Soapbox: how did Man City v Stoke become just another Saturday fixture?

Well, we’ve seen commodities we never quite expected today, sensitivity and wit from Millwall supporters horrified at the notion, accurately reported, that some of their number might want to cause trouble at Upton Park come Sunday. But let us not forget our real enemies, those upstanding folk in authority whose determination to kill off the FA Cup knows no bounds. This year’s final, when some of us would have enjoyed devoting a whole day to rooting for underdog versus moneybags, was reduced to a mere morsel of an ordinary Saturday programme. Pete Sixsmith certainly didn’t forget …

I’m paraphrasing
the title of a fondly remembered Jack Rosenthal play from the 70s here, but it just about sums up the negative attitude that many fans have about the great and the good who run our national game.

For the first time in my memory, they scheduled the FA Cup Final on the same weekend as Premier League fixtures. Not the odd left over fixture, but a whole programme. They needed to play the Final early so that UEFA could take possession of Wembley for the Champions League Final which takes place on the May 28.

Fair enough, you might say. So, switch any Saturday games to the Sunday and leave Cup Final day free for those who want to watch it and for those who escape to Scotland for the day.

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Darren Bent: no more than we expected

darren bent

The FA, in traditionally clueless fashion, mucked up the announcement of Fabio Capello’s final squad, allowing names of players supposedly omitted or included to be leaked all over the shop while, for whatever reason, dithering over an official statement. At 3pm BST, they finally got round to saying there’d be an announcement in an hour. Why couldn’t they have made this clear earlier, or explained why they couldn’t make it clear? Are they really as hard of thinking as they seem determined to appear? And so it was in the end confirmed, and to no great surprise among Sunderland fans, that Capello had found no room for Darren Bent in the 23-strong squad heading for South Africa. Darren – the great image is from Addick-TedKevin‘s Flickr pages – has learnt a sharp lesson from the Book of Certainties: to be both a Sunderland player, and chosen for England, is one of football’s tallest orders …

When Kevin Keegan picked Kevin Phillips, then the best striker in the Premier League and not even playing in a top six team, to go to Holland and Belgium for Euro 2000, some of us looked forward to seeing how our star would fare at international level.

He was never given the chance.

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Soapbox: come on England – I’m the man for the FA


Seen enough manifestos to last a liftetime, or at least until Cameron is forced to call another election? Well, here’s another all the same. “Gizza job, I can do that,” says Pete Sixsmith, putting on Yosser Hughes’s best suit to be interviewed for the vacancies left by Lord Triesman’s tumble from grace …

Once again, the Football Association is plunged into turmoil as fearless hacks from the Mail On Sunday uncover Chairman Triesman as a xenophobic ranter, accusing Russia and Spain/Portugal as being in cahoots over the 2018 World Cup bid.

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