Scudamore on Hiding to Nothing
Richard Scudamore flies out to meet Sepp Blatter this week as he tries to persuade the FIFA President that his idea for a ’39th international round’ of matches in the Premier League is a good one.
Bearing in mind that Blatter has already stated that “this will never happen while I run FIFA”, he’s probably got a bit of a job on his hands. Indeed, not only do FIFA not like the plans but UEFA, the FA and Football League aren’t keen, Liverpool and Manchester United have expressed concerns, cities around the world offering to stage matches have been conspicuous by their absence and even the man who came up with the idea, former British Airways boss Sir Rod Eddington from the sports mad city of Melbourne has said that he doesn’t think the proposal will get any further. And when an airline executive tells you an idea isn’t gonna fly, it’s best to take stock and listen.
Not so Scudamore who insists that the 39th round is still at the exploratory stage. Fine. If he wants to spend even more time exploring just how many more people and organisations hate the idea then so be it. But perhaps he could better spend his time investigating just why so many individuals in the game have given such a negative reaction. A place to start, maybe, is his own assumption that everyone on the planet wants to see yet more Premier League action as it’s “the best league in the world.” As one critic put it recently “the Premier League is about 4 teams trying to win the title and the other 14 trying to avoid relegation.” Quite.
Wenger went too far
We’ve all come out and said things we’ve regretted in the heat of the moment as Arsene Wenger demonstrated at the weekend. Angered by the foul and horrible injury to Eduardo, Wenger said that Martin Taylor should “never play football again.” However, Wenger realising that he’d gone too far had the good grace to retract his comments later on in the day admitting they were “excessive.” Grabbing the managers for quotes and interviews straight after a game may make for good copy or entertaining TV, but invariably, they come out with a load of old twaddle. Much better to wait for the dust to settle and then approach them. They’ll probably make a lot more sense.
Gazza in Need
Everyone in the game seems to be genuinely saddened by the sectioning of Paul Gascoigne under the Mental Health Act. Some famous names have been quick to offer help and support and that’s been good to see. Admittedly, Gazza hasn’t helped himself since retiring but then again, too many people closely associated with the former England international haven’t exactly done too much for him either.
As his former England boss Graham Taylor put it “he would give people the last penny in his pocket but I know round about him for many years, there have been many people who have taken the last penny from his pocket.”
Having battled addiction and health problems over the past few years, it’s reassuring to know that Gascoigne is getting professional help. When he gets released, ready again to face the world, its then we’ll see who his real friends are and what they are prepared to do by him.
Britain in UEFA Cup
Congratulations to Spurs, Everton, Rangers and Bolton for reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. But it’s a real shame that Bolton’s achievements in particular were over shadowed by the actions of the Spanish police before, during and after their nil – nil draw at Athletico Madrid. David Lea, Chief Superintendant of Greater Manchester Police, who was at the game, said the Spanish officers were “very heavy handed” and “far too quick to use their batons”. Worryingly for UEFA, a Spanish police spokesman said the problems were “just the usual at any football game”. If that’s the case, I think I’ll stick to watching La Liga at home on the TV and risk incurring the wrath of the Mrs, especially now I’ve hidden the rolling pin.
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