Panic on the streets of West Bromwich
‘COVID PANIC GRIPS TOP FLIGHT’ is one hell of a bombastic way to announce that there has been a fixture re-shuffle this week while the number of positive coronavirus tests has gone down. But then The Sun are not known for their subtlety.
They claim on the back page that ‘PREM chiefs are in a fight to avoid a shutdown that would wreck the season’. Odd then that if you turn to p54 you find that the Premier League’s view that there is no need for a shutdown ‘is backed by the vast majority of top-flight clubs, including the Big Six’. So who are ‘PREM chiefs’ fighting exactly?
Indeed, ‘SunSport understands there has yet to be any suggestion of a formal proposal to put the Prem on hold’. So not only has there been no formal proposal; there has yet to be ‘any suggestion of a formal proposal’. That sure sounds like COVID PANIC GRIPS TOP FLIGHT.
Oh and reporting that ‘their argument was bolstered by the latest Covid-19 figures yesterday which revealed a total of 36 positive tests’ is a tad disingenuous unless you explain that those 36 positives came from 2593 tests, which means one in 72 was positive. Which is significantly better than last week’s figures of one in 57. But numbers, schnumbers, it’s clearly time for PANIC.
The day that carnage came to town
But what’s worse than PANIC? Why, CARNAGE of course. COVID CARNAGE, to be precise.
It’s been almost two weeks since the last COVID CARNAGE when one game was postponed. And now there is more COVID CARNAGE as one more game is postponed (and replaced with the previous postponed match).
Now, ‘carnage’ is defined in the dictionary as ‘the violent killing of large numbers of people, especially in war’. That may well describe the situation with coronavirus in England as a whole, but we’re not sure it is exactly the right word for *checks notes* one Premier League game being postponed while another is rearranged.
Once again, football disappears up its own arse the morning after the deaths of 529 people were recorded.
The Daily Mail hit us with a series of sub-headlines, which basically boil down to the government telling the FA to tell the clubs to stick to the protocols please, one actual game being postponed and Fulham being annoyed that they need to play at short notice even though all the clubs agreed this season that they might have to play at short notice.
In the context of over 80,000 deaths, does that sound like COVID CARNAGE to anyone at all?
Oh and if you are going to open with ‘THE football season was on the brink of collapse last night’, maybe don’t admit in the sixth paragraph that ‘the Government’s desire for elite sport to continue remains unchanged’.
Mediawatch cannot help but think bolts have been prematurely shot here. What could possibly be worse than the violent killing of large numbers of people, especially in war? How will the tabloids describe TWO games being postponed?
Seven days later
Dave Kidd, The Sun, January 5, when he was trying to argue that Roman Abramovich would not sack Frank Lampard: ‘Frank Lampard is safe at Chelsea for now…despite all the sackings, Roman Abramovich is no mad axeman.’
Dave Kidd, The Sun, January 12, when he was arguing that his beloved Fulham have been treated like dog turds: ‘Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, his job on the line after four league defeats in six, will be rubbing his hands in glee…’
Stop crying, Frank Lampard
Talking of the Chelsea manager who may or may not be in danger, The Sun website tell us that ‘FRANK LAMPARD is the most trolled manager in the Premier League, according to incredible new stats’.
No, what’s incredible is that anyone would take a press release from a casino website and pretend it can be REVEALED as news.
This casino website has looked at an indeterminate number of tweets over an indeterminate time period and ranked managers according to the percentage of those tweets that are negative. It’s statistics. It’s science.
‘Unsurprisingly, Blues boss Lampard has topped the pile following his team’s shocking spell of form.
‘Out of 864 tweets that mentioned the manager’s name, a whopping 42 per cent (365) were negative.
‘And the most common emoji used in the tweets including Lampard’s name was the crying face.
‘That could be down to the fact that Chelsea have lost four of their last six league matches.’
And in that instant you know that this is not written by anyone who knows anything about football. And certainly nothing about trolling.
Roo the day
Now here’s an opening sentence from Stan Collymore in the Daily Mirror:
‘I’m worried that Darren Fletcher taking a coaching role at Manchester United will blow a big hole in Wayne Rooney’s ability to get Derby back on track.’
Sorry, what? Those two things could surely only be connected in the troubled mind of Collymore.
‘The defeat to Chorley won’t be acceptable to Derby fans at all.’
We suspect that Derby fans will know that Derby’s entire first team, Rooney and most of their Under-23 side missed that game. We also suspect that they might be rather more worried about the Rams being in the relegation zone.
‘Legendary name of not, if Rooney is going to go the same way as Frank Lampard and Stevie Gerrard and keep the job long term, then a trusted lieutenant is a must.’
Lampard has spent 18 months in the Chelsea job and is under considerable pressure; can we really hold him up as an example of ‘keeping the job long term’?
Collymore then goes on to say that Jody Morris and Gary McAllister are key to keeping the pair ‘upright when the going got tough’. The going still is tough for Lampard, Stan; one win over Morecambe will not change that.
‘Wayne needs the same alongside him in the dugout. Fletcher had been strongly tipped to link up with Rooney and young bosses need such a strong figure next to them.’
Two things. a) Fletcher’s coaching experience begins and ends with Manchester United’s Under-16s and b) Fletcher is less than two years older than Rooney.
Collymore then cites Jonathan Woodgate’s admission that he ‘regretted not getting someone with grey hair and experience next to him’ at Middlesbrough and says Rooney ‘needs that quickly at Derby’.
That might be the case. But we suspect that the 36-year-old Fletcher does not quite fit (and would not welcome) that description.
Polden back the years
A visit to the MOST READ section of the Mirror football site is our personal dip into the sidebar of shame.
And MOST READ on Tuesday morning is still this from Saturday:
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes Donny van de Beek U-turn at Man Utd after “disgraceful” decision’
The story? Solskjaer was planning to play the underused Donny van de Beek in the FA Cup game against Watford along with other underused players because this was an FA Cup game against Watford.
It’s a ‘U-turn’ because he did not play him in a much more important match against Manchester City, apparently. He presumably also U-turned on the eight other players who came into his team against Watford.
The “disgraceful” quote? From somebody on Twitter, obviously.
And boom, Jake Polden gets himself another smash hit. We would loathe him if we didn’t think he might be some kind of deity.