It’s long been argued by football clubs and players that goal celebrations are personal. Everton came out with that line when Tim Cahill made an on-the-pitch signal to his brother. The same brother that smacked a bloke in the head so hard that his victim lost a number of teeth and was partially blinded. The same brother who then tried to dodge the police by jetting off half way round the world to Australia. The same brother who was eventually banged up for 6 years. Now we have David Norris of Ipswich Town. A friend of Luke McCormick, his former team mate at Plymouth Argyle. The same former team mate who drove home drunk from Norris’s wedding. The same former team mate who fell asleep at the wheel of his Ranger Rover on the motorway before ploughing in to another car. The same former team mate who ended the lives of two small boys and badly injured their father. We’ll probably never know if Norris’s goal celebration was a handcuffs gesture or, as he suggests, a private message of support to his friend. He has at least apologised and Ipswich, a very decent club, have issued a fine and warned him as to his future conduct. And that will probably be the end of it. Though not for the grieving family who don’t deserve to be reminded of their tragic loss by an insensitive idiot who yet again proves that modern day players are completely removed from the real world.
Away days for Fergie
Sir Alex Ferguson is unhappy that his Manchester United side have been saddled with a load of away games immediately after their playing in the Champions League. The pattern will continue after they meet Villarreal and Alborg in their remaining two fixtures as well. His point is well made but if you are hoping for other managers to support his argument, then I suggest you don’t hold your breath. Three years ago, the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho suggested that league fixtures were weighted against his team as they always played away on a Saturday after midweek games in Europe while rivals Arsenal always seemed to get an extra days rest before turning out at home on a Sunday. He too, like Ferguson, had the facts to back him up. As it happens this season, Chelsea and indeed Liverpool do seem to have enjoyed an easier ride while Arsenal as well as United have had to hit the road more often than not after a European midweek jaunt. Next season it’ll probably turn out the other way. At least Fergie can rejoice in the fact that his Air Miles must be going through the roof.
AFC Wimbledon may have bowed out of the FA Cup on Monday, but the sheer fact that they were in the first round at all was a stupendous effort. The club was founded just 6 years ago by aggrieved former fans of Wimbledon FC and, having held open trials on the local common, they started off life in the Combined Counties League. Promotions and a 78 match unbeaten run followed and they now sit a very handy 4th in the Blue Square League, South. The club made about £100,000 from their cup run and the match was screened live by satellite station Setanta. It wasn’t quite a fairy tale ending but if you ever need to draw inspiration from this great sport, AFC Wimbledon isn’t a bad place to start looking.
How brilliant are football contracts? I wish they could be brought in to the larger work place. Man Utd star Cristiano Ronaldo is about 18 months in to a £125,000 per week, 5 year deal and yet his representative has apparently met with United officials to discuss a new long term agreement and pay rise. True, United could be worried about an obscure Uefa rule which allows players under the age of 28 to buy themselves out of a contract but as for Ronaldo – 5 years at £125k a week? That’s £32.5 million over the period of the deal, not including endorsements. Just how rich does he or his agent need to be?