The Welsh minister for sport, Rhodri Glyn Thomas (no, I’ve never heard of him either) is the latest politician climbing on to the back of sport trying to garner some reflected glory. Mr Thomas wants Land of My fathers to be played alongside God Save The Queen at the FA Cup final when Cardiff City meet Portsmouth. Personally, I don’t think it should happen. Whilst the two teams might come from different sides of the Severn Bridge, it’s the English FA Cup Final. However, if the FA decides to run with the idea, perhaps there ought to be a reciprocal agreement? How about, as building sites, offices and the Welsh Assembly open for business in the Principality, that God Save The Queen is played at 9am every Monday morning bearing in mind that it’s money from the English Exchequer that funds 90% of the place.
So Arsenal are out of the Premier League title race following their 2 – 1 defeat at Manchester United. Arsene Wenger though should be proud of the way his team performed, not only at Old Trafford but also at Anfield in midweek. OK, match officials may have cost them, certainly in Europe, but as far as a conspiracy is concerned, as Wenger suggested on Sunday, it just doesn’t hold water. The facts are that wonderfully entertaining though they’ve been, the Gunners failed to turn draws in to wins and when the going really got tough, Wenger must have realised that his squad just wasn’t big enough to cope. He may be upset at a number of refereeing decisions across the season but it was his decision not to sign anyone in the January transfer window which is probably the telling factor behind their demise.
Liverpool Board. We are.
Just what is going on at Anfield? The plot is so ridiculous it would have been rejected by the script writers down the road at Hollyoaks. The two owners have fallen out, one wants Rick Parry to resign as chief executive, Jurgen Klinsmann’s been approached (allegedly) to take over from Rafael Benitez and the DIC is still waiting in the wings to buy the club. That said, have you noticed how fantastically well Liverpool have been playing of late? Benitez is no mug and while he says he and the team are fully focussed on football, there’s no-one better at using ‘siege mentality’ to his advantage. It’s said that the boardroom battle might not be settled until after the season has finished. The manager might just like that.
Can someone please tell a number of TV commentators, particularly Andy Gray, that players on the pitch should be addressed with their proper names. For example, Steven Gerrard is Steven Gerrard and John Terry is John Terry. They are not Stevie G or JT. Steve McClaren got hammered for being too close to the players and so should the men behind the microphones. I can’t see Jeremy Paxman welcoming the Prime Minister to Newsnight with the opening gambit “Evening Gordo.” Whilst Gray and his ilk may well know the players personally, the vast majority of the TV audience do not and it’s us who they are talking to not their mates in the studio.