So a third posting on football-related maters which is unusual for me. But I couldn’t let today go by without congratulating my home time team Blackpool FC having won promotion to the Championship from the Div 1 play-off final. Wey hey. They beat Lincoln City 2-1 at Wembley after conceding a first minute own goal. Kenny Dougal was the 2 goal hero and a bit of a poster boy. Do you know that Blackpool are the play-off kings having won 6 finals – a record! God knows how they’ll do in the very competitive Championship but that’s all for tomorrow. After the years of mis-management by the detested Oystons it’s a time to celebrate. Let’s have a look at one of the goals being scored…
So last night was the final Match of the Day programme of this extraordinary football season. Although the Premiership title and relegation had already been decided there were enough final day issues to make this a really enjoyable show; Champions league places to resolve, players’ final matches, managers leaving, careers over and so on.
So the fiasco of that European Super league is over, for now. It was a hideous concept dreamt up by the billionaire owners of a dozen or so of the top teams in Europe or those faced with the biggest debts. Let’s face it these guys, be they Middle Eastern potentates, Asian oligarchs or American tycoons, made an investment in football – the world’s greatest sport – not because they had a love for the game but because at some point they wanted to make a serious return. And the American bunch convinced their counterparts to adopt the franchise example of American football; a closed group of teams protected from the threat of automatic relegation and promotion, able to soak their fans and maximise/share the incredible broadcast revenues whilst imposing a salary cap on the talent. Let’s face it, if you could afford to be in the club it must have looked liked a recipe for unbridled success with the share prices soaring along with the profits. 5 years of this model and the debts would be paid off and the asset put up for sale to the next batch of uber-entrepreneurs for huge profits. Bastards. Continue reading
Well I see that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is having talks today with football administrators and medical experts over the possibility of allowing top class English football to return next month behind closed doors and at neutral venues. Now nobody would be happier than me to see football’s return – so long as it is safe for all concerned. Indeed yesterday the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, was gushing about how the Premier League’s return could ‘lift the spirits of the nation’. Wow it only seems a few days since Matt Hancock publicly pilloried top flight footballers for their wealthy lifestyles and shaming them into making a bigger contribution towards the cost of the NHS (that is in addition to the heavy tax they pay on their massive earnings) which many were already doing privately. It makes you laugh doesn’t it. The Government targets easy scapegoats but with 30,000 covid-19 deaths already on their watch (the largest in any country bar the USA which does have 4 times our population) they are suddenly in need of those overpaid footballers to take the attention and the pressure off them. And people accuse me of being cynical. Pah
So it’s not earth-shattering news to announce that the very top footballers earn fortunes these days. If it takes me say an hour to write this posting (for fun of course), in the same time Wayne Rooney will have earned about £1800 from Man Utd. That’s the rate at which a salary of £300,000 per week gets drawn down. And that’s just the club money. Add to this his endorsements, sponsorship deals, image rights earnings, online gaming fees, social media earnings and investments and the figures are multiplied several times. So he’s probably earning closer to £10,000 every 60 minutes of the day that passes.
Regular readers will know how much I love my wonderful three grandsons. Yesterday we spent the day with my youngest E, who was a little under the weather with a cold but who still managed to light up a grey day with his smiles. Last week we caught up with smashing grandson G on his birthday. I picked him up from school with his dad and was able to surprise him with a small gift I’ve been promising him for ages that he can only have once he’d turned 7 – a packet of chewing gum. He tried a piece enthusiastically but I wasn’t sure he enjoyed the Airwaves menthol and eucalyptus flavour. He liked his real pressies more I think. Bless him. Finally My eldest grandson S telephoned just the other evening to confirm he’d been offered a trial by Northampton football club which he was so excited about. Me too! He’s such an accomplished sportsman and this crowned a big week for him having won a gold medal for winning an mixed age 200 metres event at an inter-school athletics meeting as well as not one, but two cup finals. He’s the nearest of course to achieving his dream of becoming a professional footballer. We don’t know of course what the future holds for them but they can be assured that we will support them in whatever endeavour they choose. My only hope for S is that should he fulfill his ambition, he doesn’t turn out to be a footballer with a skin as thin as Yaya Toure.
This isn’t a posting about football as such but I was amused to read some words this weekend from a Premiership manager who showed once again the ex-footballer truism; that his brains and modesty are distant cousins from his mouth. The manager is Alan Pardew who, in case you don’t know, was recently banned from all stadia for 3 matches for head-butting a player during a Premiership match. It sounds incredibly hot-headed and thuggish but it’s true. Then again he is employed by Newcastle United, a club which seems to have learned all about sound governance from Led Zeppelin’s management team in the 70’s, which pays Mr Pardew just the £1.5M per year to set a fine example to its playing staff and recently rewarded Alan with an 8 year virtually unbreakable contract. Anyway the manager was back in the dressing room for this week-end’s match against Southampton after seeing his side lose two games in his absence, although he will not actually be allowed on the touchline for another 4 games. At the pre-match briefings he told the listening journos that ‘It’s good to be back. You have that relationship with players. Put on top my personality, which we all know is a bit of a winning mentality (it’s true I swear) and I want to make sure we win’. Well no doubt inspired by the return of their smart silver-haired manager and his profound words, the Newcastle team ran out and received a proper gubbing, losing 4-0 and it could easily have been double that. Ahh Alan, you’re the Sultan of Self-Centredness and you just can’t stop yourself from saying things that give me real pleasure. It’s that winnning personality eh.
So SAF’s retired and will be replaced by Everyon’s David Moyes, Mancini and his valet have left the Etihad, Pulis has been sacked from Stoke, Martinez is thinking about both that job and the Everton vacancy, Mourinho’s leaving Real and heading back to Chelsea, maybe, to replace Benitez who’s heading everywhere there’s a vacancy it seems now that his CV is all glitzty again. Yes it’s football’s pantomine season when club chairmen don their Baron Hardup outfits and seek to replace their ugly sister managers with a shiney new Buttons.