Welcome to Press Watch by Brendan Hobbs, TheWashbag’s sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the worlds media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown
I declare this week’s edition of Press Watch an ‘Administration’ free zone; you’ll not find a mention of it anywhere as I’m totally sick of the whole subject. Let’s just talk about football matters and ignore it, pretend it’s not there, like a drunken uncle who always comes around at Christmas and spends his entire time mumbling obscenities whilst trying to grope your auntie.
It’s been the main talking point in all forms of the media; it’s been in the nationals, discussed on the radio, on fans forums and down the pub. I’ve completely had my fill and feel sick, like a fat baby who’s spent too long suckling at the teat and is now puking up chunks of TalkSport, the Football League Paper and BBC Wilts.
By not talking about it, this article may in the end feel a little light – like its missing something obvious, perhaps a necessary element to complete the experience. Much like a cheap imitation butter spread, it’ll look alright, but on closer inspection it will be a little thin, manufactured and ultimately disappointing.
Let’s start with the rain in Bournemouth; three main talking points emerged from the game – the weather, David James and the damage to the dugout. Well the weather certainly had a bearing on the result if Eddie Howe is to be believed, according to his interview with the BBC he opined:
“I think the conditions really ruined the game which was a real shame from our perspective being a football team”.
So reading between the lines, it affected them as they are a ‘football team’ but didn’t affect us as we’re a hoofing team? I see.
I notice our local ’scooping’ BBC reporter missed this interview, according to eye witnesses he was far too busy browsing through a book called ‘Words and Phrases Guaranteed to Inflame a Fanbase”.
Then there’s David James’ calamity, which is a tad unfair as although his weak clearance did result in a goal, Andy Williams still had a fair bit to do to score, so it’s not like he fired the ball into his own net or anything. In fact the defender who was writhing around on the goal line like a swan who’d tucked into a packet of discarded fishing weights was probably more culpable to fair. It didn’t really matter to The Guardian who lapped it all up in an article that reads like it was prepared a while ago and shelved just waiting for the next David James howler.
Not that it’s the first time he’s made a mess of things against Swindon, I distinctly remember an incident when he let a skimmer straight through his legs at the County Ground, but I couldn’t recall when it was; I argued with a friend about it, well, I say argued, there was more of a physical aspect to the disagreement and when I say a physical aspect, I really mean fists, well, knives – basically there was quite a bit of blood spilt.
Anyway, thanks to trawling through some old vids I found it, so in your face Mark Innes… well not ‘in your face’ as he’s actually not with us anymore, he met a grisly end at the hands of an unknown assailant. Apparently an argument was overheard followed by a scream and the opening and shutting of a wheelie bin. Police have no other details which is lucky sad.
Behold, 1991, a glimpse into the past and a young David James:
Neil Meldrum of the Bournemouth Echo offers a counter view to the finger pointing of the Guardian, exonerating the ‘keeper of any blame. He also provides a fine example of ‘Di Canio’ watch as well as a good summary of the game, it also includes a great picture for those who doubted that the weather ‘was as bad as all that’.
The Bournemouth Echo also run a feature capturing the feeling of anger about ‘Dugout-Gate’, where Cherries supremo and occasional drinker, Eddie Mitchell confirms he will pursue the club for damages. The piece also carries Sam Morshead’s now infamous picture of the ‘damage’, apparently an acrylic panel was ‘smashed’, giving you the impression of a thousand deadly shards cartwheeling into the crowd. Now I have conducted a few tests and I cannot seem to get a sheet of acrylic to smash, it just cracks a little bit
According to Bournemouth fan ‘mightyreds’ on the forum, Court Offside, Di Canio was to blame and should be charged with criminal damage. No proof mind you, but he should be charged you understand – I can only hope that if I ever end up in an accused box that the judge doesn’t come from Bournemouth. It is pointed out to him later on in the thread that Di Canio was nowhere near the dugout when the incident happened, to which he replies:
“In that case the club should pay for it, can’t be allowed to vandalise just because they don’t like being out played by a better team!!”
Trust me dude, if that statement was true then the away dugout at the County Ground would resemble Hiroshima circa 1945.
Moving on, and like the TV programme ‘Extreme Weather’ on the National Geographic Channel we segue effortlessly from cataclysmic rain storms into artic blizzards. The Shrewsbury game is one that should never have been played had it not been down to the fantastic efforts of the fans and manager.
The papers loved it, The Guardian use the story as a platform for a whole article discussing other generous footballers, whereas The Sun proclaims ‘Di Canio pays Robins fans in pizza’. Paolo explains that Swindon fans have a healthy appetite saying it only took Town fans ‘a minute’ to devour all the grub. In all the time I’ve been doing this column this is the first article I’ve read that has nothing but positive comments from posters below, no mention of Nazis or fascism at all, refreshing.
The Sun also mention Paolo’s now famous half time motivation team talk, little do they know Paolo’s got a whole page of different motivation team talks, each carrying varying degrees of threat dependant on the half time score.
I know this, because during my nightly rummage through the bins outside the County Ground (Aden Flint’s spent hair bands fetch a fair price in certain markets) I came across this:
It’s quite difficult to read due to all the bin detritus, so here it is re-typed:
|My players are worthless plankton, not even fit to be consumed by blubbery Whales. I’ll drag them to the snowy slopes of Liddington at 5am and make them run until they drop. They will beg me to stop, they will say Paolo, I am so weak like a blurry child, and I want to go home to my mummy.|
|These men are not brave, all talk, no bravery, I spit in the face of fear. Straight from the game I’ll drive the team bus to Marlborough and get them to run back, without any reflective clothing. I sit on the back of Fabrizio’s Piaggio scooter where I will shout motivational slogans at them through a megaphone. Let’s see how brave they are when a misfiring red Fiat Punto bears down on them out of the darkness. Every wing mirror clip will become a victory, they will become strong and brave not scared, like blurry kittens, starving on street corners.|
|These men are like weak baby children, no fire, no passion like our fans – I’ll strip them to their underpants and get them to shovel all the cleared snow back onto the pitch, whilst I whip them with some cheap Aldi tagliettella – which I’ll force them to eat when done, Pizzas are too good for them, they are only for the passionate and strong.|
|Worthless toads, they think they know about adversity, but I say they’ve not laughed in the face of 70000 Man U fans, so I’ll give them complimentary tickets to see ‘An Audience with Paul Hart’ . People will say, Paolo, this is too much punishment, too harsh. I’ll laugh at them, with their cheap BHS clothes, Lidl Pasta and weak ‘fined two weeks wages’ punishments. I say no, this is how to turn tiny, weak baby mice into angry cats.|
Onto the game coverage, The Shropshire Star manage three articles on the game, only two still bang on about the penalty that never was last season. (I mean, seriously?) Two Town players almost lose their heads in the photo reel, firstly Aden Flint meets the sharp end of Marvin Morgan’s left forearm and secondly Simon Ferry, in-between barfing up his guts, manages time to sniff Matt Richards left foot.
The blurb under the photos blames THAT penalty for why the two teams are so far apart this year: “Salop boss Graham Turner was left fuming after his side’s claims from the spot were ignored in last season’s League Two defeat when both sides were heading for promotion. The teams were neck and neck a year ago, but now Swindon are 15 places and 19 points better off in League One.”
Amazingly, the drivel continues, according to the article:
“So the last thing (Shrewsbury) Town wanted was to be the victim of more poor refereeing after they had weathered what little Paolo Di Canio’s outfit could muster in the first-half.”
I thought we gave them a battering in the first half, just lacked the cutting edge, hey ho.
Lots of miscellaneous Swindon news this week, the fantastic Two Unfortunates runs a piece on criminal footballers, with Town getting a mention concerning the Luke McCormick debate.
The Sabotage Times runs a piece quoting Harry Redknapps claim that Di Canio will be a top flight manager one day. Apparently “Di Canio has all the credentials to go all the way to the top of the management ladder.”
Finally, the Daily Mail take umbrage at the fact that former Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora has taken it upon himself to have ‘Maestro’ on the back of his shirt during the Africa Cup of Nations. Therefore they pick ten other players who are more worthy of name, and good old Paolo is one of them. Who are the others? Have a look and find out, but I’ll tell you this for free, Bobby Howe is not one of them.