No way, Jose
Things Jose Mourinho remembered to mention when paying tribute to the retiring Petr Cech:
“I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League number one shirt.”
Things Mourinho neglected to mention when honouring Cech:
How Claudio Ranieri signed him.
How Carlo Cudicini suffered a pre-season injury when Cech first joined.
How Cech had just impressed as the Czech Republic’s first-choice keeper at Euro 2004.
But no, congratulations to Mourinho for starting the 2004/05 season by playing Cech instead of Lenny Pidgeley, then retaining faith in a keeper who proceeded to establish himself as one of the best in the world.
What a player. But more importantly, what a manager.
Of all the tributes pouring in for Cech, none come more heartfelt and touching than that of The Sun‘s Neil Ashton.
‘IT is the best £7million Roman Abramovich has ever spent,’ he writes, which seems awfully presumptuous about a billionaire whose many investments saw him ranked as the second-richest man in the world in 2010.
But what does Ashton remember most about a man with four Premier League titles, one Champions League, four FA Cups and the most clean sheets and saves of any goalkeeper in Premier League history?
‘To his great credit he always fronted up, a willing talker during some desperate times under Arsene Wenger.
‘His Gunners team-mates went missing off the field as much as on it, dodging the post-match bullets from the media all over Europe.’
Because Jose Mourinho isn’t the only person who is going to use this to inflate his own self-importance ever further. Honestly, ‘post-match bullets’? Get over yourself.
But the most eye-catching line comes towards the end of a quite literal fluff piece.
‘It often needed a double-take because he would be wearing his glasses, emerging from the dressing room looking serious and studious.’
Forget all the trophies; Cech will always be remembered as that fella who…wore glasses?
Cech this out
Writes Matt Barlow of Cech in the Daily Mail:
‘He is fluent in five languages, mastering Spanish in little more than a month, and always quick to step forward to shoulder responsibility when it comes to media duties.’
What a bizarre industry this is.
Kane of my existence
Cech’s retirement will never be back-page news for as long as Harry Kane suffers an injury. Or a mild stomach bug. Or a slight headache. Or any other boo-boo that could otherwise inconvenience ‘HARRY PAIN!’ (The Sun).
Martin Lipton is here with the revelation that ‘Spurs without Kane are not the same’ and that he ‘is integral to boss Pochettino’s philosophy’. Can ‘scoring goals’ really be described as a ‘philosophy’?
‘Rival fans remember Kane’s September 2016 ankle injury, when Spurs went seven games without a win in all competitions,’ Lipton adds, completely overestimating the memory of rival fans.
But there are a couple of problems with that sentence. First, Kane missed ten games through injury in that spell, with Tottenham winning the first four. And one of those victories came against Manchester City, which doesn’t sound too bad at all.
Also, that seven-game winless run included just two defeats, one of which was in the fourth round of the League Cup.
And the seventh game of that winless run was a 1-1 draw with Arsenal, in which Kane started and scored. But hey, ‘CALAMITY KANE’ and all that.
When The Sun goes down
Speaking of back pages, The Sun‘s was an absolute doozy, wasn’t it?
A matter of hours later came the Liverpool Echo‘s rebuttal:
‘Liverpool winger Sadio Mane fuming after fake quotes taunting Man City emerge’.
At least The Sun don’t have a history for this exact sort of thing.
But as important as Kane, Mane and apparently fake quotes are to the old-school newspapers, none drive nearly as much website traffic as Paul Pogba.
Both the MailOnline and the Daily Mirror adorn their home pages with pictures of Pogba and his girlfriend walking around Manchester. Which certainly sounds like the biggest story in all of football right now.
‘Paul Pogba fuels speculation he has become father for first time as Man Utd legend congratulates him,’ reads the Mirror’s headline, and therein lies the problem: the ‘story’ is centered around the fact that Maria Salaues ‘cut a more slimline figure’ after she ‘sported a conspicuous baby bump’ last month.
We are told that they ‘appeared to celebrate the birth of their first child’ and that they have ‘seemingly become parents for the first time’. Because postulating over someone’s pregnancy is not in any way entirely and utterly stupid. This isn’t a January transfer; you don’t get to just f***ing guess.
And do not doubt that they are guessing.
Speculation is, by definition, not news. So f***ing stop it.
Recommended reading of the day
Adam Bate on David Wagner (both heroes)