Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. Britain's railways have become mere outposts of other nations' empires (Guardian)

Travel chaos is the least of our problems, says John Harris. An industry that once embodied national pride has been sold for other states to benefit.

2. No end to the euro crisis in sight (Financial Times)

The scale of the required adjustment is enormous and the IMF does not believe it will happen, says Wolfgang Münchau.

3. Educating Yorkshire can teach Michael Gove something about teachers (Daily Mirror)

When Gove has seen Mr Burton help cure young Mushy’s stammer, he should have the guts to apologise to our teachers, says Kevin Maguire. 

4. Green taxes will cut our bills as well as saving energy (Guardian)

By encouraging the energy companies to diversify away from fossil fuels, we'll be able to save £166 per year by 2020, writes Chris Huhne.

5. Obamacare glitches are no mere hiccup (Financial Times)

The US president has been caught serially off guard by recent crises, from Syria to spying, writes Edward Luce.

6. The Grangemouth dispute makes it clear who really runs the country (Independent)

Employers have used the financial crisis to strip workers of security, rights and power, says Owen Jones

7. They’re playing politics with progress (Daily Telegraph)

Labour's dithering over the HS2 project bears all the hallmarks of a classic Westminster fudge, says Dan Hodges. And that's just what the party wants.

8. The flood of 1914-18 memorabilia has begun – and it will break your heart (Independent)

A pan-European digital library has collected 500,000 mementos, writes Robert Fisk.

9. United Nations: in our common interest (Guardian)

If we want to make a better job of life on the planet, we should try harder to make a greater success of the UN, says a Guardian editorial.

10. Let the public see the crowning glory of our heritage (Times)

Displaying the Royal Collection at St James’s Palace would enrich London culturally and economically, writes Andrew Adonis.

Steve Garry
Show Hide image

The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism