Did you know that Dave Whelan broke his leg in the 1960 FA Cup final? No, me neither because he’s never mentioned it before. Ever. In other shocking news, you may have seen last week that football’s world governing body, FIFA, is as corrupt as Rolf Harris’ hard drive after all. I bet none of you saw that coming, did you?
I first began writing this column as a serious investigation of the problems facing football, now that Sepp Blatter had been re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president. Alas, forever the thorn in the side of the English media, the news soon trickled in that the selfish old goat had resigned four days later. Legal proceedings appear to be edging ever-closer to the man known as “The Godfather” in Switzerland. The irony of this nickname is a thing of beauty, and something that this country’s news agencies don’t seem to have picked up on – probably because they were too excited about getting rid of everyone’s favourite villain.
Anyway, that put paid to any chance of this being a serious piece, not only because I’ve realised it’s not for me, but because every other journalist in the world has already stuck their oar into the debate. It’s much more fun just to crack out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy watching the FIFA house of cards collapse, whilst America takes all the credit for saving the game of ‘soccer’. What I will say is that FIFA is unique. A bureaucratic organisation, out-of-touch with reality, packed to the rafters with overpaid jobsworths that make life unnecessarily difficult. I can’t think of any other organisation like that, can you? *Cough*
In other news, those of us from Nouse Sport that are leaving the University in the next few weeks have been having a look back at our time here recently. It’s been a strange couple of weeks since finishing our degrees. Despite having no money left, we seem to have spent lots of time frequenting the Willow Bar & Disco as we contemplate our impending unemployment, and where the odd bit of pseudo-serious sports writing might take us.
My Nouse memories will be mixed. I came to this University eager to do my History degree, positive that I was going to be a sports journalist. I leave not having the foggiest idea what I’ll be doing in three months’ time. (There’s a joke to be made there about the £27,000-shaped hole in my bank balance, but I’m not going to make it). Personally, I earned a reputation for harping on about my ill-fated support of Stockport County; given that Richard Dawkins last week said one of the questions he would ask God is “Why did you let Stockport be relegated into the sixth tier?” I feel smugly vindicated.
Anyway, covering sports here has been largely great and working with Tom Fennelly in particular during our time as sports editors was a delight. Anecdotal tales from our three years with this paper are aplenty, but 99% of them can never be recounted for a variety of not-okay reasons.
One of the more acceptable misdemeanours includes coming home from Lancaster last year via Durham because Tom’s sat-nav/common sense deserted us. More recently, there was the time at Roses when my good pal Rob Culshaw became probably the first linesman in football history to be booked by his own referee, for accidentally addressing him in rather colourful terms.
Joking aside, it would be remiss of me not to mention the lads at Constantine AFC. A year ago, when Tom and I planned our exit from Nouse (that went well), we agreed to become managers of Constantine’s football club. Things started interestingly when we ordered a colourful pink kit – think Everton’s charity jersey from a few years ago – but what actually arrived resembles something more like gone-off salmon. Sorry lads.
After a little wobble early on, the team did brilliantly. By College Cup time, the management team accepted a challenge to go to every game in a suit, wearing ties whose colour can only be described as “illegal pink”. Although we only reached the first knockout round, the players did themselves proud. I can say that they are all a cracking bunch of lads who gave us a fantastic send-off, as it finally hit home that we’re really leaving.
Anyway, Constantine was the second project that Tom and I took on as a team. It probably won’t be our last because the next one has already presented itself: finding our way to the back of the nearest dole queue.
And with that, Nouse, I’m out.