Difficult questions with no easy answers
It’s happening…or maybe not…who knows? (1) With the Premier League apparently aiming to start next season on the weekend of September 12-13, the pressure is well and truly on with regards to the current season’s completion. The best guesstimate of when English footie will restart is roughly mid-June, assuming that the nasty virus doesn’t rear its ugly little head between now and then. Obviously, if it does, then all bets are off. The apparent intention is for season 2019-20 to end with the FA Cup final on August the 8th so any further delay in getting going will leave precious little room for maneuver. With the doomsday scenario in mind, the option of deciding league placings by a points per game formula is being explored; this option is almost certain to be challenged by negatively affected clubs and as per usual nobody will benefit, other than the legal profession. Case in point Aston Villa; Villa would be the big losers under the proposed system because as things currently stand they are in 19th place in the table and would be relegated along with Norwich and Bournemouth. But, and it’s a huge but, if they were allowed to play their game in hand against Sheffield United and win that game they would jump up to 16th and Watford would be relegated in their place. The implications for Villa in not being permitted to play that game are massive, not only financially, but also for the long term future of the club; there would be problems for other clubs regarding place money and European qualification but they pail into insignificance compared to Villa’s potential plight. There’s also the little matter of what should happen regarding promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the Championship. Sometime next week the Championship clubs will vote on a proposal to curtail their season and again decide placings based on PPG. Should this proposal be accepted while the Premier League actually completes its season then Norwich, Bournemouth, and Villa will all be consulting their briefs as to why they should be relegated only to be replaced by clubs that failed to play a full season. To sum up there are no easy answers, only difficult questions but if it was down to me I would when/if the season restarts get Sheffield United-Villa, and Manchester City-Arsenal played as soon as possible so at least if it comes down to something as arbitrary as PPG then all the clubs would have played the same number of games.
Hot sticky balls
As the Premier League clubs have been slowly but surely resuming small scale training ready for the possible off, an unexpected problem has come to light; following government regulations the balls are regularly doused in disinfectant and that substance has apparently rendered the balls sticky to the touch and altered the flight characteristics of said balls. There’s been no mention thus far as to what chain reaction occurs when sticky ball meets up with hair gel but it wouldn’t surprise me to see more players than usual getting crew cuts or even shaving the lot off.
It’s happening…or maybe not…who knows? (2) Seemingly Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decreed that Silverstone should host two Grands Prix in August and has ordered his underlings to “make it happen.” The fly in the ointment, however, is his governments decree that starting in June all UK arrivals with few exceptions must self-isolate for two weeks and obviously F1 teams cannot operate under such restrictions. As things stand, F1 currently has no exemption from the quarantine diktat but it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if that status was reviewed and reversed, which begs the question, if they can do it for F1 why not for football, cricket, tennis, rugby, etc.? Already reeling from a number of questionable actions during the Covid 19 crisis, does the UK government really want to open another controversial can of worms? Personally I want to see sport start up again, but only if it is safe to do so and not while the general public is still under the government cosh, there have been way too many examples of hypocrisy from our betters thus far and we really don’t need more of the same.
Last week’s question; which old style club chairman on replying to an interviewer asking “First Division Champions. I suppose for the directors of the club it has been one long season of wine, women and song?” replied: “I don’t remember us doing too much singing” The answer is the legendary John Cobbold who along with his brother Patrick, became firstly directors in 1947 and then held the reins at Ipswich between 1957 and 1976. The seriously well-connected brothers, who hailed from landed gentry and were the heirs and owners of the Tolly Cobbold brewery, were famed for their lavish boardroom entertaining, which led to their opposite numbers around the country demanding to know if the Cobbolds were travelling with the club to Ipswich’s away games, so they could lay on the expensive wines the brothers were accustomed to. The Cobbolds also gave the country two England managers in Alf Ramsey and Bobby Robson respectively. In this day and age of dodgy billionaires and iffy nation states owning our football clubs, to me the Cobbolds are a reminder of gentler and more equitable times the like of which we’ll never see again. This week; ‘Whispering Death’ The Galloping Major’ ‘The Big Easy,’ who’s nicknames are these?
Did you hear about the two Brits who failed in their attempts to ‘rescue’ the wife of one of them from the strong currents prevalent down Sardunya Bay last weekend? Fortunately there were two Russian girls on hand to do what the Brit lads couldn’t and bring the lady in question safely back to terra firma. Britannia rules the waves? I think not; oh the shame of it.
I found it quite amusing that the comely ladies (and men) of Miraoglu Sok in Karsiyaka required padded cushions to be provided for them in Jessic last weekend; this after 68 days in lockdown and all the excessive food consumption that duly occurred? I mean, work it out, excess food plus inactivity equals?