There’s more than enough politics in football without getting actual politicians involved. It was a shame, therefore, that Donald Trump has put his indefatigable mark on the USA’s World Cup bid to host the tournament in 2026.
Not that I’m questioning Donald’s love of the game - I’m sure he’s out there on the South Lawn having a kick-about with security at every opportunity - however, there’s support for the process and then there’s plain bullying on an international scale.
The US of A are hosting a joint bid along with Mexico and Canada and are desperate to fight off the only other competitor - Morocco.
“It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid”, tweeted Donald in a warm display of international love and cooperation. “I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world... will likewise support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup. We will be watching closely.”
FIFA announces the successful bidder on June 13th, so Donald doesn’t have long to upset and threaten people. And I mean it’s Morocco - they don’t have any money, they possibly don’t even have a league... does he really need to get involved?
It couldn’t be anything to do with Russia hosting the current tournament could it, or is it just the rampant xenophobia he seems to excel in?
Either way, I wish he’d keep his nose out of things that really don’t need to be dragged down to his level.
In Oz, meanwhile, Football Federation Australia is to contact Andrés Iniesta’s people to see if he wants to move to the A league now that he’s quit Barcelona. Ambitious, but it’s come about after Fox Sports donated $3 million to bring big name players to the competition next season. And you have to ask yourself - is that amount of money going to tempt Iniesta (or ‘Inny’ as he’s now known) to Strylia?
He’s already had an offer from Japan worth 25 million Euros-per-season, and another from China for twice that. But, he may not get things all his own way - the CEO of the FFA is playing his cards close to his chest:
Do we go out and use $3 million to go and hook one big fish, or three small ones?
The truth is, $3 million wouldn’t tempt Barry the Tadpole out of retirement in this day and age, so I think they’re going to have to lower their expectations - and given that Roy O’Donovan is still plying his trade down under, we’ve got a few more ‘stars’ that they’re welcome to take off our hands.
Ah... it’s the end of the season and you can feel the love – in places.
At the Etihad Stadium there was love unbounded. There was also some girl in a white T-shirt giving out all the medals and subsequently appearing in the team photos with the trophy – who was she?
More love at the Emirates for Arsene’s long goodbye, and say what you like, he can hold a crowd. He had 60,000 people hanging on his every word – with talent like that he should do the festivals over the summer. He’d make a fortune.
Well, he’d better hurry up if he’s going for another managerial job because the current vacancies are going fast, and the new generation of managers are looking to make their mark.
Joey Barton at Fleetwood (probably not top of Wenger’s list, it has to be said) is one to keep an eye on, especially as I think we’ll be playing them next season. And Steven Gerrard to Rangers – who are nicknamed ‘The Teddy Bears’, which I never knew. Given that Celtic are called ‘The Bhoys’ which is generally acknowledged to mean ‘bad lads, rogues, ruffians and ne’er do wells’, I would’ve thought that ‘The Teddy Bears’ wouldn’t really cut it in Glasgow’s docklands.
However, back with Mr Gerrard – has he bitten off more that he can chew? The Teddies are in a bit of a state apparently, according to one observer:
In no particular order...
Rangers have an absentee chairman in constant dispute with the takeover panel; two senior players suspended after a dressing room rammy; accounts which illustrate a business kept afloat by director loans and a recently jettisoned interim manager who had been in position since October.
Rangers were bundled out of Europe last summer by a team from Luxembourg, after which their manager ranted at supporters while standing in a bush.
I think I once walked across Luxembourg whilst looking for a lift. So – another one to keep an eye on next season.
That’s the great thing about the end of a season - hopeless optimism that things are going to be much better, more interesting, more fun, more successful than this season, that the summer break will answer all of our questions and solve all the problems. And so it shall.
And there were more outpourings of love in South Wales, with Cardiff winning the second automatic promotion place. Shots of Colin Warnock and the Cardiff captain holding aloft the trophy... for what?
They came second – what do you get a cup for? Granted it was only a small cup, not as small as the one you’d win for the egg and spoon race on school sports day, but why do they get one at all?
And it doesn’t look like they’re going to light up the Premier League somehow:
Only Burton, Bolton and Millwall had a lower possession rate. Nobody played fewer passes, nobody completed fewer passes and nobody played fewer passes in the opposition half. Nobody won more aerial duels, nobody had more efforts on goal from set pieces, only Bolton committed more fouls.
In short, a Premier League fan unfamiliar with Cardiff should not prepare to like them.
Cardiff are the fourth club Warnock has taken to the top flight, something no other manager has done. However, you have to ask yourself, how is it that he keeps finding himself back in the Championship and not running a successful Premier league side?
You have to feel sorry for Burton for the way they were relegated, but that’s the drama of the final day for you, and as long as we don’t gift them six points next season then it’ll be good to face off against them again.
And the BBC are hosting a special night of shows this month to honour the retirement of John Motson. I don’t get it - he’s dull, bland, devoid of personality and has a rising voice that sounds like a suppressed air-raid siren.
I for one won’t miss him, and if it takes one evening of avoiding the BBC to see him off then I’ll take it. After all, the summer is coming, we’re starting with a clean slate, and anything is possible.