Day: January 22, 2011

UEFA Financial Fair Play On Radio 5: An Idiots Guidance

There are times when it dawns on you just how dirt cheap the BBC licence is. It dawned on me most recently when I tried to calculate how much of a refund I would be due for 26 minutes, the length of the Radio 5 Live ‘Monday Night Club’ debate on Uefa’s ‘Financial Fair Play’ (FFP) regulations. To be fair to the BBC, any proper debate on Uefa’s complex but largely common sense regulations would need a full hour at least. However, even in thirty minutes – less the news and travel – I feel I had a right to expect more than this wretched, miserable attempt to address the issues involved. I’d equate the discussion produced by Steve Claridge, Ian McGarry and John Motson on January 17th with a closing time pub discourse but that would do a disservice to the quality of drunken debate.  My hopes were not high after presenter Mark Chapman announced that BBC journo Ian Dennis was to guide the participants through the proposals and then asked Dennis “what are you laughing at?” But I did not expect the intellectual summit to be the pre-recorded interview with Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore. Scoo produced his usual contradictory bluster and nonsense. But in comparison to the studio contributions, he came across as a deep thinker. You sensed Dennis didn’t have faith in his knowledge...

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The Olympic Stadium’s Legacy Must Be As It Was Intended

The final submissions, then, are complete and now comes the waiting game. The tug of war over the Olympic Stadium has become one of the more unseemly events of the football season so far, a desperate battle for a piece of land that very few people involved in football had a great deal of interest until it became clear that there was a chance of building a vast, new stadium there on the (relatively) cheap. With an open letter issued by a group of former British Olympians stating that removing the track from the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 games would mean that the stadium would, “effectively become an Olympic Stadium with NO Olympic connection or legacy”, the question of whether Premier League football should be muscling in on what was supposed to be a legacy for British athletics is one that has finally become something of an issue over the last few days, and this is a question that should be at the forefront of the minds of those making the final decision over this issue. Tottenham Hotspur’s bid for the stadium seems to have little going for it other than that they will get a new stadium for £200m less than if they stay in N17 (which is questionable in itself) and the fact that they will be able to turn an operating profit from it. How...

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Terry Butcher: Man of the Moment

It’s taken a long time for Terry Butcher to make himself anything like as popular as a manager as he once was as a player, but this week the growing respect he has been earning for his achievements at Inverness has been further enhanced in the eyes of many by his plain-speaking on the subject of league reconstruction. Butcher had his most successful playing days up in Scotland, but without being universally popular. Playing for one half of the Old Firm is of course going to have that effect, and he was one of the players convicted of breach of the peace after a particularly stormy Glasgow derby in 1987. Earlier in the same year he’d campaigned actively for Maggie Thatcher at the general election, which wasn’t the way to make yourself many friends north of the border either. His managerial career started back down south, way back in 1990 and initially as a player / manager, with an unsucessful spell at Coventry, then an even less successful spell at Sunderland. There were to be a few years in the wilderness before he got his next chance in 2002, back in Scotland with Motherwell. Here at last he did okay, keeping the club steady and taking them to a cup final despite off-the-field turmoil that included an spell in administration. Leaving in 2006 turned out to be a mistake,...

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