When I get older, losing my hair…
Wayne Rooney scored his 249th goal for Manchester United on Saturday; you may have heard about it. It came six weeks after he scored his 248th.
At current rates of scoring goals, Rooney could be reasonably expected to score another four goals this season to take him to 253.
Step forward former Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins (when not saying that Nathan Ake will be “distraught” at the prospect of returning to Chelsea to potentially win a Premier League medal) on Sky Sports News HQ on Monday morning.
“Rooney will get more than 300 goals for Man United.”
He might; if he plays until 2023. When he will be 37. As his contract expires in 2019, we have our doubts. But Wilkins wasn’t finished there…
“He will beat Shearer’s record – he only needs 66 more.”
At current rates of scoring Premier League goals (Rooney has one this season), he could indeed beat Shearer’s total. If he plays Premier League football until the age of 64. Which, to be fair, is a possibility as long as David Moyes is manager of Sunderland.
Merson: A slight return
Obviously you will by now have read Sunday’s extra slice of Mediawatch. Undeterred, Paul Merson was on talkSPORT on Monday morning:
“I’m not having it. You can give me stick on that. There’s enough British managers out there, come on.
“These people, these players, these English people, they go out, they do these badges. They take time, they cost money. You’ve got managers all over the country putting in a shift, starting at the bottom, and then you bring in managers we don’t know.”
They’re “putting in a shift”, you see, “these English people”. Which means they should automatically be given better jobs. Warren Joyce, Nigel Clough, Dean Smith, Mick McCarthy (is he English, Jeff?), all “putting in a shift” at the bottom end of the Championship. And then they bring in managers that Merson (note the ‘we’) DOESN’T KNOW. Who are these people? And what have they done, apart from getting teams promoted and winning titles somewhere other than England.
“He’s won the league at Olympiakos. I’d win the league at Olympiakos.”
Odd, because you know who didn’t win the league at Olympiakos? Zico, that’s who. And Zico had won the Asian Cup, the Turkish league, the Uzbek league and the Russian Cup when he turned up at Olympiakos in 2009. Granted, he had never been sacked by Walsall after recording a 34% win percentage, so he had almost certainly never “put in a shift”.
“Off the top of my head: Why not Thierry Henry? He’s done his badges, he’s a legend in the game, he’s ripped up the Premier League. If he walked into Hull City he’d give them a lift.”
Now Mediawatch would never accuse Paul Merson of losing track of his argument but Thierry Henry is neither a) “putting in a shift, starting at the bottom” nor b) English. Crucially though, Merson has heard of Thierry Henry. Which seems to be his basic argument. Why, oh why, are clubs not appointing people purely from a list of players known to Paul Merson? The idiots.
This, by the way is what Merson ‘wrote’ in the Daily Star last year:
‘George Graham had won titles. But they were going nowhere when Wenger came in. He put Arsenal on the map. They’re known all around the world now.
‘I remember David Dein coming in to tell us about him when he first arrived, saying how we’d got a guy in from Japan from a club we’d never heard of.
‘Then Wenger walks in and we all thought: ‘Who is this? He looks like a schoolteacher’ and when he started speaking he sounded like Inspector Clouseau!
‘But I tell you, within a week players were at training bang on 9am every morning, and they couldn’t wait to get there.’
Oh. So sometimes appointing managers from foreign leagues works? It’s almost like – and this may well blow Merson’s mind when he’s stopped giggling at some people talking funny – not every foreign appointment is exactly the same. And 9am? They really do put a shift in, these English lads.
And so back to Merson on talkSPORT…
“I think there’s enough managers. You know, Gary Rowett, why not him?”
No top-flight managerial experience? No evidence that he was even overlooked? Mediawatch would very much enjoy it if Rowett came out and said: “Hull? Nah, turned it down.” And then comes our favourite part…
“I ain’t doing badges. What’s the point in doing badges? You’ll get a job in League Two, if you’re lucky.”
And then you’ll get a job higher up the divisions if you’re, you know, good.
Oh and even without badges, Merson’s name alone got him a job in the Championship, back when it was called Division One. By the end of the season which finally saw him sacked, Walsall were actually in League Two. They probably didn’t feel lucky.
Luckily, ESPN recently employed Mark Ogden as their Chief Football Writer; without him, we would have little to no knowledge of the existence of time.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi dominance can't last forever https://t.co/aLtPZHXqzH
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) January 9, 2017
Magic quote of the day
“Any broadcaster would say that teams such as Manchester United or Liverpool bring in another audience. Some broadcasters might have bigger commercial pressures than others, but at the BBC our idea is always to balance entertaining as broad an audience as possible with reflecting the broader nature of the competition and the feeling around it. The FA Cup is a big part of what we do. We work hard in trying to get the balance right” – Steve Rudge, the BBC’s head of football.
You need to work harder, fella.
I don’t want to go to Chelsea
Mediawatch had to check the Chelsea score several times after seeing the headline in The Sun:
‘BLUES FAIL B-TEST.’
It turns out that yes, they did win 4-1. But crucially, they won 4-1 in front of The Sun’s devoted West Ham fan Andrew Dillon.
Dillon chooses two particular players as subjects for his dismay at this game which proved that ‘reserves are lacking class’.
First up, Michy Batshuayi, who ‘looked hurried, head down, too selfish and ill-composed’.
GOAL! Michy Batshuayi gets his much-desired goal just before half time. 2-0. pic.twitter.com/uynUzkm1nl
— CFC gifs (@chelskigifs) January 8, 2017
He definitely looks ‘hurried, head down, too selfish and ill-composed’ scoring that goal. And look how ‘hurried, head down, too selfish and ill-composed’ he looked for this assist:
75' Pedro vs Peterborough (4-1) pic.twitter.com/ziysy3IeC7
— FantasticoChelseaFC (@LoveChelseaFC_7) January 8, 2017
Batshuayi’s Dream Team rating, as printed alongside Dillon’s match report: 9/10.
Also picked out by Dillon for criticism is Ruben Loftus-Cheek (8/10); he’s the one providing the assist in that first video. Dillon writes:
‘Loftus-Cheek set up Batshuayi’s goal and enjoyed a solid first half, only to fade later when Chelsea were down to ten and it was all hands to the pumps.’
Time Chelsea went down to ten men: 67.
Time Loftus-Cheek was substituted for Cesar Azpilicueta: 69.
That’s some really bloody quick fading.
Ridiculously convoluted headline of the day
‘Jermain Defoe posts photo with E.T. as Sunderland stand firm that West Ham target will not phone home to return’ – MailOnline.
Recommended reading of the day
Michael Cox on Christian Eriksen being more important than Dele Alli