The Week That Was

There’s something rotten in the way so many of our clubs have been run and we’ve been banging on about it for years. Clubs risking their future for the sake of throwing multi-million pound contracts at players who couldn’t care less. Debt free clubs mortgaging themselves to the hilt at the behest of unwelcome new owners. Fans squeezed for every last penny - show your loyalty with latest must-have club credit card at only 1000% APR! No thanks.

It’s all starting to have an impact on the pitch at the likes of Pompey, West Ham, Manchester United, and Liverpool while rumours have long been doing the rounds that Hull are in difficulties.

And that’s just the Premier League, of course. Further down fans at Cardiff, Chester, Notts County, Stockport, and many more have every reason to feel worried. It’s obviously simplifying matters to bung all these clubs into the same list and pretend they have the exact same problems but for the sake of our game this has to be sorted.

When the times were good it wasn’t exactly cool to keep banging on about ownership and we weren’t always popular for doing just that. It’s easier to bask in the glory of the Premier League being ‘the best in the world’ than worry about debt.

The mainstream media has cottoned on now and a lot of the better writers out there are doing state-of-the-game pieces. The Mirror’s Oliver Holt was well worth a read as he paid tribute to fan groups such as MUST and SOS while last Saturday’s Indie was pretty FSF heavy. Nice to see.

West Ham’s new owners, ex-Brum supremos David’s Gold and Sullivan, were lapping up the attention this week following their takeover of the Hammers. The Telegraph’s Paul Kelso soberly reported that the jury was still out on the duo, although it was difficult to concentrate on the article, such was the garishness of Sullivan’s jacket.

The troubles at Portsmouth have been well documented, the newly formed Pompey Trust has even been offered a 10% stake in the club, and fans are coming together to march on Fratton Park this Saturday and protest over the club’s debt. Someone who might want to join them is Sol Campbell, he’s got a vested interest after all given he’s suing Pompey for £1.7m in bonuses and image rights. Image rights? £1.7m? How many Sol bedspreads and mugs were they planning on selling?

Meanwhile the FA, obviously sick of all this bad debt, were stepping in and insisting that top-flight clubs must control player wages in order to keep football sustainable? As Supporters’ Direct point out, it’s for the Women’s Super League, but it’s a start!

It’s not too often Irish football catches our attention but there was a right scrap at the Newry v Larne cup match as the ref had to abandon the game with eight minutes left. It looked a proper fight too, no handbags in those pictures anyway. Ouch. Considering the levels of violence involved players are going to be looking at lengthy bans.

If only no one had seen it - just like S4C's Welsh language football show Sgorio in fact. According to Popbitch (yes, we know) their December 14th show picked up a grand total of zero viewers, or so say official audience figures.

Until next week, enjoy the weekend!

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