier League title assault’. They obviously didn’t get the memo that it’s all over because of the Spaniard’s training methods. Silly Mail.
Mediawatch certainly feels like we now know kit manager Alistair Marland very well after reading that ‘Marland was at the club during Pellegrini’s time at the club but has been retained by Guardiola to make sure all the players’ kit is ready in the dressing room before training sessions and first-team matches’.
Presented almost without comment, is this from the MailOnline’s sports pages:
‘Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and women’s striker Toni Duggan shared an awkward moment when they turned up to a photoshoot dressed the same.
‘Duggan took to Instagram to let fans know of the wardrobe malfunction, captioning the photo: ‘When you turn up for a Photoshoot dressed the same as the Gaffa…#AllBlackEverything #PepKnows’.
‘Guardiola and Duggan clearly forgot to communicate about their clothing arrangements when they woke up as they are both seen wearing a long black top and black trousers.
‘While Duggan appears to be amused by the clothing situation, Guardiola is clearly not impressed and is seen staring the City striker down with a blank face.
‘This rookie mistake comes after Guardiola’s City were beaten for the first time this season on Sunday at White Hart Lane. This isn’t the way to lift the spirit for the Spanish manager.’
Poor Pep. It’s the last thing he needed at a time when his methods are threatening to cost Manchester City the title.
I’ve got the power
The news about Pep Guardiola possibly needing to find another way to win has not reached the Daily Telegraph either. They place Pep Guardiola at No. 2 in their list of ‘The 50 most powerful people in English football’. Even though he’s only been here two minutes. Only Richard Scudamore is more powerful, apparently. It’s almost like it’s made-up nonsense designed to fill international week.
Other take-aways from the list:
* Failed manager and excellent pundit Gary Neville is more powerful than Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and super-agent Mino Raiola. In fact, only ten people are more powerful in English football than a man who recently resigned as England’s assistant manager.
* The FA’s chief executive Martin Glenn – who has just ousted the England manager and will head the quest to replace him – is less powerful than David Beckham.
* Quite good striker Harry Kane is marginally less powerful than Kia Joorabchian and marginally more powerful than David Gill, who is a vice-president on the new Fifa Council – what was once the Fifa executive committee – and sits on the Uefa executive committee. Naturally.
* Marcus Rashford (18) is more powerful than ‘the most powerful woman in football’, Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman Marina Granovskaia. All she does is control the finances of one of the world’s richest clubs, after all.
* It’s international week and this is sh*t.
Is Gareth Southgate the lamest England manager ever?https://t.co/f0GVGwKfUY
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) October 5, 2016
We get it, Daily Telegraph, we really do. We understand that it’s a difficult climate for newspapers, and that website traffic is king. We understand that in order for you to drive that traffic you do galleries of countdowns that people may find interesting. We understand that you want to appear controversial, to provoke opinion. ‘Online debate,’ didn’t you call it?
It’s just here’s the thing. This stinks. As a newspaper you employ people with opinions, but also have a duty to uphold some standards, certainly if you want to continue that reputation as a proper, serious paper.
English football, and particular being the manager of its national team, is sometimes a thankless task. Many have dug their own graves, and your own reporting has recently played a strong role in that area. But to be so flippantly rude and condescending about England’s new manager is appalling.
Yes yes, we get it. It was ‘just banter’. Just a lovely bit of lovely banter. Throw in some stuff about a Pizza Hut advert and Southgate’s choice of drinks (yes, actually), and then call him ‘lame’. Sit back and enjoy the clicks and the outrage, all still fuelled by that delicious banter. (What even is ‘lame’? Are you 14, describing having to tidy your room at the behest of your parents. Are you arguing with a friend who refuses to stay out past their curfew?)
The thing is, and this shouldn’t be a newsflash, you’re not a silly little blog. You’re one of the most prominent newspapers in the country. This sh*t actually sticks. It actually matters. We’re not blaming the writer in any way for this, because the change in tone is too obvious, too deliberate to be anything other than an editorial shift.
Of course the Telegraph can continue to print what they like, free press and all that jazz. But the next time someone from that newspaper moans about the homogenisation of football clubs and the lack of access to players beyond regurgitated, scripted propaganda lines, ask them why.
If they have any sense, the genuinely excellent writers that the Telegraph possess will be as annoyed as anyone at this kind of willfully inflammatory editorial style, surely making it a counterproductive strategy. Now that really is ‘lame’…
Football story of the day
‘England players baffled by questions during quiz night organised by Big Sam’ – MailOnline. Insight.