By Jim Thornton:
No Place Like Home
We all know that the SPL was devised and set up to suit the Old Firm at the expense of the Rebel Ten, although no one in the corridors of power would ever admit this. But now it seems that Neil Doncaster and his men have effectively let the cat out of the bag.
The league will allocate Celtic a home game on the weekend of 11/12 August to enable the Parkhead club to play their joker and meet Real Madrid in a ‘glamour friendly’ in the US. A spokesman for the SPL says that any club scheduled to play at home that weekend can similarly apply for an opt-out. He goes on to say that Rangers will be one of the teams given a home fixture.
(At this point, anyone unfamiliar with Scottish football would, of course, wonder why the SPL would give a friendly match priority over the only competition they’re responsible for, and which is their whole raison d’etre. Which begs the question: Should the SPL just forget about the Rebel Ten and a league competition, and concentrate instead on organising ‘glamour friendlies’ for the Old Firm?)
In any event, the genie’s out of the bottle, and opt-outs are here to stay. But why should the Old Firm get first bite of the cherry when it comes to money-spinning friendlies? In the present case, you can hardly argue with Celtic being nominally allocated a game at Parkhead for the weekend in question; the early bird etc. But why not give other sides the chance to ask for a similar opt-out on a first-come, first-served basis when they’ve arranged a friendly match? At the time of writing, Rangers don’t have a ‘glamour friendly’ lined up for that weekend, so why are they getting this preferential treatment? Why not, say, Kilmarnock? Or Dundee Utd? Or am I being naïve?
Their game, their rules?
Can you honestly blame Alan Thompson if he did like a sherbet, as it’s alleged? After all, how would you fancy having to sit beside Neil Lennon in the dug-out for an hour and a half every week? Your head would be bursting as well.
And so what if the Celtic coach did meet Allan McGregor in his west-end local? I’m sure Greegsy was just there for the pub quiz.
Pants on Fire
Cardiff City bosses have reneged on their promise not to change the club’s jerseys from blue to red. Even Craig Whyte didn’t try that one on Gers’ fans.
But at least QPR supporters don’t have to worry that their club’s proposed new stadium will be too far from Loftus Road. After all, chief executive Philip Beard has assured them: ‘We need to stay in the area if we can. That is almost a must.’
‘If we can’? ‘Almost a must’? As Sue Barker would say: ‘And now for the what happens next round.’
In the past week or so:
Garry O’Connor got done for possessing cocaine;
Derek Riordan was barred from entering the middle of Edinburgh at night following a pub fracas;
Joey Barton was lifted after a fight outside a Liverpool nightclub; and
Chris Humphrey got kicked-out of the Jamaican World Cup squad after breaking a curfew with convicted sex offender Marlon King.
Who’s going to cover the SPL on the Beeb next season? Sportscene or Crimewatch?
Return of the Seven?
Hibs have said they’ll try to re-sign some of the seven loan players they had on their books last season. Why? Even RBS didn’t sign up to as many toxic loans.
I hope England get to wear their new navy-blue away tops at Euro 2012. Then they might play as if they were Scotland in disguise.
Know What I Mean, Gary?
And to help you watch the Euros on TV, here’s a quick guide to what the pundits really mean.
Defending too far back – The defence are too knackered to run up the park.
Holding a high line at the back – The defence are too knackered to run back down the park.
Holding midfielder – Can’t pass.
Creative midfielder – Can’t tackle.
Reads the game well – Can’t run.
Box-to-box midfielder – Headless chicken who can run, but can’t pass or tackle.
Ball into the channels – Blooter up the park.
Target man – Player who chases blooters up the park.
Dead-ball expert – Can blooter the ball vaguely in the direction he’s facing.
Second ball – It stoated off a team-mate.
Traditional, old-fashioned ground – Like Somerset Park.
Shithole – Like Somerset Park.
Hard but fair – Dirty bastard.
Captain Courageous – Dirty bastard with an armband.
Is back to his best – His contract’s about to run out.
His form has shaded lately – He’s just signed a new contract.