By Tony Attwood
Funny ol’ world ain’t it. All these odd stories popping up, including gawd elp us, a growing level of support for Untold’s little campaign to do something about the loan system. Who’d have thought it.
Support for an Untold campaign or analysis does happen, although invariably without the newspapers ever acknowledging we were there first. (Remember the piece about why England always do so badly in world cups for example being down to number of coaches – it is now virtually the mainstream analysis).
Today the issue is the loan system, being modified slightly at the end of next season, but still not at all right. And wow, calls for its modification are popping up in all sorts of places – most recently in an amusing diatribe from Barry Glendenning in the Guardian.
Barry G comes across as a nice sort of guy . His personal CV says things commenting that he has “written for bad television programmes, reasonably good radio programmes, the Irish Sunday Independent, Men’s Health and several other publications he can’t remember off the top of his head.” Nice one.
He’s now with the Guardian who picked up on the problems with loans in September 2014, commenting as we all were at the time, about the way Chelsea were buying everything that moved, and then loaning them out again wholesale, although missing our earlier commentaries on the issue.
Maybe that’s because Glendenning is an Arsenal basher, so you know what you’ll get with him (traditional swipes with no attempt to get the facts right). Thus we have all the usual talk about the “world’s most expensive season tickets” [we’ve shown that to be untrue so often I’ve given up on it now], but he does have neat ideas such as banning Premier League clubs from borrowing anyone on loan and only being able to loan players to clubs further down the league.
Maybe, maybe not – so far Untold has been pushing for a limit on the number of players a club can loan out – but then he has a twist. Clubs should also loan out fans. He suggests 2000 fans of Arsenal (maybe those on the season ticket waiting list) should be loaned to Barnet.
Now that is not so fruitcake as it sounds – nor as silly as the writer intends. After all, I’ve been loaned (at my own behest). When I got a job as a Senior Lecturer in Music in Devon, several centuries back, I found myself living on the edge of Dartmoor, with a young family and no chance of watching Arsenal. So I loaned myself on saturday afternoons to Torquay United.
I won’t reveal the clubs other Untold writers have loan spells with, but I know that my loan spell was not unique even among our little band.
Barnet has a capacity of 5000, but have only been getting half that number in the Conference so they need more. Let’s loan them some – not least on a Saturday when Arsenal’s game is moved to a Friday, or Sunday, or Monday or any other day Sky dictates.
(Glendenning also suggests Manchester United fans being loaned to Southend, in order to “spare no end of travel expenses”.)
Now I think it could go further. I think that Arsenal supporters could offer themselves – a sort of new approach to Crowd Funding. 2000 could sign up to go and support a lower league team for a season, and get a bulk discount on the entry price, plus a full refund of their ticket costs if the club they pick gets promoted.
But moving on in this brave new world where the only men’s football is a total rubbish international while the women’s World Cup game is played without any allegation about Fifa corruption, in front of a record crowd, we find that Sol Campbell is putting himself forward as the Conservative candidate for election as London mayor, in the even braver Post-Boris apocalypse.
Sol has a nice line in his campaign to the effect that those people who had thousands of pounds spent on their education by going to Eton and Oxford have screwed up totally, so now it is time for a worker to try his hand. I rather like that, although I am not sure how it will go down with the Tory Grandees. Maybe they’ll loan him to the Liberal Democrats who are rather lacking these days.
Elsewhere Arry, who always claimed in court that he didn’t know how to operate digital technology, but left it to his dog, has learned how to Tweet. I do worry for the English language.
And the Telegraph is still dragging up old news, with Arsenal having made £3m out of Barcelona winning the Champs League – it seems it was part of our ex-captain’s transfer. Barce forgot to add the line in the clause that says, “if Thomas Vermaelen plays.” But these details can be a bit pesky – a bit like checking if a child you sign actually is an EU citizen. So many countries in the EU now, who can tell?
As for that wretched international, the Guardian (who thought that Jack’s crime in leading the Tottenham chant was “showing a bit of personality”) thought he played well. The Telegraph which thought Jack Wilshere should have been hung, drawn and quartered – and then fined – “showed flashes of promise for England v Ireland, but ultimately failed once again to deliver.” Seems to be a theme there.
But lo, that is not all. The Guardian also tells us that
“London-based football journalists were choking on their Cheerios with excitement this morning following the news that one-man quote factory Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be making their jobs that much easier by bringing his repertoire of flicks, finishes and swaggering bombast to the capital this summer. Not just on holiday, either, but in a permanent arrangement also involving Arsenal and £11m.”
Well, well. It is possible. He scored 19 goals in 24 Ligue 1 games in 2014/15 plus nine in French cup games and two in the Champs League.
I go with that because I think we need backup, not mega-deals. We have a great team, but we will once again be chopped to bits by defenders who know they are immune to referee action. Seeing Zlatan on the beach would scare the hell out of them, knowing that if they kick Giroud much more, he could be of and Ibra on.
And that is about it, except for the abuse. What puzzles me about people who send in abuse, or even the, “because of this piece I won’t be reading your articles any more” stuff.
First, mostly they don’t get published, second, those of us editing the sites have seen it so often before it really doesn’t have any effect any more, and third when physical harm is threatened, all the details tracking the post back to its originator, go off to the police.
And yet still people think it is clever, or somehow worthwhile, to send it in.
Funny ol’ game.