I think that, when challenged, UEFA’s reluctance to meet Manchester City in a court of law says it all really. “I think it alters perception enormously,” Jack says, noting that Canadian men, if they played overseas, have rarely been more than bit players on big clubs. Tuesday: Allegations emerge that FIFA official Jack Warner took a bung to deliver the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. “It’s going to be a massive, massive challenge for him,” Jack says. So I am not just Manchester City’s cheerleader; I will support anybody who breaks this entitled, elite cartel – and as the rich clubs have made money the only passport, I am not going to judge people for using it. Going into that fixture, City were two points behind leaders Arsenal, with a game in hand, and three points clear of third-placed Chelsea. Minister for Sport Helen Grant, who has still to live down naming Manchester United rather than Wigan as FA Cup holders, will need to improve her football knowledge before she is due in Sao Paulo for England’s second group game against Uruguay in June. Unsurprisingly, then, his £54million transfer to Manchester City is being interpreted as a sign of the madness at the heart of the English game.
You may be right that City are here to stay, but if that is the case so are the other much bigger clubs, too. Now this. Without a financial paper trail or a bug in the manager’s office traceable to Moody, there really is no case to answer. It is a noble approach, but there will always be those who prefer a more finite measure of success, and they tend to be the unhappy ones. The website says the gloves feature ‘Puma’s world-famous disc closure system’ – a rotating dial on the back which, when turned, pulls the gloves closed, meaning keepers can avoid the moment when the Velcro strap is worn out and the gloves can no longer be secured – a watershed point when you should probably invest in some new ones. When Sheik Mansour’s billions have turned the Premier League into a one-horse race where his club can win the title six, seven or eight times in a row, what will Samuel say then?
You rail against the way the big six are so far ahead of the rest and how it isn’t good for football, and then you write that it is good that we have six teams that can win it and that we are lucky. Good financial management. Hard work got them all there? Charging Shaw is real butterfly-on-a-wheel stuff, but if it stops dubious novelty bets, and bookmakers who see sport as a vehicle to promote their interests, it won’t have been the FA’s worst work. In the exceptional cases of Real Madrid and Barcelona the big money statement signings are decided in the boardroom then executed by the director of football because the head coach is seen as disposable. Roma held a four-day meeting in London last week to discuss the restructure of the club although coach Rudi Garcia is expected to stay. Pep Guardiola could stay but then I doubt he would as the money brought him here. He is an outstanding player as he’s shown in his time here at the club. Ronald Koeman spoke last week saying Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama were part of the future at St Mary’s and were not for sale, neither player has been informed of any offer.
I’ll admit, I never thought of that last part, Peter. Sir Mo Farah went to a U2 gig last week and, as often happens in the world of celebrity, felt the need to tweet a photograph of himself with a person he’d clearly never met before, simply because they are both famous. So while on the subject of shallow understandings, maybe you need to do a little more research before spouting your drivel. He would need to show greater commitment to the cause than that. By the time the rules were applied, however, City were a bigger threat and Chelsea so much part of the protectionist cartel that they actively supported FFP. I’m very careful not to defend breaking the rules. We’ve witnessed an orchestrated media campaign against the club for daring to sell to a billionaire who actually put his hand in his pocket to make the side better, and we’ve been accused of all sorts – from being the first team to field an entirely foreign side, to buying players to stop other teams getting them, to breaking transfer rules.