Tag Archives: Mike Newell

Corruption in English Football: A Field Guide

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Editor’s note: Brian, whose own marvelous Run of Play blog you really should be sure not to miss out on, will be bringing his brand of insight and irreverance weekly to Pitch Invasion.

In light of yesterday’s sensational arrests for fraud and corruption in football (scene: Police officers in riot gear swarm through the door of a modest Portsmouth home. MRS. HARRY REDKNAPP, clad in a nightgown, with curlers in her hair and a rolling pin in her hand, retreats with a shriek while her HUSBAND, flexing enormously, disappears under a mountain of policemen. Suddenly, a roar comes from under the pile, and Harry heaves them off, standing with a gleam of mad laughter in his eye as cops go flying) today seems like a good day to take a look at the state of the various corruption investigations in recent English football. I can’t keep them straight to save my life, but it doesn’t matter, because the first rule of any good corruption investigation is that you never worry much about the facts.

There are three basic levels of corruption in football: trivial, apocalyptic, and Italian. The lines of demarcation between these levels are extremely well-defined. Apocalyptic corruption becomes Italian corruption at the precise moment when a falling human body completes its descent from a seventh-story window. Trivial corruption becomes apocalyptic corruption when it happens within fifty feet of a reporter from the Daily Mirror. Of the three major corruption investigations in English football recently, all have involved merely apocalyptic corruption, although a full-scale Italian rating could still be achieved if someone makes Harry Redknapp angry at a sufficient height above sea level. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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