“ITV’s FA Cup coverage has often been something of a joke” – Des Kelly

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “We need to reintroduce the concept of morality in football, we have to permit everybody to have a chance to win.” – Michel Platini.

Runner-up: “The owners and Rafa seem to be involved in a tug of war. Even if they are trying to resolve it for the better of the club, there is no question in my mind when you have the right man for the job, securing his continuity is important. We’ve been through our bad moments but constant change, or change for the sake of it, isn’t a good thing at a club like this. It’s a subject between Rafa and the owners and the team must not let it affect us at any cost but my personal bet is Rafa will stay with Liverpool. When he came here, Liverpool had a massive history but they had lost competitiveness compared to the other European greats — and had spent a long time without winning major trophies. From his arrival to now, you can feel the progress and that he’s put Liverpool back where they once were — amongst Europe’s greats and aspiring to win everything we enter.” – Xabi Alonso.

Today’s overview: ITV continues to dominate the back pages with seemingly every paper and columnist having a pop at the broadcaster, not only for missing Dan Gosling’s goal but also for their coverage of the FA Cup. Michel Platini also enjoys extensive coverage following his comments in London yesterday.

Before we get to ITV, The Independent lead with the gambling scandals that are rocking football. Nick Harris: “Illegal gambling on football is nothing new but the scale of the problem facing the sport today is.” And in a seperate article the FA admit they are “powerless to sto the threat of match fixing.”

Des Kelly (Daily Mail) writes of the “the great ITV own goal.” “The farce was so excruciating it was almost funny. But while one night of FA Cup catastrophe is certainly excusable, ITV’s FA Cup coverage has often been something of a joke. There must be a reason for this; one with a solution more complicated than blaming bad luck, or staging a witchhunt for the bloke who forgot to reset the button on Wednesday.” To really stick the boot in, the Daily Mail provide a “round-by-round guide of how ITV ruined your FA Cup viewing.

Also on the ITV cock-up, Tom Cary (Daily Telegraph) reports that the broadcaster is “in little danger of losing the rights to broadcast FA Cup matches… Bookmakers Ladbrokes were yesterday offering odds of 5-1 that ITV would lose their FA Cup rights before the end of the channel’s deal in 2012.” Owen Gibson (Guardian) also adds to the chorus “through a combination of bad luck and poor judgment, the broadcaster’s FA Cup run is beginning to look cursed.”

The Independent even devote a leading article to ITV. “There have been some great interruptions in history: Napoleon’s imprisonment on Elba; the interregnum of Oliver Cromwell; the Dark Ages. Some will argue that ITV’s sudden advert break during extra time of Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay between Everton and Liverpool does not really justify inclusion in that company. But try telling that to the armchair Everton fan, who, having sat through 118 minutes of nerve-shredding attritional football, missed the single goal by 19-year-old Dan Gosling which delivered an historic victory to the blue half of Merseyside.”

On the actual football played on Wednesday night, Andy Hunter (Guardian) is full of praise for Phil Jagielka. “Those viewers whose enjoyment of Fernando Torres was rudely interrupted at Goodison Park last night should address their complaints to one Phil Jagielka. ITV have enough to worry about.”

Gabriele Marcotti (The Times) looks at Michel Platini’s latest comments on the spending power of clubs and predicts: “Be prepared for a showdown. Michel Platini went out of his way in London yesterday to reassure journalists that he had no bone to pick with the Premier League, but the Uefa president left little doubt that a radical revamping of the rules — one that would exclude clubs that failed to meet certain financial requirements from participating in European competition — is on the cards.” 

Charles Sale (Daily Mail) also adds his two penneth on Platini’s point of view. “Platini is aware that even if he changes the rules for European competition, he will not be able to prevent the Premier League from carrying on as normal.”

In a seperate article Charles Sale claims that Platini’s charm offensive yesterday was a failure. “But Platini hardly gave the impression of loving England or its press by grandly announcing at the start that he had never been to the new Wembley or to the FA headquarters at Soho Square.And he never read the English newspapers because, he claimed, his English wasn’t good enough, although he opted to improve his English outside the UK on a three-week course at Trinity College in Dublin after taking over the presidency.”

Ahead of the North London derby on Sunday, Harry Redknapp scoffs at the idea he is under pressure and Michael Dawson cannot wait for the game. Gabriele Marcotti in The Game asks where Arsene Wenger will play Andrey Arshavin. “No matter where he puts him, somebody’s going to lose out. Somebody out of Robin Van Persie, Emanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott (when the latter two are fit again) is going to lose out. How Wenger handles that will provide an education in football management.”

The headline story in The Sun focuses on the civil war at Liverool, thanks to some “exclusive” comments from Xabi Alonso. Also critical of a Premier League club is Shay Given who lays into Newcastle. “It came to a head after the Liverpool game. It was such a low point in my career. I was that low that when I was walking off the pitch I would have been happy if I never saw another football again. I’ve had lot of highs and lot of lows at Newcastle but that was a real low — a real kick in the teeth. The fans were feeling the same. It was a real low point for everyone.”

And Charles N’Zogbia adds his own thoughts on the Toon. “The club needs someone who can control it properly. At Wigan, Steve Bruce controls everything and that’s what you need, but if you go to a club and you don’t know who’s in charge, then you really don’t know what’s going on. It took just five minutes for the Wigan manager to persuade me to come here.”

Steve Wilson in the Daily Telegraph talks with David Beckham on the affect the “Milan lab” could have on his career. Becks: “When I came to Milan, my body fat was at 13.7%. Now, it is down to 8.5%. The training regime has helped.” Also on Beckham, Matt Lawton (Daily Mail) reports “David Beckham is set to equal Bobby Moore’s record of 108 England caps against Spain on Wednesday.”

Finally, there are two articles well worth reading in The Guardian, Marcela Mora y Araujo writes of the new Carlos Tevez film and argues that “A new movie about Carlos Tevez will struggle to capture the real-life phenomenon of the man.” And the always excellent Jonathan Wilson asks: “Is three points for a win good for football?”