Erik ten Hag’s furious outburst about some bibs spells disaster on his first day at Manchester United, while things have been noticed and dilemmas identified and, spoiler alert, all of it is just the most egregious unmitigated click-seeking b*llocks.
Starter for Ten
Erik ten Hag’s first day on the job at Manchester United inevitably takes up plenty of column inches because it’s Manchester United. But it’s also tricky because how much can you really say about ‘man turns up for work’ when a lot of it was covered in exhausting depth yesterday anyway?
If you’re the Mirror, what you can do is notice things. Five of them, handily. That is always the best number of things to notice on these occasions.
So let’s have a look at what the Mirror have been noticing.
First, Ten Hag addressed the squad. Well noticed. So what did he say? Well the Mirror don’t actually know that part. They were noticing things, not listening to things. Be reasonable. They do have plenty of info, though.
‘The Manchester Evening News report that Ten Hag addressed the group of players for “several minutes” at the start of the session, flanked by assistants Steve McClaren and Mitchell Van der Gaag.’
Okay, so in thing one of the five things the Mirror noticed we are already actually at things the MEN noticed, but okay. So what did Ten Hag actually say?
‘He will have hoped to have made a positive first impression as photos showed him looking both assertive at times and smiling warmly at others.’
You can see why these features changed from ‘five things we learned’ to ‘five things we noticed’, can’t you? It’s a subtle yet significant difference. It would, for instance, be absurd to claim that we ‘learned’ that Erik ten Hag is an adult human capable of displaying different emotions and expressions with his face. But you can’t deny it is a thing that can be noticed. Pad that out with some speculation about probably wanting to make a good first impression rather than a bad one and you’re 20 per cent of the way to a kick-ass feature and hopefully nobody will realise – or notice, if you will – that you haven’t actually noticed anything either.
Right, what else can the Mirror notice? Or not, as the case may well be.
Number two, Manchester United players who were on loan last season but are currently not on loan were back at Manchester United, because Manchester United is the club that employs them and this is the first day of pre-season. Now there may be some intrigue over the futures of Donny van de Beek or Axel Tuanzebe, but their contractually-mandated presence at training tells us precisely nothing about those futures even if we cannot deny it is a thing that has been noticed. Because what you’ve noticed there is ‘People turn up to work in line with their contracts’. Apart from a few very, very rare examples during high-profile transfer sagas involving ‘wantaway stars’, this is the sort of thing that fails Mediawatch’s First Test of Newsworthiness: is what’s being reported more interesting than the exact opposite? Any of those lads not turning up for their first day under the new manager – now that’s a story and something entirely worth noticing.
Number three, there were some United youth players, including Robbie Savage’s son, involved in the training session. You know what? This one is fair enough. Well done, everyone.
Number four is cryptically entitled ‘Point to prove’. Now can you really notice from training session photographs that Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have a point to prove? It’s true, but it’s not something we have learned or noticed only this week. This is basically a variation on number two’s ‘people turn up to work’ theme only even less noticeable.
And number five is that Erik ten Hag kicked some footballs during the training session. Again, when what you’re noticing is ‘former professional football turned manager can do some keepy-uppies’ you can see why even people with no shame had to switch from claiming to have ‘learned’ these things.
The cut of his bib
But wait a minute, lads. What’s this headline elsewhere at the Mirror? Sounds like your eagle-eyed noticers have missed something actually worth noting and indeed noticing here.
‘Erik ten Hag’s furious bib dressing down speaks volumes after Man Utd players’ first day’
What? Furious? Dressing down? Bib? After the Man Utd players’ first day? This is definitely better than those other things that were noticed. Sure, we know he was ‘assertive at times’ and also ‘smiled warmly’ but we didn’t know he was ‘furious’. We’re intrigued. Just what did those Man Utd players do with or to those bibs to so enrage the new manager?
Now, you are in all likelihood not a first-time Mediawatch reader and as such we know you are are an intelligent and might we add disarmingly attractive sort who is already miles ahead of us here. You’ve already spotted that the key word in this headline is ‘after’ haven’t you? We knew it! What did we say? Intelligent and so, so attractive. Why ‘after’ when it could be ‘at’ or ‘during’? Because, of course, Bibgate has absolutely two-fifths of f*** all to do with Manchester United, or Ten Hag’s first day there, and is in fact about an incident that happened when he was the new manager of Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles a decade ago and the players left their bibs in a messy pile at the end of a training session. But Go Ahead Eagles, with all due respect to the 1965 KNVB Cup runners-up, do not attract the same amount of clicks as Manchester United. So out comes a headline that cleverly implies otherwise, because deliberately deceiving your readers is how you win at the internet these days.
Ten Hag once got cross about some bibs. Ten years ago. It does indeed speak volumes; just not about Ten Hag or Manchester United.
It’s not just keepy-uppies and opening addresses and bib outbursts for Ten Hag, though. The Mirror have yet more troubling news.
‘Erik ten Hag dilemma as new Man Utd boss starts work at Carrington training ground’
Oh, this sounds bad. A dilemma, remember, is a situation where one is forced to choose between two unfavourable outcomes. Not what you need on your first day. Especially after all the unpleasantness with the bibs.
It takes 10 paragraphs of waffle about coaching acumen and medical tests and other stuff that actually happens on the first day of pre-season training before we get to any mention of a dilemma. We’re starting to think this dilemma might not be all that. Especially as by the time we get there it has already shifted form being Ten Hag’s dilemma to ‘a familiar coaching dilemma for him that the Dutchman will face in these first few days of working with the group’.
We’re going to summarise, because again there are a great deal of words dedicated to the ‘dilemma’. It is essentially this: you have to balance ball work and tactics and technical training with strength training to avoid injuries in the early stages of preseason. What makes this dilemma’ in any way specific to Manchester United or Ten Hag? Absolutely nothing beyond clicks.
The article Ten Hag furious ‘after Man Utd players’ first day’ and other disingenuous nonsense appeared first on Football365.com.