I meant to put something massively self-indulgent up here the other day to celebrate the 500th post on this little blog (I’ve been wearing a party hat for the last three days, in case you were wondering), but I forgot. So, I thought I’d quickly mention it here, and take the opportunity to thank all of you that occasionally stop by here. As ever, your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Suffice to say, I don’t have any major changes planned, though we did, a couple of months ago, briefly discuss sitting up all night drinking tequila and then recording a podcast which would consist of us talking over the Sunday morning repeat of “Match Of The Day”. No part of this could conceivably be a good idea. Coming up this week, a full review of the weekend’s action (I’ve been rather slacking on that front, haven’t I?), yet more Baker & Kelly and, out of recognition that football kits aren’t very often of a quality that could be considered “haute couture”, the six worst kits of all time. Meanwhile, here are some other titbits that have crossed my radar over the last few days or so.
Sepp Blatter vs The European Union: Ho hum. I don’t know whether he’s been at the sherry or not, but FIFA’s apparent current plans to challenge the EU over introducing quotas of foreign players. On the surface, there is something initially appealing about the idea (particularly in England, at a time when you can barely build a twenty-four man squad of English players), but it’s not going to happen. The EU are being asked to consider that players are “artists” rather than “workers”, but I can’t see them bending on it. Even Michel Platini, Uncle Sepp’s protege at UEFA, has gone on record as saying that it would be unworkable. It could, theoretically, be introduced voluntarily, but since the Premier League is basically run by, well, the chairmen of Premier League clubs (and the last time I checked, turkeys still don’t vote for Christmas), any voluntary scheme would be quietly pushed onto the back burner. Maybe everyone should be focussing on building strong youth systems and coaching children properly so there are more top quality English players coming through. After all, so far as I’m aware the ability to trap and pass a ball properly isn’t entirely genetic.
Surprising Crowds: Sometimes I look at the results in the newspaper and something in the statistics column will grab my eye. Last weekend (and I meant to mention this at the time but, you guessed it, I forgot), it was East Fife, who might have been forgiven for thinking that, at half-time during their Scottish League match against Stenhousemuir, that they had a hard job on their hands, having been held for a goalless forty-five minutes. They shouldn’t have done. They scored seven goals in thirty-two minutes and won the match 7-0. My magnificent midweek statistic of the week is this: the crowd reported for the European Cup match between Steaua Bucharest and Arsenal was 21,000. The crowd for the Championship match between Norwich City and Scunthorpe United was 23,600. Congratulations are due, therefore, to Scunthorpe, who can justifiably claim this week to be “a bigger draw that Arsenal”.
A Possible New Competition: I think I’ve noted on here before that, in my humble opinion, this year’s Derby County team are out of their depth in the Premier League to almost unprecedented levels. At the time of writing, they have managed to concede twenty-one goals in eight Premier League matches, and they could be on course for a record. Swindon conceded 100 goals in 1993/94, but this was over the course of a forty-two match season. Derby are on course to manage this well before the regulation thirty-eighth match. When, though, will they do it? If I can find something appropriate to offer as a prize (and, to be fair, this shouldn’t prove to be too difficult), we should be running a sweepstake on which date they’ll do it. I’ll get back to you all on how I’m going to do this, but I would suggest taking a look at their fixture list.
And Finally… The Baker & Kelly web site is starting to take shape. I will expect to see at least some of you over there, should they ever get around to enabling comments on the blog section.