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How crooked is English football: here’s a few examples

I read a strange thing today on Le Grove. Now if you read the bits and pieces here regularly you will know that we are pro-Wenger, and Le Grove are, how shall I put it, well, not.

But as I have said before, even though I don’t agree with almost all of what they say, they argue their case cogently, and I like to keep an eye on their point of view just to see where it goes.

Anyway, they were talking about the John Terry affair, and calling on Capello to sack Terry on something akin to moral grounds.

Now to me that is ludicrous, not because I care whether the Terry character has had an affair or not, but rather because Le Grove was calling on a man who has been found guilty of a whole series of serious crimes to deal with Terry on moral issues, when Capello had just paid a £6m fine to the financial police in Italy – with the question of perjury charge coming up behind.  If you want the whole story there is a link at the end of this piece.

My thoughts worked thus: I don’t blame Le Grove for not knowing about this – only a handful of websites have run the story in this country, although it is major news in Italy.  But the fact is that the press in this country are going big time into Terry and his relationship, but utterly ignoring the fact that it is hard to see how the England manager passes a fit and proper person test.

Why will the press in this country not cover the corruption of football? My guess is that because it is so all pervading and because they want to be able to keep talking to the top dogs.   Sir Alex F Word’s refusal to talk to the BBC etc because it did an expose on his son, is just amusing, but if all the managers shut up, that would be something.

In fact there are corruption stories everywhere, and indeed that was the theme of yesterday’s Making the Arsenal blog – the corruption in football when Man U and Liverpool were involved in match fixing.  Again, a link appears at the end.

So lets start with…

DERBY County, one of many clubs to have been raped by its owners.  And let me say at once that much of the information here comes from the excellent Supporters Direct news service.  (You can join it for free by emailing supporters-direct-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)

Derby is still trying to get back the money stolen from them in 2003.   The case is now one that can be openly discussed since the crooks who owned Derby have just lost their appeal.

Derby’s  former director of football a Mr Mackay and the former finance director Mr Mackenzie are serving 18 months each in a suitable institution. They are disqualified from being company directors for three years, because they are guilty of defrauding Derby County of £125,000 (plus VAT).

Also doing time is former chief executive Mr Keith, who was done for false accounting.  He was also disqualified from being a company director.  A solicitor (now ex-solicitor) he also went to prison – in his case for money laundering.

Well, you know, Derby, not exactly top league eh?

Probably not, so let’s have a look at oh, I don’t know, say Portsmouth.

The man in charge of events at Portsmouth is Daniel Azougy, who has just negotiated the sales of Younes Kaboul, to ­Tottenham, and Begovic, to Stoke, at knock down prices.  Good for Arry doing a deal like that – getting a player on the cheap from his old club.  Clever guy, Arry.

Except Mark Jacob, the solicitor who is executive director at Portsmouth, is reported to have refused to sign off the Tottenham deal on the grounds it was too cheap. But of course Arry would never do anyone out of an honest shilling – at least not at his old club, and not while he is about to appear before the beak on charges of fraud.  (I have no evidence against Arry and make no allegation).

Peter Storrie is also about to face the court, and according to the Guardian he signed off the deal arranged by Azougy.  (The ex-owner is also about to face the court, but that’s a story for another day).

So nothing wrong then – just a cheap player and some old geezers going to court.   Well…

Azougy who seems to be running the finance show at Portsmouth was convicted of fraud and deception offences in Israel and served a prison sentence.  He was also disqualified from serving as a solicitor for 14 years for “obstructing the course of justice by showing false documents to judges.”

But that was in the past, and he has done his time, so surely the poor guy needs a chance in a new country.

Except that in March 2009 Azougy was again fined given a prison sentence (suspended) and did community work for handing false documents to the Israeli stock exchange.

Pesky things these documents.

The judge in the first case said of Azougy that he was: “A sophisticated lawyer willing to do anything to reach his own personal goals. He lied, cheated, used a forged document and stole money from his clients.”

Actually that is very similar to what the Judge in the USA court said about FIFA in the credit card case where he said, “they lied, and lied, and lied again”.

Ah football.  Seems to bring out the worst in people.

So anyway, Azougy is a fit and proper person, and now he runs Portsmouth’s finances and sells players cut price to Arry.  But enough of the doom and gloom.  Let’s turn to the lighter side of football.

The club previously known as West Iceland and now known as West Porno usually manage to give us something.  That awfully nice Karen Brady previously Director of Certain Things at Birmingham is now Vice Chair at West Porno.  Funny phrase that, Vice Chair.

She said that the club would try and move to the Olympic Stadium after some sort of game type thing they are holding there, and change the club’s name to West Ham Olympic.   The Olympic busybodies then said, “the word ‘Olympic’ is our patent, and you can’t”.

What’s funny is that even I, who have no interest in Olympics, know that the body that runs the drug infested loss making event every four years protects the word very seriously and it seems Ms  Brady didn’t even check.   Perhaps even funnier is that she didn’t think that it would matter changing the club’s commonly used initials WHU to WHO.   “Who are you?” indeed.

There’s so much more, but its evening and I want a cup of tea.   Have a read of some of this…

Fab Capello and the taxman.

How Man U and Liverpool fixed relegation issues and failed to back down.

My wonderful whizzo book

Life?  It’s just 42.

(c) Tony “I ain’t done nothing wrong guv, it was the other guy” Attwood 2010.

39 comments to How crooked is English football: here’s a few examples

  • walter

    West Porno United… well one could imagine something in that name… I think they should buy John Terry and his…. “girlfriend”… 😉

  • EAC3

    Spot on…the mstery is who is responsible for deciding who is a fit and proper person to be an owner/director of a Premier league club? The FA appoint an England manager who is guilty of tax evasion but sack a previous MD for shagging his PA…as they say the world has gone mad.

  • walter

    The reason why the press does not talk about corruption is because there is no corruption in the UK, Tony. That is the privelige for countries like Italy and some Eastern Europe countries. 😉

    I think you are right that the press does not want to slaughter the chicken with the golden egs. Football brings audience, football brings readers, football sells newspapers. So in people should turn their back because they realise they have been taken by the nose they will stop watching and the bubble will burst.

    So the press has no intrest what ever to expose possible match fixing or other corruption in football. They would shoot themselves in the foot if they did.

  • BOOZY

    could we face more pressing issues, as it concerns our club

  • AGS

    I chuckle every time I see the name “West Porno” now. I think WHU should adopt it as their proper name and relocate to Soho as soon as possible.
    The media have often accused AW of being paranoid and acting as though everyone is against us. But they fail to remember that AW had his suspicions about corruption in France when he was boss at Monaco, and was proved right when it all kicked off with Marseille and that director of theirs Bernard Toupee (or whatever he was called). It puts into context many of the things he now says when he comments on things like dodgy decisions and the like. Corruption of one sort or another is rife in premier league and football in general in my opinion and it is great to read articles on this site that continually expose and remind us of the shenanigans that goes on today. Keep it up Tony. I also have admiration for the Arsenal board in doing things the right way – well in my eyes anyway. We not not like some of the decisions they make but I don’t think Arsene would’ve stuck around if he didn’t have complete faith in their integrity.

  • Hartwick89

    I think Terry Affair is indicative of the problems of corruption in the UK. It shouldn’t be separated on the basis of Moral grounds but should be added to the heeps that you sighted and will come in the next few months. It is a shame really. But, who cares as long as monies made and teams come in first.

  • Betting and sponsorship deals have contributed immensely to the dark side of football. They have surreptically and hiddenly given football a new nomenclature we are all witness to today. Although football has not lost its vital ingredients and force relative to other sports, some events are gradually unfolding. Cheats are gradually taking over. Referees are becoming blind and losing the deserved respect. Forinstance in the first leg of the arsenal-manu clash at the old trafford. Two important decisions change the course of the game for arsenal. The penalty appeal by arsenal- the infringement on arshavin by fletcher and rooney’s penalty. I dont want to be biased. The referees and everyone involved are not getting it right. o

  • walter

    Football and corruption walk hand in hand all over the world. Our FA is constantly warning refs to keep their eyes open and report anything that looks suspicious. Because they know those things happen. I don’t know if the FA ever asks the refs in England to keep their eyes open for suspicious things ? Well that is an intresting question in fact… Are they looking for suspicious things or not ?
    I can’t answer on that… is there a doctor or better said an English ref in the audience ?

  • walter

    Boozy, I dont know if you are new to this site but untold arsenal is presenting itself somewhere as : “Arsenal site that publishes news that other sites don’t cover, with a strong pro-Wenger bias”.

    Tony does bring news and articles for 95 % about Arsenal but also about football in general. And I must say that is one of the reasons many readers come here.

  • LRV

    Hartwick89 commented “I think Terry Affair is indicative of the problems of corruption in the UK. It shouldn’t be separated on the basis of Moral grounds but should be added to the heeps that you sighted and will come in the next few months.”

    I do agree with you on the basis that it is this same Terry who was illegally selling ground tours at Chelsea. That in my book is beyond mere morals. Monetary emoluments were exchanged for the ehnnn… ‘favour’. That is corruption, pure and simple.

    However, belling the cat may not be a job for the fox, as it were. As Tony rightly pointed out, Capello has a dodgy financial reputation himself. So we are caught in a corrupt loop; and breaking the loop is not a job for the corrupt.

  • Hartwick89

    LRV,

    Maybe to break the corruption FA rid Capello & Terry and Arsene can do the reverse Hiddink? eh?

  • Steve d.

    Nice one Tony – and it makes you realise we don’t just support a team of players every weekend, but are part of a well run and honest club we can be proud of. These people calling for AW’s head should try to imagine life with somebody like Arry at the helm!!! Makes you shiver down the back of your spine.

    PS. Loved the reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – wonder how many people got that one?!?!

  • Jonny

    Boozy – how does this not concern all clubs?

    not that you are necessarily a D&G yourself but this does seem endemic amongst them: a total inability to look at the larger picture and a lack of understanding as to why we would even bother…

    42, Tony… yes, indeed it is.

    🙂

  • Getty

    Tony, great read. It really is refreshing to come here and find a completely different subject than sacking AW. LRV mentioned it, but whatever happened to that story about Terry selling visits to the Bridge? Is cheating on his wife a ground for him to lose his capitancy? Evertime this kind of morality questions come along, I always think of it as a reflection of the society we live in. How many % of men cheat on their wives? As they held to the same standard? If we are choosing leaders, what kind of criteria should we apply? Generally speaking, is football more corrupt than the society as whole? I know the focus is football, but does football reside outside of the society?

  • Still the best….still far and away the best Arsenal blog. And now there are literally hundreds of them.

  • Hartwick89

    Getty,

    Why don’t you answer your own questions….What does society have to do with Terry? Does Society play a top of the EPL? Nope? Does Society represent England? Nope? He has been given high honor because he earned it! However, you can disgrace yourself, family, and country. Hopefully, he steps down. Hopefully, he begs Wayne Bridge to forgive this act. Hopefully, he puts football on hold and tries to salvage his family. That is the right thing to do…Or has Society answered that question for you to?

  • walter

    42… is that the number of affaires Terry had ? 😉 Or the number of visits that woman had from Terry ?
    Well according to reports in my country that could be the number of squad members from chelsea who have been “visiting” here ?

  • Jonny

    Walter – 42 is the “answer to life, the universe, and everything” given by the supercomputer, Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker’s Guide.

    For seven and a half million years, this stupendously powerful, office-block of a machine had whirred. When it came to announcing what it had discovered, crowds had quite understandably gathered. “You aren’t going to like it,” Deep Thought warned. “Forty-two,” it said, with infinite majesty and calm.

  • walter

    Thanks Jonny.
    Tony has explained me a bit about the thing and I must say it is something you had to grow up with I think. Before Tony first mentionned something of it a few weeks ago I never had heard of it before.
    You have to be UK resident I guess to fully understand it.

  • luke

    as much as terry is a great player he has been riddled with problems throughout his career (remember those secret tours of stamford bridge he was doing for 20,000 pounds? or well actually most things he has done off the field)… great player yes, deserves to go to world cup yes (by form and by name), deserves to be captain no. a captain should lead by example both on and off the field not to mention his age (he isnt getting younger)… i think its time to pass the torch.. as much as i hate to say it (especially after his performance against arsenal the other day) rooney aka shrek should be captain. he has proved hes a different player on and off the pitch not to mention hes the best english player going around and very well respected by national team mates. there is a young brigade of talent coming through (thanks mostly to arsenal)that well be primed for the next world cup and rooney would be a senior member and will still bar injury etc be a brilliant player.

  • Gf60

    Tony. Re your comment on:
    Anyway, they were talking about the John Terry affair, and calling on Capello to sack Terry on something akin to moral grounds.

    Just sent in to me from Gordon gooner:

    To a man, the England team have voted to keep John Terry as Captain and for the world cup trip. Since the WAGS have been told they have to stay at home during the world cup no player feels safe leaving him behind!

  • walter

    Great one GF60. LOL. 🙂

  • Sean

    I saw an amazing thing on SKY yesterday.
    A lawyer was suggesting that John Terry really would be best advised to resign as England captain.
    His opinion, one I happen to agree with, OK so far.

    He then said that, ‘If I was working for John Terry and the FA striped him of his captaincy, I would recommend that he didn’t sue them’!!!!!!!
    Isn’t it amazing that there should even be a hint that he might?

    Personally, crumby though the whole Wayne Bridge girlfriend thing is, I think the ‘taking people for a trip round the training ground gig for ten grand’ (for charity, of course) scam was far, far worse.

    And did anyone see the Lawrence Dallaghio interview (a Chelsea supporting friend of Terry) where he waxed lyrical about John Terry’s professionalism?
    This was the guy who boasted to a reporter, when England rugby captain, of his cocaine taking!!!!

    All part of the general malaise which kicked in in about 1970/1971/1972, I’m afraid.
    Just off in my time machine to 1957.

  • Ham

    Hello all,
    Am a big Arsenal fan, I visit this awesome blog everyday, its actually my sanctuary.
    Definitely John ‘Naughty’ Terry’s morality is highly questionable. But there is something we have not scrutinized. JT was selling tours for 10k not because he needed the cash, but just because he could, his having an affair with a colleague’s girlfriend not because she is the most beautiful thing on earth, but just because he can. The point is JT,s mental health has to be examined seriously. He needs help sooner than later. It takes AW 2 years to do a Player Due Diligence to find such traits in a play.
    Long live AW!

  • zeeje

    42 also used to be the number of people who were supposed to ‘run’ South Africa in the early noughties – at least according to Tom Lodge ‘Politics in South Africa’…
    apropos corruption: can someone explain to me why so-called ‘bet-in-play’ is legal? this is one mechanism that literally invites corruption into football…
    and by the way, according to David Conn, the Portsmouth guy Azougy did not have to pass a fit and proper person test as the club apparently assured the PL that he is not in charge? What I wonder, though, is how he can then negotiate deals that no one at Portsmouth apparently likes!? strange world…

  • Walter – and everyone else who is not a habitual reader of English humour – my apologies about the repeated “Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” references. It is very anglo-centric of me, but the work of Douglas Adams, and the work of PG Wodehouse, has been such an influence on my work as a writer that they are in my head all the time.

    Maybe the best quote in relation to corruption does indeed come from PG Wodehouse (who I should explain to non-UK based readers was a 20th century writer who wrote the Jeeves stories and many others).

    “The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.” It could be true of gambling – and indeed the whole of English football.

  • Mark

    Sean says: “Personally, crumby though the whole Wayne Bridge girlfriend thing is, I think the ‘taking people for a trip round the training ground gig for ten grand’ (for charity, of course) scam was far, far worse”.

    Indeed…..it’s almost too convenient that Terry’s misdemeanours have come out now….

    or put another way, in Russia if a journalist asks too many questions, I doubt he gets the choice between

    1) A cup of plutonium coffe
    2) A pellet in the leg
    3) A one way trip to a Siberian mine

  • Mark

    or put another way,

    as long as JT hasn’t knocked up Mrs Abrahamovic , I’m sure he’s in the clear.

  • walter

    Tony,

    you don’t have to apologize it is your site, it is in the UK so it is up to you to write the things you like them. And this includes the humour you know best.

    And I had missed the 42 thing but I can assure you that the other 99 % of your article was more than intresting.

    Now next time I go to the library I’m going to look if they have some works of that Wodehouse and Adams… It makes me curious…
    But still have a few Arsenal books to read. Nearly finished my second lecture of Making The Arsenal and you know it is even better now. But this is because I’m not a native English speaking person and in a second reading I discovered a lot of new things. Or maybe I’m just a miserable reader…. 🙂

  • walter

    If I would make a reference to Samson a speaking dog on TV you wouldn’t understand it, but in my country apart from the brain dead people everybody knows him. We all have our local things… 🙂

  • Actually Walter, I have just remembered, by the second series of Hitch Hiker, Douglas Adams introduced the ultimate swear word, a word so awful that it was known throughout the Galaxy but hardly ever spoken. A word so terrible that if you ever said it you would immediately be cut out of all society and sent off to a remote planet to live your life in solitary.

    The word was….

    Oh hell, Walter I can’t tell you.

    Someone else tell Walter will they? I can’t bring myself even to write the word.

  • Sean

    I know I’ve been very negative about the Premiership and this sometimes comes across as anti-Arsenal (which I’m not) but, touching on what Ham says, I’m pleased to hear that AW looks closely at the mental state of his players because I really, really fear for what might happen to some of these guys (and/or their vasts amounts of money) in the future.

    Quite apart from the safety issue of you, or a member of your family, being worth £100,000,000, can you imagine the political power a group of these young men could wield in ten or twenty years time?

    Certainly, if an extreme right-wing (for example) group needed a financial shot in the arm to set themselves up, I’d suggest they look no further than the local night-club where the Pro-footballers hang-out.

    All this money has to go somewhere and, hold on to your hats, ‘cos there’s going to be some real bad stuff ahead.

    Genuinely, I wouldn’t swap John Terry’s family background, era or future for all the tea in China.

  • Hi Tony – thanks for your passing appreciation of the corruption at Derby County.

    You’re unlikely to know that the whole tenure at our club of the creeps we quickly dubbed the “3 Amigos” – because part of their money maze involved shady Panamanian financing – actually threatened the very existence of the club at the time.

    The Co-op Bank allowed the club to fall into their hands for the princely sum of £3. Spare the jokes – I trust you’re not a Nothingham Florist fan – but along with the corruption you’ve detailed, these cretinous “business doctors” and “directors of football” managed to turn an already dire debt of around £30m into one of around £55m in about 30 months, despite big attendances and fire sales of stars like Huddlestone &, er, Rasiak.

    They were eventually hounded out, after direct protests and a fans’ petition to the Bank. After takeover by a local consortium, Wee Billy Krankie produced a one-year promotion miracle sadly built on foundations of sand, from which we’re still recovering – two years after the Rams’ disgraceful capitulation in the Prem.

    Squad slashing, loan players & bargain buys are still the medicine, but most of our considerable support has faith in the Second Clough era.

    So be very afraid! You should rise above patronising comments like
    “Well, you know, Derby, not exactly top league eh?”. Over my 40+ years of watching the Rams’ ups & downs – including 2 League titles now long ago in the heady seventies – I’ve seen some right Rams-Gunners ding-dongs.

    The first time I saw your team they lost 5-0 to Mackay, Hector & co – and I trust you also remember the thrilling exploits of Sturridge, Wanchope et al in more recent years. Our weaker teams got hammered, like most others – but the 70s / Smith era DVDs are still available for us crinklies.

    I love watching Arsenal and even believe that some London fans acknowledge the existence of civilisation and intelligent football discourse up here in bandit country.

    Just keep in touch with RamsTrust and Ramzone and thanks mostly for the summary mention.

  • David – the comment about “not really first division” etc was ironic – reflecting on the fact that there is an endless argument being put that Liverpool and Man U won’t crumble because they are big clubs. No one notices too much when smaller clubs get into difficult – as witness the limited amount of press coverage of Cardiff in the past two weeks.

    My intent has been to try to focus on the corruption that has spread throughout the game, and the dangers all clubs are in, and I truly meant no disrespect to Derby, or its supporters.

    For what it’s worth I think that the plague has eaten through all of football in this country, and a lot of clubs of all sizes – up to the largest – are about to fall to bits.

  • James

    Oh……Belgium!

  • t00farg0ne

    Hahaha!! “Vice Chair” genius!

  • JediKnut

    Walter, a tiny bit of info for you – the Late, Great, Douglas Adams was apparently an Arsenal supporter. All the more reason to love his books. 🙂

    Sigh… I actually feel most Arsenal supporters are turning into ‘Marvin’ these days.

  • goonergerry

    Walter you sound like GG never happened to Arsenal. I also don’t know what fans could do to prevent a leveraged buyout happening at the club and perhaps ending up down the same road as Derby. There but the grace of god etc- As for JT-maybe the FA should have a fit and proper person criteria to be captain of England-trouble is how could Rio Ferdinand fit it any more than JT does? Ashley Cole anyone?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Mark
    February 4th, 2010 at 11:05 am
    or put another way,

    as long as JT hasn’t knocked up Mrs Abrahamovic , I’m sure he’s in the clear.’

    Didn’t the last Mrs A. take big Roman to the ‘shit back-rub, you’re history!’ law courts for a few squillion or so?

    Not sure whether the mistress then has taken on a new job description yet?

    I guess if Mr R. goes wandering again, there’s a job opportunity in consoling the new encumbent for someone or other??