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Sky’s High Noon Showdown


Dorset

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‘the media can and do make the news. they choose what to report, they choose how to report it and they choose what angle (spin) to take’ - Hutch [on Rooney playing away]

Nudging 4000 views, this single observation on the topic of the week said all there is to say on the subject of football news providers of the moment in this country, which in this day and age can usually be summed up by a single reference to the Murdoch Empire. All the pieces in the latest scandalised jigsaw were neatly packaged together in boxes marked ’The Times’ and ’The Sun’ to be dispatched to a discerning and dumb readership in equal and [hoped-for] ever-growing measures, both producing pictures of Wayne Rooney, yet each specifically designed to pander to the needs of Joe Public, perched on high and low moralistic ground, as well as at opposite ends of the evolutionary scale.

Of course, once again, The News of the Screws had been the flagship for coverage, sailing blissfully up ****creek (though on this occasion not one of their own making) and leaving scumbag/hounded [insert as appropriate] Wazza without a paddle and barely any dignity - unless, that is, you are of the same opinion as the Times writers and regard mere association with Manchester United as a redeeming and extenuating circumstance. Lest you doubt that last remark, let me produce a few gobbets from Matt Dickinson’s piece on England’s game, and Rooney’s performance in particular, which provides ample evidence of what Hutch would call ’angle’ and ’spin’…

‘…he found happiness in his work at St Jakob-Park last night.’ ‘Give Rooney the credit, though, for having the talent to flourish under pressure…the determination to hang up the sign saying “business as usual.†‘This was not the performance of a man who will be seeking time off to mend his marriage.’ ‘Perhaps they [the fans] were saluting Rooney just for being here…while there had been an argument for the player returning home to his wife rather than flying out with the team, it was never a convincing one.’ and, as a conclusion, ‘Rooney will seek to answer their [Everton fans] abuse head-on. This is not a man ready to be cowed.’…

Add to this the fact that Matthew Syed, a self-styled pingpong-tastic paragon of virtue if ever there was one, wrote on the subject of men of honour in sport on a nearby page without once providing even the slightest of counter-references to Wayne’s misdemeanours and you can see the part selectivity plays in what was once a newspaper that prided itself on a high level of impartiality. Incidentally, for those who grow a little tired of me constantly taking this table tennis titan to task, let me point out in my defence that he also managed to make his now mandatory disparaging remark about JT in what was, if I am going to be brutally honest about this guy’s ability to write, yet another tired and failed attempt to be interesting in print. Of greater significance, however, is the interpretation that can be placed on Dickinson’s words and, for the so-called paranoid Chelsea fan, the implied support given to Roo compared to JT’s vilification and the continued demonising of the world’s best left back.

It also has to be said that the same criticism can be levelled at his colleague Matt Hughes who, on the following day, nestled within an article on Phil Jagielka’s reputed no sympathy (bordering on complete indifference) towards Wayne, an obvious reason for the Evertonian’s ’straight-talking’ approach. It appears, according to Hughes, that sources (no, really?) in the England camp have reported seeing Rooney ‘spending a considerable amount of time hanging around with John Terry and Ashley Cole, neither of whom is universally popular, and this week Steven Gerrard (no, really?) admitted that he had no idea as to his team-mate’s mental state and would not presume to ask.’ Hughes went on to pose the question, ‘Is Rooney, who was once the life and soul of the dressing-room, turning into a man apart?’…. or, dare I ask, are we seeing here yet another example of an agenda-driven approach to journalism embodied in this double-whammy of aligning Wazza with the doers of bad, bad things, whilst at the same time distancing the Saint from the sinners?

Extremes aplenty, then, but surely the last jigsaw to emerge from the Murdoch fun and frolics bag will be a multi-piece affair on Saturday when Wazza must face his sternest critics to date. No, not Richard Keys and Andy Gray, nor a freshly-made-over, highly defined Jeff Stelling and crew, because we are talking much-maligned Everton fans here and they will have their own special way of getting their point across that might just circumvent the slant of a Sky commentator, expert, pundit or newspaper reporter. Then again, usually the presence of TV cameras brings with it the promise of a little hometown-biased coverage, but patently not when ManU are the visitors and certainly not when there is a mud-sticking story to quell on grounds of it upsetting the famous club and a certain status quo that must apply in the early stages of any Premiership race.

Lest we forget, the man-not-ready-to-be-cowed and otherwise known as Wazza once referred to David Moyes as a manager who was holding him back - from what, we are, perhaps, now entitled to ask. Whatever it was, the man with the talent to flourish under pressure and otherwise known as [insert as appropriate], will be given ample opportunity to show these fans that it wasn’t enough to hold him back for long. Truth be told, no more than you would expect from the man with a ’business as usual’ sign hung out... exactly where I'll leave to your imagination. Dirty business it may be, but expect more of the same placatory antics from Andy and the gang from high noon onwards.

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and this week Steven Gerrard (no, really?) admitted that he had no idea as to his team-mate’s mental state and would not presume to ask

I see Gerrard's doing a fantastic job of captaining this shambles of an England team... What a f**king farce.

Great read as usual Dorset.

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