English papers damage trust between clubs and media with sensationalized headlines

imageThe Guardian

Why do managers and football players hate the media? A look at today’s newspapers in England offers a lesson.

A little background: I’ve now spent about ten days in England in now, and seen almost a game a day. That’s a good eight games, between sixteen and twenty press conferences, and more seats built for midgets than I can count. Every day, I’m surprised to open the papers the following morning and find out that I apparently missed the press conferences. The ones I was at bear little relation to those that made it into print.

To wit: a survey of Monday’s Guardian, the Mail, the Telegraph and Sun present a rather different picture of how Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers acted at their press conferences Sunday night.

Most papers led today with a variation on the following: “Rodgers fumes over ‘blatant’ penalty denied by ref Webb” (that’s the Guardian.) Except, Rodgers wasn’t fuming, or raging (the Mail) or doing much else of the kind. Yes, he thought it was a penalty not given and said so. But he was also laughing and joking with the press corps and had the air of professional resignation about him. This, perhaps, was due to the fact that he knew he was lucky to finish with ten men on the field after one of his players unwisely put his hands on the ref’s chest and another committed a second bookable offense.

Then there was Wenger, said to be “furious” over Jose Mourinho’s statements last week. Was he? Maybe, but that’s supposition. He showed signs of it, as he too was joking with the media – even during the one truly uncomfortable part his press conference, when he was forced to address Olivier Giroud’s apparently acknowledged infidelity. (Courteously, the Mail ran a series of photographs of the young woman in question today alongside pictures of Giroud in action.)

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Norwich twins wear different boots to help manager tell them apart


When around identical twins for an extended period of time, one can usually begin to distinguish one from the other. But what about in a game, with 20 other players on the pitch?

That’s the problem Norwich City manager Chris Hughton ran into as he started to bring up the Murphy twins — Josh and Jacob — into the Canaries’ first team. Not to worry, though. The two 18-year-olds already came up with a solution: wear different color boots.

The twins have yet to play a senior game together, but in last week’s FA Cup match against Fulham, Jacob replaced his brother for his first senior team appearance. Josh wore orange boots, while Jacob’s were blue.

From the BBC:

"It’s something we spoke about a while back," Hughton told BBC Radio Norfolk.

"It’s not so much in close proximity, because there is a difference between the two and they have different playing styles so I can tell them apart.

"Certainly in possession games that we might play, it’s going to be more difficult to tell them apart."

Hey, whatever works!



West Ham offer VIP package to young crying fan

Watching your team lose 5-0 is always tough to take, but one young West Ham fan took their FA cup loss to Nottingham Forest particularly hard.


This unidentified boy was caught on camera weeping during the match. Now, West Ham is on the hunt to find the child and give him the experience of a lifetime.

In a statement on the club’s website, they have offered him and his family a chance to watch an upcoming match at the Boleyn Ground from the Directors’ Box. Not a bad offer.

The effort to identify the boy and give him a VIP experience has spread, and he’ll likely come forward soon. Let’s just hope he won’t be spotted bawling in the Directors’ Box, too.



Best Goals of the FA Cup Third Round


Ah, the magic of the FA Cup.

The world’s oldest association football competition, traditionally rich with upsets every season, delivered the goods again this weekend. The stunner of the Third Round? Swansea knocked out Premier League champion Man United for their first-ever win at Old Trafford, thanks to Wilfried Bony’s 90th-minute goal:

There were more brilliant moments on Saturday. 

Minnows Rochdale moved into the Fourth Round of the competition for the first time in eleven years after upsetting Leeds United. The League Two minnows held a slim 1-0 lead over Leeds before Ian Henderson sealed the win with this exquisite volley:

Elsewhere, Oliver Norwood scored a perfect free kick to help Championship side Huddersfield Town to a 3-2 win, avoiding a major upset at the hands of non-league Grimsby Town:

And in the big match of the weekend, Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky stole the ball from Spurs defender Danny Rose at the halfway line and chipped keeper Hugo Lloris masterfully on the ensuing breakaway:


Sam Allerdyce all smiles after embarrassing loss

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce hasn’t had a lot to smile about recently, but his spirits seemed remarkably high after a brutal 5-0 FA Cup loss at the hands of Championship side Nottingham Forest.

Allardyce, whose side also sits second from bottom in the Premier League, might want to wipe that smirk off his face. The 13th highest paid manager in the world (no, seriously) might not have a job if West Ham’s atrocious form keeps up.

Meanwhile, Hammers supporters weren’t quite as content:

Look what you’ve done, Sam.

H/T 101GG


Champions League + Europa League spots sealed

The Barclays Premier League has come to an end and the Champions League positions are set. The Premier League will be sending the same representatives as last year but will be hoping for a much better result as none of them made it through to the Quarterfinals in this year’s competition.

There will be a different look for the Europa League representatives this season.

Tottenham will be returning to the Europa League for the second consecutive season and will be joined by Swansea and a relegated Wigan club.

Swansea has secured their birth thanks to a 5-0 victory over Bradford in the League Cup final. Despite the impending relegation, Wigan will be heading to the Europa League group stage courtesy of a 1-0 defeat of Manchester City in the FA Cup Final.


Mancini takes out full-page ad to thank City fans


While Manchester City manager Roberto Manicini did not even make it to the end of the season, he took the high road and put out this classy ad in the Manchester Evening News.

Mancini is pictured with the 2011 FA Cup, 2012 Community Shield, and 2012 Premier League trophy, thanking the fans for three unforgettable years.

He was not a popular man among players and club officials, but fans have still held him in a high regard and he should receive plenty of support for a new position sooner than later.

Image via @Danmcfcjones