The Week That Was

We posted last Friday’s The Week That Was before we’d heard a thing about the awful terrorist attack on Togo’s team coach which saw three murdered and many more injured. A separatist group known as the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

The event obviously received a lot of coverage, much of it pretty responsible, although it is worth reiterating that any parallels drawn between that and security concerns at the World Cup are pretty tenuous. Although we’ve still seen some, you can always rely on Phil Brown for a quote or three. However, Cabinda is a long way from South Africa and these were politically motivated attacks whereas concerns at the World Cup should centre around more common crimes such as muggings and the like.

If you are planning on travelling out to South Africa the FSF has loads of advice surrounding security, transport and accommodation. See our Fans’ Guide to South Africa website for more info and updates.

Anyway, moving on to slightly lighter subjects it was a pleasure (well, entertaining) to hear from Robbie Savage again. The blond bombshell was back in the media spotlight after calling BBC Radio Derby and berating the show’s host for suggesting the Rams’ dressing room had lost faith in Nigel Clough’s management. While his arguments, much like his tackling, might be a bit wild there’s no doubt his passion shows through and that alone seems to have encouraged most Derby fans to side with him.

More financial jiggery-pokery at Old Trafford as the Glazers try and prevent the Red Devils from drowning in the debt that they created. For years we’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that the manner in which clubs can be bought by unscrupulous owners is an absolute scandal. And the mainstream media, with some honourable exceptions, didn’t want to know. They bought the ‘debt is necessary for business’ line.

Yeah, take a club that’s in the black with no significant loans and stick a £700m mortgage on it thus creating massive debts that didn’t previously exist. Then sell your best player and cut the transfer budget in order to afford the interest payment while you’re at it. Brilliant business!

Eventually the mainstream media seems to be catching up and realising that some of our most famous clubs have got themselves into a total mess while they were looking the other way. Along with the ubiquitous phone-ins, even the famously conservative Daily Mail is getting in on the act.

Every week there seems to be another club who are on the verge of administration or winding up orders and this week it was the turn of Lewes FC. The club almost folded due to a £48,000 debt to HMRC who certainly seem to be cracking down on the football industry nowadays. Thankfully for the club’s supporters enough was raised to stave off the tax man.

Speaking of the tax man both Harry Redknapp and his former boss Milan Mandaric were charged with two counts of tax evasion each this week. Redknapp was initially arrested in 2007 and accused the police of targeting him due to his high profile. We’ll be watching how the cases progress with interest.

Looking back over the week itself there wasn’t that much football to actually talk about, given all the postponements due to bad weather. We actually think a lot more matches could have gone ahead anyway – read FSF chair Malcolm Clarke’s thoughts on that here.

One game that did go ahead was Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Reading - although they’ll probably have wished it hadn’t. The Royals’ diminutive Long shortened the odds on Rafa still be manager come May that little bit more as the Reds crashed out of the cup.

Still, not all was lost on the red half of Merseyside this week – at least they got rid of Tom Hick Jr! “Blow me, ****face!” Cultured football fans such as ourselves aren’t used to such coarse language. Good riddance you ****.

It’s also the first time since the 1950’s that both Liverpool and Manchester United have failed to make it past the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.

Not that Andre Bikey would have noticed. Burnley’s 2-1 win away to MK Dons was enlivened by superb knowledge of the competitions he plays in. Good old Andre explained how he was glad to pick up three points. After a cup game? Against a team who aren’t even in your league anyway?

When the interviewer explained this Andre corrected himself and himself and acknowledged that the second leg could be tight. Top work fella!

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