The Hypocrisy of Sheffield United

November 28, 2008

It’s not often I say something nice about the Daily Mirror, but today will be an exception. Read this piece by Ian Wilwood….

Sheffield United have a double standard for West Ham and Iain Hume
By Ian Winwood 28/11/2008

Sheffield United were unusually blasé this week following the FA’s decision not to take any further action regarding defender Chris Morgan’s elbow smash to the head of Barnsley striker Iain Hume earlier this month. Speaking on BBC Radio Sheffield, Blades assistant manager Sam Ellis said his club now consider the matter “closed.”

Actually, make that almost closed, because Ellis couldn’t resist one final parting shot. “We didn’t think there was anything more [to the incident],” he continued. “We think people have made a little bit more out of it than they should have.” Oh really, do you?

It’s a fact of football journalism that interviewers don’t ask those being interviewed to expand on their answers, so we don’t know who Ellis thinks these “people” actually are. But let’s try and have a guess.
Could Mr Ellis be talking about Iain Hume himself? Leaving aside the question of intent, the facts of the incident are as follows: Chris Morgan planted his feet on the ground and swung his elbow into the Barnsley player’s head with enough force to fracture his opponent’s skull, leaving a scar the size of a breakfast bagel.

It’s probably safe to assume that Iain Hume did not undergo this life-threatening misfortune so he could get himself on the telly. Is it, then, the FA who have made more of this matter than they should? No it’s not, because the FA have done nothing at all. Chris Morgan was awarded a yellow card for his foul (rather than a three month prison sentence) and that’s how it’s going to stay. The Football Association would consider further punishment were the ‘circumstances’ more ‘exceptional’, but everyone knows that in the Championship fractured skulls are as common as throw-ins.

So it must be that Sheffield United are referring to Barnsley Football Club as the people who have made too much of the unpleasantness at Oakwell. It is, after all, Barnsley who are threatening to bring a civil action against Morgan and his club. United obviously think this is all wrong, and that the FA’s ruling should be a final end to the matter.

This, by the way, is the same Sheffield United who refused the official ruling on the West Ham saga, and are using their own lawyers to try and grab £30 million. The double standard at work here is both hilarious and pitiful. If Sheffield United can have their day in court, then why can’t Barnsley? If an official ruling is the end of the matter in one thing, then why not in everything?

Why not? Because Sheffield United’s talk of fairness only applies when it’s fair to them, that’s why. Anything else gets the elbow.


Freddie Signs New Contract

November 26, 2008

Just a few days after Carlton Cole signed a new 5 year contract, Freddie Sears has followed suit and done exactly the same. Good man.

Sheffield United Win Temporary Injunction

November 26, 2008

Sheffield United have succeeded in the High Court in their attempt to prevent West Ham taking their case to the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne. The BBC has the full story HERE.

Very worrying development, which can only hasten the sale of the club.

Will the VAT Cut Affect Ticket Prices?

November 25, 2008

Received from a reader…

I am not sure if this is correct but are tickets for sports events, such as football matches, subject to VAT at the normal rate? If so, is there a way of checking if the prices of tickets for sports events are reduced from Monday following the announcement by the Chancellor. For example if West Ham are selling tickets for a forthcoming home game at £35, will the be reduced by 87p?

Perhaps you can look into this and invite examples to your blog. If prices aren’t reduced, it would blow a massive hole in the Chancellor’s announcement.

Without going into the politics of this, the cut in VAT will have absolutely no effect on ticket prices at football matches, except to give the club a small extra profit margin. If a ticket is sold for a game this Saturday for £45, the VAT on that is £6.70. For a game next Monday the same ticket of £45 would have a VAT component of £5.87. So the club makes an extra 83p profit for every ticket sold after 1 December. They may well, as a gesture, reduce ticket prices for the odd game so as not to be seen as profiteering. But in essence, they are only obliged to give the government 15% of whatever the same price is of what they are selling. They are not obligated to reduce prices by 2.5% from 1 December.

Sunderland Match Report: Proud of Them!

November 23, 2008

Can there be any doubt about the identity of the Man of the Match? Step forward James Collins. An immense performance, especially in the second half. OK, he was lucky not to have given away a penalty/been sent off, but other than that he (or rather his head) had a superb game. I can’t remember the last time I saw a central defender head the ball so often.

Make no mistake, this was a great performance by West Ham. In the first half we played some neat football but in the second half we were under relentless attack, but managed to thwart every wave. Indeed, I can’t actually remember Sunderland making Rob Green make a difficult save, apart from a header on 85 minutes. Green looked safe the whole game, and a second clean sheet in a row will do his confidence the world of good.

In defence Upson and Collins reigned supreme, while Neill was fairly solid. He retained possession more often than usual, while Ilunga on the other side was tough in the tackle, imposing in the air and positive on the ground.

The makeshift midfield did well, with Parker performing the holding role well. Behrami was all over the place (in a good way!) as usual, while Bowyer was busy on the left. Faubert didn’t really get into the game until the second half and didn’t really ever threaten in attack. Psrker was named Sky man of the match.

Up front neither player really performed at their best. Cole struggled with his first touch and didn’t really hold the ball up, while Bellamy’s only chance was the one on one which he then passed to Behrami who blasted over from two yards.

We deserved this win.

Green 8
Upson 8
Collins 9
Ilunga 7
Neil 6
Bowyer 6
Behrami 7
Parker 8
Faubert 6
Cole 6
Bellamy 6

Haway the Hammers

November 22, 2008

It’s good news that Kieron Dyer is back in training. We could do with him on the right hand side at the moment. He won’t, of course, be involved against Sunderland.

We’re now only two above the relegation zone, but a win against Sunderland will only lift us to 13th. Diego Tristan is included in the squad for the first time but will start from the bench. The main question is whether Zola will persist with the 4-3-3 formation and start with a front line of Cole-Sears-Bellamy. Cole, it appears, will sign a new 4 year contract next week, and according to the Sunday Mirror is targeting an England callup.

I would expect the team to remain broadly the same as against Portsmouth. Ilunga’s injury wasn’t too serious and he is expected to retain his place at left back, although it would be interesting to see Walter Lopez get a run out. I saw him against Watford, as as the game went on, he became our best player.

Midfield is the only area where changes may be made. Personally, I’d play Etherington, Parker and Behrami, with Sears floating around the right hand side.

Come on you Irons!

PS You may have noticed that the Links have disappeared. I was trying to edit them, and the whole thing got deleted. Now I can’t seem to reinstate it. Doh!

Where are the Buyers?

November 20, 2008

Congratulations to Matthew Upson for his goal and performance against Germany. And wasn’t it nice to see Craig Bellamy bag a great goal for Wales? One on Sunday at Sunderland would be nice too!

All the papers have been full of speculation in the last couple of days about the future ownership of West Ham. The Holding Company, Hansa, has gone into administration, which has no direct effect on the day to day operation of the club, but is a very worrying development, nonetheless. It shows why two of the directors felt the need to resign recently for personal liability reasons.

Everything points to the fact that the club will, sooner or later, be sold. The longer it takes, the more desperate the board will be, and buyers clearly know this So they will take their time. The price is said to be £150 million, not far off twice the sum the Icelanders paid only two years ago. In a normal market, this would not be an unreasonable price, but we are not in normal circumstances. The papers have been remarkably free of speculation about the identity of potential buyers. You can interpret this in one of two ways. Either it is a good sign of a leakproof sale process. Or that there are no buyers’ names to leak.

I have no idea which is true.