Football Shorts 4
Well, it’s another Tuesday night, and another chance for me to catch up on all the things that have been distracting my tiny brain over the last few days or so (Caution: The following posts are small items that I don’t have the time or inclination to write complete pieces about, but that I do feel warrant a mention – they’re not all meant to be taken completely seriously).
My New Scarf: I’ve got a new scarf! It’s blue and yellow striped, and it’s so comfortable on my neck that I almost kept it on all day at work all day, and would have done were it not for the fact that I would almost certainly died from heatstroke had I not. Should you be interested, I can be seen modelling it here (I’m on the right, by the way). Of course, the ownership of a new football scarf can only mean one thing, and that it the immediate onset of an unseasonal heatwave that renders the damn thing useless until the autumn. If the weather turns and there’s a mini-heatwave at the start of March, you’ll know who to blame (although those of you that remember my topless raindance will already be aware that I’m not very good at controlling the weather).
Say It Quietly: ..But the Premier League is actually pretty exciting at the moment, isn’t it? There are just seven points between Everton in fourth place and West Ham United in tenth, and any one of the teams in the top half of the table could yet harbour hopes of a top four finish. It’s a similar situation at the bottom, with only seven points between Middlesbrough in twelfth place and third-from-bottom Reading. All of this means that, with eleven or twelve matches left of the Premier League season, nineteen of the twenty sides in the Premier League are either involved in a scrap to avoid the drop or playing from the title, or a place in the Champions League. The only team not involved in either, of course, are Spurs, who have already won one trophy and are still in with a chance of winning another. Savour it – it won’t be this unpredictable again.
Wales Abandons Its Second Cup: Bad News for fans of the Welsh Premier League – the BBC have pulled the plug on £360,000 worth of sponsorship of the FAW Premier Cup. It’s complicated stuff. Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham aren’t allowed to play in the Welsh Cup, but BBC Wales stepped in to sponsor the FAW Premier Cup, complete with live coverage in BBC Wales and on the BBC Website. It hasn’t been a roaring success, and I was a witness to this last week, when I flicked onto the match between Cardiff City and Newport County, which was actually Cardiff City Reserves vs Newport County from an almost eerily empty Ninian Park. Newport have done pretty well out of taking it seriously, with the money going into a team which is having a better season in the Blue Square South for some years. Quite what Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham got out of it I don’t quite know, but Cardiff have recently had it confirmed that they won’t be able to go into the UEFA Cup should they qualify for it through the FA Cup this season (and don’t laugh – Millwall managed it a couple of years ago, and it only requires Manchester United, Chelsea and Cardiff to win their quarter-finals for this to become a distinct possibility), though they are hoping to arrange a meeting with Michel Platini with a view to getting an exemption.
A Small Victory: You all know that we haven’t heard the last of this, but at least the Premier League have had the relative good sense to abandon their talks with UEFA over The 39th Game. None of this means, of course, that the whole things is being shelved and that Old Man Scudamore is to be replaced by Tony Benn. Expect a watered down version coming soon to a press conference near you.