Gerald Sinstadt: Chickens coming home to roost for Blackburn and Co
IT'S nearly all over. In a couple more weeks domestic football will be done and dusted. Promotion and relegation settled. Trophy cabinets enlarged where necessary. Wives beginning to think Saturday afternoons are shopping afternoons.
If only it were that tidy. The problem with season 2011-12 is all the loose ends, the unanswered questions. There are certain things we need to be told.
1) Goal line technology – coming to a stadium near you?
IT'S what we've all been waiting for, isn't it? But do we know yet who will pay for it? About £100,000 per stadium was the last estimate I saw, so call it £2m for the Premier League.
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Never mind the VAT, won't it be worth every penny to remove doubt for ever? I mean, you don't hear of technology going wrong, do you? Well, not often, anyway. Don't even think about it.
By the way, has anyone told us how will it be applied in the FA Cup? Suppose Port Vale and Stoke City come out of the goldfish bowl together and then draw at Vale Park where there is no technology?
Will they take the chip out of the ball for the replay at the Britannia?
2 Show some Respect?
COULD we please stop treating the FA's Respect campaign as a meaningless slogan? Respect matters. If there was a policy that said "At this stadium no respect whatsoever will be shown to match officials, opposition players or visiting supporters (offensive chants and obscene gestures welcome)", would you want your club to sign up? Is that how you raise your children?
3) Where have all the tracksuit managers gone?
ARE sartorial standards in the technical area on the up? Have you noticed there's been a marked improvement in what managers wear to work on match days? Mark Hughes is a snappy dresser, but hardly more so than Roberto Martinez, Roberto di Matteo, Arsene Wenger, or Alan Pardew.
Roberto Mancini's scarf can be allowed as an Italian fashion statement, while Tony Pulis can justify his baseball cap by believing that maybe one day the sun really will shine again. But what about Owen Coyle? The Premier League might miss Bolton, but those shorts?
4) Wallies without brollies?
EVER since that photo and that headline, managers have had no option when it rains: what can they do but just stand there getting very, very wet? Mustn't they all hate Steve McClaren?
5) Gamblers Anonymous anyone?
THE manager has only been in place a few days. In fact, he's still working out his notice at his last job. Next week he has to pick an England squad, find out if his central defenders are on speaking terms, decide who'll be his captain, explain to his players what he wants them to do, try it out in a couple of friendlies, and then set off for a base he didn't choose in a different country from the one where, in 31 days from now, he will open his European Championship campaign against France.
The question is this: is there really anyone out there who has actually placed a bet on England to win the thing?
6) Wouldn't it be wonderful? Or marvellous? Or superb?
IF managers are smartening up their wardrobes, is it too much to expect that people in the communication business – commentators, reporters, pundits – brush up their vocabulary too?
There really are other adjectives besides fantastic, so would it be too much to hope for a massive, massive clear-out? If the inspector called with the bin for cliches, would they be disappointed by that?
7) Shouldn't we remember the unsung heroes?
THIS week a 10-foot high statue of Sir Bobby Robson was unveiled outside Newcastle United's stadium.
This column has remarked before about the fashion for honouring past heroes in this way.
But isn't it curious that no supporters group has thought to pay even a single tribute to those who could claim credit for the very existence of their club?
Who will be far-sighted enough to commission the first statue of the bank manager? Or the leader of the local council? Perhaps portrayed in bronze with their arms round the shoulders of the Official Administrator?
8) And finally?
AFTER a chicken was seen to invade the pitch at Ewood Park on Monday evening, will Blackburn Rovers now be charged by the FA for failing to control their layers?