Last night, instead of doing a commentary on Uzbekistan Generals vs Dynamo Fulham in the Euro League Group Z, Radio 5 did a piece on betting in football.
There was some horror in it – beatings and death, Chinese triads etc, and I don’t wish to minimise this – but mixed up within the report was such a level of surreal lunacy that I was forced me to stop the car and listen, wondering if instead of Radio 5 I was actually playing some sort of bizarre audio CD by mistake.
As I was in the car I’ve got no notes on the exact details of the programme, which was on just after 8pm, but in summary it goes like this.
A person in Liverpool (where else?) bet on one Conference team beating another Conference team (in a Conference match obviously). The odds were awful since what he was betting on was a sure fire win. So he put £120,000 or so on the result at odds like 1-10.
But it didn’t go according to plan and the lesser side scored in the second minute and ultimately got a draw. Apparently at half time this Liverpool man started threatening the chairman, telling him to make the players play harder. After the game he fire bombed the manager’s car, and threatened to kill people.
That’s horrific, and I am not making that into a joke, but the point was, he was doing all this (if this is all true) to get the odds-on favourite team to win.
Now forgive me if I am a bit out of touch on Liverpool Mafia deals, but basically I thought match fixing was something these people did to get a team lose, or do a Le Tissier and put the ball into touch in three seconds. This guy wanted the better team to win – which is what I thought a lot of football was about.
Besides which no one suggests that the better team were not trying to win. And anyway blowing up someone’s car after the match is not much help if the match finished the day before.
This is so insane it is possible that this was a BBC April 1 programme, put on six months late.
But on the other hand I must admit that the programme was in keeping with the general level of insanity that has hit football.
Look at just today’s stories…
- Portsmouth – utterly bust, and where was the fit and proper persons test of the FA?
- Notts County – unknown owners, late in paying players, and where was the fit and proper persons test of the FA?
- Leeds – unknown owners, Mr Bates has no cash, the council are seriously thinking of buying their training ground for them, and where was the fit and proper persons test of the FA?
- Arsenal – clear ownership, only debt is a mortgage, record profits, no fit and proper persons issues, and still people are saying that we’re doing it wrong!
In case you missed any of this, here are some details…
Portsmouth have finally admitted what has been whispered for weeks. Sulaiman al-Fahim don’t have no dosh. The club is broke, the players not paid, it was all a scam. That little old £50m just didn’t turn up.
“All the money from all the player transfers and the Sky TV money – all of the £35m from January – has gone straight to the Standard Bank,” said Peter Storrie. Ah yes. Pesky bankers. Always wanting their money back. And we thought we could have it forever. And Fahim’s take? “I am always there for the club,” he said.
The Professional Footballers’ Association have been involved. And guess where else they have been involved over non payment…. our old chums Notts County. Notts C said, “it has been dealt with.”
Difficult stuff, this time keeping.
So, Portsmouth Bust, Notts Unknown-Owners and a bit of trouble with paying the bills… who next. Surely not Leeds…
It turns out that Leeds Unknown-Owners, who as we know have directors with court cases in the Channel Islands, are trying to sell their training ground to Leeds City Council. And Leeds City Council are seriously interested!
Leeds is owned by Forward Sports Fund who are registered in the Caymans and whose owners are unknown. The FA utterly and completely failed to do a fit and proper person’s job on them. Just like Notts County – and presumably just like Portsmouth.
Mr Bates recently lost a court case over derisory remarks he made about another director Melvyn Levy in the club programme – and Mr B has admitted he does not have the cash to pay the legal costs and fine.
Leeds training ground was sold by the club to try and get out of the mire in 2004. It has until 10th October to buy it back, but can you believe it, no one will lend them the money. So they are asking the council to do it.
According to the Guardian, “A spokesman for the council, which is currently dealing with a strike by bin men protesting about cuts to their pay, said the position has not changed following the revelation about the club’s unidentified Cayman Islands owners.”
These issues – Leeds, Notts County, Portsmouth – these are just today’s issues. We’ve already forgotten Southampton (EPL just a short while back) have gone bust and are bottom of division 3.
And Chester City – remember them? Don’t ask.
Real Mad have just borrowed the entire gross domestic product of Spain.
So it goes. And it is not just here. If I can find a moment I’ll try and do something about AC Milan who also seem (complete with Flamini) to have moved into a parallel universe.
The one good thing about all this is that it is the plot from the next book – already written for me. And that reminds me – if you are interested in finding out a little more about the forthcoming “Making the Arsenal” which is the story of our club in 1910, when we last went bust, but rose from the ashes – then I have started putting up some details and some background each day on www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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