More classic back page headlines

From the ever-excellent Football365’s Mediawatch section:

When Mediawatch saw Pep Guardiola’s comments about Jack Wilshere, we sighed and knew, just knew, that the tabs would run around screaming and wettting their pants like little boys who’d had too much Capri Sun.

For the record, Pep said (in his second or third language, note): “Wilshere is a top player. He is an excellent player, not just Arsenal, but also for the national team. [But] he is lucky because we have many players in the second team like him but he plays because there is no pressure at his club to win titles.”

This was said – as the papers well know – in the context of the pressure being so great at Barca to compete with Real Madrid that it’s not as easy to blood players as young as Wilshere in their first team.

But, even after Pep praised Wilshere’s qualities no less than four times even in that short passage, the coverage in the tabs ranges from the given, with The Daily Star opting for the headline ‘JACK BOOT: WE’VE GOT BETTER PLAYERS IN OUR RESERVES’, the expected, as The Daily Mail go with the headline ‘SECOND RATE: GUARDIOLA TELLS WILSHERE HE’D ONLY MAKE THE BARCA RESERVES’ to the hilarious, with The Sun’s self-appointed European Football Correspondent Antony Kastrinakis claiming Pep offered a ‘jibe’ at Wilshere and ‘taunted’ the young man.


Not entirely convincing

Flicking through the Daily Mail today I couldn’t miss the double-page spread hailing ‘King Xavi’ (a very talented Spanish footballer). I also immediately recalled a very unflattering jibe made by the Mail about Xavi a couple of years ago, such a prominent jibe that even the Daily Mail thought they had better try to acknowledge it. This must be the first time I have seen the Mail actually acknowledge that they have previously said something completely contradictory or stupid – just a shame it is a insignificant football story, rather than say the MMR jab scare that they fuelled and then pretended that they had not said anything about. Here is what they did, they tucked away this little gem in the corner of the double-page spread:


As was pointed out at the time of the original Mail headline, Xavi was one of the best footballers in the world in 2009 – the Mail trying to claim he was merely an ’emerging talent’ at the time is laughable. As Football365 point out:

Woah there, fellas. An ’emerging talent’?

For the record, the then-28-year-old Xavi had appeared approximately 300 times for Barcelona in La Liga, which he had won three times. He also had a Champions League winner’s medal and the small matter of a Euro 2008 triumph under his belt. Oh and he had been named Player of the Tournament after Euro 2008 and then appeared in both FIFA and UEFA’s Teams of the Year.

It would have probably been better had they just kept quiet about the previous headline, rather than make themselves look stupid by trying to crudely revise history in the face of overwhelming evidence.


From the excellent Football365 Mediawatch page today:

Lazy? Part One
You may have spotted a story doing the rounds about some betting shenanigans in the Newcastle v Arsenal game that seems to have originated from a French TV station.

Several news outlets picked it up, but many pooh-poohed it. Such as The Daily Mirror’s John Cross, who Tweeted this morning:

‘Twitter fueled (sic) a story last night which I believe is false. Wonder if Tweeters who go on about lazy journalism bothered to check it first.’

Well, as it turns out, these Tweeters didn’t have to go far in order to ‘check it first’. As far as The Daily Mirror website, in fact, who report:

‘Interpol is allegedly investigating claims that Saturday’s dramatic 4-4 draw between Newcastle and Arsenal was rigged.’

Lazy indeed.

Lazy? Part Two
And speaking of Mr Cross – he was in charge of The Daily Mirror’s Chelsea v Liverpool player ratings

About John Obi Mikel he wrote: ‘Sloppy in possession, did nothing going forward and constantly gave the ball away.’

According to Opta, Mikel attempted 55 passes in his 71 minutes on the pitch – 52 of which reached their destination. That’s a pass completion rate of 95%.

So to take each of Cross’s three criticisms in order – not true, that’s not his job, and not true. Other than that, all valid stuff.

Who were you saying was lazy, old chap?

I am aware that I am also lazy for the quick copy and paste effort.

‘The Mail is an irony-free zone’

The Daily Mail’s back pages seem to have started highlighting young footballers who should be playing for England, but the articles are a bit odd to say the least as Football365’s Mediawatch has pointed out for the last two days. It started yesterday with this:

The Daily Mail are on fine form this morning.

Page 85 announces, in evocative language designed to appeal to the people that still think World War II is still going on; ‘Mainz Man Who Was Allowed To Escape By England’.

The man in question is 20-year-old Lewis Holtby, the kid who those bemoaning the state of youth development in England have decided is Zidane, Garrincha and Di Stefano rolled into one.

Scribe Michael Walker writes: ‘Holtby’s father, Chris, is English. Even though Holtby is Germany’s Under-21 captain, that should have made ears prick at the Football Association before now.’

Mediawatch wonders why The Mail is getting so worked up about this.

Lewis Holtby was born in Germany, has lived all his life in Germany, plays his club football in Germany having been brought through the German system, captains Germany’s Under 21 team and wants to play for Germany. Quite why there should even be discussion about spiriting him away to play for England is a mystery.

A quick confession, before The Mail’s lawyers find out our phone number – that last paragraph was taken entirely from a column written by Mail chief sports writer Martin Samuel on September 28.

Samuel went on to write: ‘Holtby is German and it would be outrageous to attempt to poach him now. In many ways, pursuit of Holtby by the Football Association would be more of an insult than the ultimately fruitless dance around Arteta.’

Well, quite.

As The Mail is an irony-free zone, they no doubt saw no problem with the piece on the page facing the Holtby nonsense, which was headlined ‘Give Our Kids A Chance’.

And today the Mail was at it again:

The Daily Mail’s campaign for the future of English football continues apace.

This morning, they are outraged at the downright negligence of the FA with regards to a kid called Eric Dier. No, us neither.

Dier is a 16-year-old English kid currently playing in Portugal after his parents moved there to work on Euro 2004.

And scribe Alex Kay is baffled as to why emissaries haven’t been sent abroad to butter up this lad: ‘The only problem is that no-one from the FA has ever been in touch with Dier. He must be worth a look.’

Dier has played twice for the Sporting Lisbon under-19s, and has thus far got nowhere near the first team. The only reason the Mail – or anyone, really – has even heard of Dier is because made a recent appearance in an Umbro advert.

As usual even if you are not interested in Football the Mediawatch page of Football365 is well worth reading for examples of terrible journalism and much more.


From Football 365’s MediaWatch section today (a must read for fans of this blog):

Those newspapers who do not have Harry Redknapp on their payroll had to scratch around for an angle on Tottenham’s Champions League draw. And scratch around they did…

Opening paragraph in the Daily Star: ‘Peter Crouch’s wish was granted last night when he was handed the chance to take revenge on Rafa Benitez.’

Opening paragraph in the Daily Express: ‘Peter Crouch received his wish last night – and the chance to take revenge on Rafa Benitez.’

Headline in the Daily Mail: ‘I’ll make you pay, Rafa! Tottenham striker Peter Crouch on revenge mission to knock out old boss Benitez in Champions League.’

So will that be the same revenge-filled Peter Crouch who said on leaving Liverpool two years ago: “I have no grudge against the manager [Rafa Benitez]. When he started playing one up front he was always going to play Torres and it was not something that I had any qualms about. But when he played two up front I felt myself and Torres were a good combination. He didn’t seem to want to do that but I bear no grudges – it was his decision. And obviously my memories of my time at Liverpool are fantastic. What a great club to have played for. I have got only fond memories of my time there.”

My word, he’ll be fired up…

Good to see that the Daily Mail seems to be the worst out of a line-up including the Daily Star and Express and the only one to go with an utterly invented headline.

The Sun’s inventive back page

Readers of Football365’s Mediawatch section will be aware of just how much stuff on the back pages of newspapers is utter fiction, but one example struck me recently as pretty breathtaking: ‘Carlos Tevez in Euro taunt at Manchester United‘. The opening line of the article claims that:

CARLOS TEVEZ says winning the Europa League with Manchester City would match his Champions League triumph with United.

Except he doesn’t say anything even vaguely similar to this. The article quotes Tevez talking about the possibility of winning the Europa League and claims that ‘Tevez insists a Euro success with City will rank alongside that famous night in Moscow’, but what he actually says is:

My hope is that I win something with Manchester City.

I want to win here just as I did with Manchester United.

That is what we are here for. I would love to do it.

All the games are important and all competitions are very important.

But the manager has made it clear how important the Europa League is.

So the headline, the introduction and the repetition that Tevez ‘insists’ that winning the Europa League would match winning the Champion’s League is a complete fabrication – Tevez does not even mention the Champion’s League.

This is fairly typical of back-page journalism, headlines stating that one manager has ‘blasted’ another, that one player wants to move somewhere and so forth are almost entirely fictional. I guess when you get used to the deception and lies that newspapers think they can get away with on the front page, you can imagine just how bad the back page is.

Mike Phelps

I know that Tabloid Watch has already covered this, but I’ll just stick this picture here to prove to any doubters just what a shit rag the Daily Mail is:

Daily Mail letter
Click to Enlarge

And also point out the heading that the Daily Mail decided to add: ‘Now here’s an idea’, which is essentially stamping an big seal of approval on the letter. Another suggestion to help Mike and other concerned Daily Mail readers avoid having to watch awful foreigners and black people on their TV is that they could turn off the TV or stab themselves in both eyes with a fork.

I’d even be willing to pay for the forks.

The Misery of the Daily Mail

With all the faux-outrage over the mythical banning of England shirts and flags you’d think the Daily Mail would be behind one school’s plans to close early on June 23rd so that students can make it home in time for the 3pm kick-off. But they’re not: ‘School to close early … so the pupils can watch England play‘:

A school has angered parents by revealing plans to close early to allow pupils to watch a World Cup game.

Headmaster Neil Strowger has agreed to shorten lessons and bring forward a GCSE exam to enable his 1,200 pupils to get home in time for kickoff.

The controversial decision was taken after a request from pupils who are given a say in the running of their school through its Student Voice.

This is why it annoys me when politicians or anyone else tries to make decisions that will please the likes of the Daily Mail: it is a fruitless and pointless task. If the school had told 1,200 pupils they could not leave early to watch the game the Daily Mail would no doubt have attacked the school for ‘crushing patriotism’ or ‘English culture’. Yet, if the school shortens lessons and works to meet both the educational needs of the students and their desire to finish early for one day of the school year to watch an England match then they get outraged over that. Considering the World Cup is only every four years it really is a pathetic attack from the Daily Mail.

Naturally the Daily Mail get a quote from rent-a-gobshite Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education (who, like all organisations run by half-wits have a terrible website): ‘This is totally irresponsible. Schools have a responsibility to operate as normal unless there are exceptional circumstances that require them to close.’ Parents are also angry because they claim ‘that they are being forced to sort out unnecessary childcare arrangements’; even though the headmaster has clearly stated that ‘the school plans to run activities for pupils requiring supervision due to parents’ work commitments’.

All in all it seems like a sensible decision, lessons are 5 minutes shorter and one exam is being slightly brought forward. Students still attend the same amount of lessons and if their parents cannot pick them up or be at home to receive them at that time then the school has activities and supervision arranged. Those that can get home can support England in a world cup that comes around once every four years (assuming that they even qualify). Considering how the Mail constantly lambastes the ‘nanny state’, the lack of ‘common sense’, the health and safety ‘killjoys’ and the PC brigade sucking all the fun out of childhood and life in general you’d think they’d be really supportive of this decision.

But no, because the Daily Mail’s job is to criticise everything irrespective of whether, logically, they should really be writing a positive article.