MUCH of the media spotlight this last week has been on Scottish football with the disgraceful scenes at the Celtic v Rangers Scottish Cup replay in Glasgow. But another item which emerged from north of the border was the decision to start next season’s Scottish Premier League on July 23, the competition’s earliest ever start.
Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, who was at the forefront of the Glasgow ‘melee’ is not happy about the July start: He has been quoted as saying: “It’s three weeks earlier than we wanted. There’s no winter break, which I thought was the point of bringing the season back earlier, so we’re not altogether delighted about things.”
Mind you, not too many people, including senior police officers and Scottish politicians, were too delighted with Lennon’s touchline clash with the Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist on Wednesday night. A top-level summit is to be held in Scotland to discuss serious disorder surrounding games between Celtic and Rangers.
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond described the ill-tempered clash as “shameful. Three Rangers players were sent off, the referee issued a total of 13 yellow cards and there were several touch-line and tunnel confrontations. Thirty four arrests were made inside the inside the stadium. In the run up to the game, the Scottish Police Federation – the police officers union – called for a ban on Old Firm games in Glasgow, saying they led to too much violence. The fallout from the game prompted Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House to call for a summit to address disorder issues surrounding the fixture. Maybe the solution is to not only have an early start to the SPL season but to impose an early morning kick-off for Celtic-Rangers games, say 6.0am! That should cool everyone down a bit.
According to the BBC, England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup involved using the Duke of York’s relationship with the Qatari royal family to try and gain a voting alliance. Now this is the man who gets flown around the world as a ‘trade ambassador’ trying to drum up business for the UK in such reputable places as Libya and was this weekend criticised over his friendship with a convicted paedophile, the American financier Jeffrey Epstein. Although it would have been nice to see the World Cup staged on these shores, personally I’m glad he failed.
My personal opinion is that our royal family is a complete and utter waste of time and money and not only that, I bet they don’t know the first thing about the offside rule.
At last, the football authorities have got something right. It seems that the International FA Board is to ban neck warmers; so-called snoods. These ridiculous footballing ‘fashion items’ have become popular amongst some of the many foreign imports in the English game but now the administrators have clamped down.
Now the big question is – will the likes of Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri will able to survive the English winter next year?
Ah, poor things …