In the end, my wife was right (shh). We were both sitting at home yesterday afternoon (don’t ask), and I wanted to put on the Man Utd-Wolves game at Old Trafford on the TV. Hell, it was bonus Premier League midweek football, right? Well, quite frankly, she wasn’t having it. I should note at this point she is a Celtic, Tottenham and Chicago Fire fan, so she is far from opposed to the beautiful game in principle at all. But she said this game was pointless, she had no interest in these teams, and it was going to be boring anyway. So the Travel Channel won the day instead.
Now, I can’t speak to the actual action, but the 3-0 scoreline to Man Utd and the fact Wolves changed their entire outfield team from the one that beat Spurs at the weekend suggests she made the right call in choosing Anthony Bourdain over that. The game was pointless. “Forty two quid to watch the reserves” came the frustrated chant from the away fans who had traveled to Manchester, with Wolves CEO Jez Moxey today offering heartfelt emotional support to them by saying “We have no plans to refund the £42 that they were chanting about, although we do have an empathy with them.”
Ah, that’s nice, then. The league, meanwhile, has asked Wolves for an explanation of the team fielded, since somewhere in the arcane rules they never enforce there’s a dusty line about teams needing to field their best teams available. Which is why all Wolves have been saying since is that they fielded their best team available, even though that’s patently not true. This, of course, is not the same as saying it wasn’t the best decision for Wolves in the longer view of the season (200% disagrees, though).
All in all, I bet some of those Wolves fans wish they had a wife like mine and had sat on their sofas watching the Travel Channel instead of, well, actually travelling.
- Poor Watford are on the brink of going under financially, facing administration (“The Championship side’s parent company, Watford Leisure, has been asked to pay back £4.9m in loans before the close of business on Wednesday”), with their entire board resigning yesterday. Let this be another salutory reminder of the economic issues plaguing English football: it’s just over two years since Watford were in the supposed promised land of the Premier League, after all. A promotion and relegation system is all very nice and all in competitive terms, but without more revenue sharing or a salary cap, it’s also a disaster waiting to happen for club after club.
- England’s potential World Cup host cities have been revealed, and the Guardian has one of their nice interactive maps to look at. I’m most depressed to see Milton Keynes included.
- An Argentinian fans’ group is forming promising to clean up hooliganism in the game, and is looking for some government support. I’d be very curious to learn more about this, beyond this rather pithy piece. Anyone?
- Paul Doyle has a pretty good piece on the hypocritical English attitude to diving: “why is diving by English footballers so often overlooked? English footballers are as hypocritical as randy clergymen when it comes to preaching one thing and doing another.”
- UEFA.com has the details on this year’s revenue distribution in the Champions League, so here’s what Liverpool missed out (excluding even performance bonuses from the group stage): “the 16 teams that reached the first knockout round will each collect €3m, the eight quarter-finalists €3.3m apiece, and the four semi-finalists €4m each. The winners of the final in Madrid on 22 May will pocket €9m and the runners-up €5.2m.”
- Premier League managers are once again moaning about losing players to the African Nations Cup, as if the tournament has suddenly sprung up on them and been scheduled just to mess with the Premier League calendar. How rude of an entire continent to mess with England.
The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.