Well, what a busy week it’s been. And it’s only Thursday! To think – just last week I was contemplating how long I was going to be able keep this blog going for. Much to cover tonight, and all this on the busiest day that this little corner of the internet has seen since the heady days of August last year. It’ll all settle in a day or so, though. I’m fairly certain of that. Three stories have really grabbed my attention this week so I’ll devote a little time to each of them. They are, in no particular order, the on going rumblings from SW19 over the points deduction foisted upon AFC Wimbledon in the Ryman League, the American takeover of Liverpool, and the decisions coming from Italy over what initial steps they going to take after last week’s unhappy events on Sicily.
Wimbledon Singles: The argument over the AFC Wimbledon situation has been rumbling on all day, and I don’t have an enormous amount more to say on the subject, apart from to point out briefly that a large amount of the spite thrown at them is brought about through jealousy of a well-run club, and that I still haven’t heard a convincing argument in favour of the size of their points reduction apart from “consistency” (ah, right – so it’s better to consistently make the wrong decision than it is to correct the precedent of the Conference’s equally atrocious decision to do the same thing to Altrincham last year then, is it?) and “rules are rules” (which is an absolutely, utterly feeble rationale – we might as well do away with all football committees and replace them with a computer). My position will remain unchanged until I hear something more convincing than that. It’s not going to happen, is it? Meanwhile, I’m considering taking a trip to Kingsmeadow on Saturday for their match against Bromley, to gauge the feeling after what has been a somewhat tumultuous week.
The Best A Man Can Get: So, a couple of years ago, Manchester United were bought out by the Glazer family who loaded them with a barrel load of debt, but they’re top of the Premiership now, so who cares? Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed “Best Supporters In The World” carried on in their God-given role as the Guardians Of The Heart & Soul Of Football. Skip forward two and a half years, and the billionaires George Gillett and Tom Hicks step in, offer a couple of hundred million quid for them and… the silence is deafening. Never mind the fact that they’ve already called them “the Liverpool Reds” and described the club as a “franchise”. They’ll throw even more cash into the pockets of “superstar” footballers. They’re building a sparkly new 70,000 seater stadium. And they’ll probably be selling naming rights to it, as well. Let’s get one thing absolutely straight here: these guys aren’t throwing money into Liverpool out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re businessmen, and they’re out to make a profit. And who will they ultimately make a profit from? As I respect your intelligence, I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question. Meanwhile, the top four will continue to sail off the distance, leaving the also-rans behind. Ouch. That was another small part of me dying.
Italian Stallions: Well, the Italian government has spoken, and they meant it. No evening matches at all until at least the end of February, closed doors at anywhere that isn’t up to scratch (including the San Siro – Milan are rumoured to be considering playing their home matches in Switzerland or France for the forseeable future), no block sales of tickets to away supporters, clubs to sever financial links with Ultra groups and a whole raft of other measures. Some club presidents have been grumbling and talking about taking strike action, but I find it highly unlikely that it will come to that. After all, the clubs are hardly in a strong bargaining position at the moment, are they?