THE REVIEW IS IN
Following the publication of the government’s fan-led review into football governance, The Fiver’s immediate and entirely predictable reaction was to wait for some industrious Big Boy News reporter to spare us the bother of reading its 162 pages by distilling the contents into a short list of easily digestible bite-sized bullet points. In total, the review published no fewer than 47 recommendations to safeguard the future of the game in England; among them calls for a stamp duty-style tax on every transfer fee to help support the football pyramid, a new independent regulator to oversee financial regulation and monitor owners, the introduction of a legally binding “golden share” for fans to help protect the heritage of their clubs, better treatment for women’s football and … 42 other things.
The reaction of the punditocracy to the contents of the review has been largely positive, while the good folk at the Football Supporters’ Association say “it offers an unprecedented opportunity to overhaul the power structures of the domestic game – giving fans a voice at the heart of football”. Perhaps more importantly, the fact the review was overseen by Tracey Crouch serves as another ringing endorsement. While the MP for Chatham and Aylesford may be a Tory, she is far from the worst of them. Indeed, the fact there is no place for her among the gallery of rogues, liars, spivs, charlatans and self-serving hypocritical lickspittles that currently serve on Boris Johnson’s front bench serves only to bolster her credentials as a woman of integrity.
If further proof that Crouch’s review is worth far more than the reams of paper it’s printed on was needed, it was provided on Thursday morning when Aston Villa’s Christian Purslow was the first of what one imagines will be a stampede of like-minded Premier League suits out of the blocks to sniffily criticise its contents and declare it risked “killing the golden goose” that has, in his wrong opinion, been so generous to financially straitened clubs over the years.
Showing no sign of even passing familiarity with the document he was rubbishing, he harrumphed at length about there being no one catch-all quick-fix for the €uropean $uper £eague, the failure of Bury and the impact of Covid – the original issues which had prompted the review. “They, I would argue,” he began arguing, “are very, very different issues in the game and it feels unlikely that there’s one recommendation that would fit all three of those very different problems.” Which is why there are 47 of them, Christian. Do try to keep up.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I don’t really want the interview to be about me” – Luton Town assistant manager Mick Harford talks to Ben Fisher about being overwhelmed by support since his prostate cancer diagnosis.
“Watching that imbalanced mess of a team burdened by the ego of one of the best players ever getting torn apart by Manchester City, I realised why Mauricio Pochettino might want to go to Manchester Unit … oh” – Admir Pajic.
“I’m sat on a rail replacement bus that doesn’t get me home until 2.30am. But I’m (the only one) still smiling, the latest leg on my journey to set a new Guinness world record for watching a game at all 92 grounds in the fastest time having taken me to Ewood Park. The club arranged a press pass for me, I’ve seen my biggest win of the season so far (4-0), I did an interview for BBC Radio Lancashire at half-time, I’ve had my best pie of the season (9/10 for the Clayton Park potato, onion and cheese), and I’ve just broken the £750 barrier for mental health charity Mind. Feeling very happy. Anyone who isn’t, you will do. I promise” – Desmond Hinks.
“Re: yesterday’s Fiver. I have to point out that, much as your article and the situation at Oldham pulls at the old heartstrings, you finally printed an inaccuracy (semantically speaking). Luton and Notts County were both founder signatories of the Premier League. Without both signatures, football would never have begun in August 1992. Sure, they never kicked a ball of the newly-invented foot variety. But that’s because they were both selfless devotees of the wider interests of the game, allowing themselves to be relegated from the top flight of English non-football in May 1992. Luton made it to non-league in 2009, a whole 13 years earlier than Oldham could make it. And Notts County achieved it in 2019” – James.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Desmond Hinks.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Wigan forward Charlie Wyke is stable in hospital after collapsing during training earlier this week.
Former Italy and Juventus striker Fabrizio Miccoli has had a sentence of three-and-a-half years in the clink upheld. Miccoli was found guilty in 2017 of approaching the son of a mafia boss to recover €12,000 from a nightclub owner on behalf of a former Palermo club physio.
Manchester United are in advanced talks with Ralf Rangnick over becoming interim manager until next summer.
After barely six months in charge at Sheffield United, Slavisa Jokanovic has been binned off in favour of Paul Heckingbottom, who has been given a Pardewesque contract until 2026.
Emile Heskey is temporarily at the wheel of Leicester City Women after manager Jonathan Morgan was told to Do One. “This season has been disappointing, with [knack] contributing to a difficult start but we haven’t achieved the results we had hoped for,” sighed Morgan after eight WSL defeats out of eight.
Mikel Arteta would quite like Arsène Wenger back at Arsenal in some capacity. “What I can say is from my side and I can talk, I think, on behalf of everybody, is that we would be delighted to have him much closer,” tooted Arteta. Perhaps it would be better for the game if Arsenal only played every two years?
And hats off – at least in part – to Brentford, who are keeping their home kit for another year. “Fans have told us that they would be in favour of the savings,” cheered chief suit Jon Varney. “For those fans keen to purchase a new shirt each season, we can confirm we will have a new away and a new third kit for the 2022-23 season.” Ah.
Football Weekly Extra is right here.
No Christmas party again this year? Then you’re cordially invited to Football Weekly’s very own one on … checks notes … 30 November. Tickets are available now.
STILL WANT MORE?
Is “new manager bounce” really a thing? Ben McAleer has a delve.
Barney Ronay swoons over the manner in which Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva gave PSG a Big Cup schooling.
Formiga ends a phenomenal international career for Brazil’s women later, having played in seven Olympics and seven World Cups. Suzanne Wrack pays tribute to ‘the goat, for real’.
And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!