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Roker Ramble: “The Christmas Grinch is here!”

This week Charlton fans must be wondering what they’ve done to be on the naughty list. Plus: some bloke inserts himself into Argentina’s celebrations, and it’s not looking good for Sheffield United... Ian’s back with the Roker Ramble!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Methven investing in Charlton?

Half our time at Sunderland AFC is spent warning other clubs about prospective “owners” (see Storey, William & Coventry City [2022]). The other half, it transpires, is warning others of the pitfalls of people who have actually owned our club.

In the three and a half years since Charlton pissed on our chips (well, actually it was Aiden McGeady giving it away in the middle of the park and Tom Flanagan’s swing-and-a-miss which did it, but I don’t hold grudges) at Wembley, things have gone pretty badly for them. Which is a shame, because I like Charlton.

Wannabe rockstar Thomas Sandgaard’s tenure hasn’t gone quite as planned, and as such the rumour mill has gone into overdrive about further investment in the club; that investment may come in the form of the man with the Toriest name since Colonel Henry Blundell-Hollinshead-Blundell, Charles Finlayson Methven.

It’s a pretty poorly kept secret, considering on the 16th of December, Methven decided to deliver a Christmas sack of absolute shit to Addicks fans across the globe by forming “SE7 Partners Limited”. Unfortunately, for those fervently Googling The Valley’s postcode will indeed be dismayed to discover yes, it is indeed SE7 8BL.

Aerials Views Of The Canary Wharf Business District And The City Of London
Burn the place down and start again

So it’s pretty clear there’s nothing heartwarming, Christmassy or funny about this tale. In fact, the only jokers in Methven’s family were his parents, who decided to name him after two drugs.

Now we all remember Methven’s record here of aggravating the natives, being rather boorish and generally not delivering on his promises. He might dispute that, but the reality is he helped the club fall upwards, which ironically is what he seems to have done for most of his life.

Swathes of his ownership has been lost in the sands of time; happily for some, he has been immortalised in the Sunderland ‘til I Die scene when discussing the music at the SOL, where he looked like what he is. I’ll leave this bit blank.

Sadly, EDM continues for Charlton, with Methven admitting to London News Online this week “under the right circumstances we would put a few quid in [via SE7 Partners Limited], and if we did then we would do so together.”

Seriously, what kind of investment would Methven actually be able to muster? Salmon pants over the back of each season ticket holder’s chair before their next home game? A free giant Margaret Thatcher mug for those who attended their EFL Cup tie versus Brighton?

Truth is, he probably really does mean a few quid.

Who the f*ck is Salt Bae?

Look, who can begrudge Argentina their World Cup win, especially when you have a free £5 bet on them to lift the trophy? Not me, for sure.

The celebrations really did bring out the hangers-on and the undeservedly powerful. From Elon Musk looking utterly bored in the stands, to Gianni Infantino doing his best impression of a Roman Emperor watching the Christians being thrown to the lions, it really was a boak-fest of choads who wanted to insert themselves into the action.

None more so than someone who, until this weekend, I had never heard of. A chap named Salt Bae. If you too didn’t have a scooby who he was, well he’s a Turkish restauranteur who chucks a bit of salt on some meat. He’s done very well out of it, all things considered, as he spent a large proportion of the post-match celebrations getting photos with bemused Argentina players; Lionel Messi, however, really did pie him off quite beautifully.

Now according to FIFA rules, no one except for the winning teams, FIFA dignitaries and heads of state can touch the World Cup; yet Bae (is that what we call him?) had his mitts all over it as if he was tenderising one of his much-vaunted steaks. The last time I checked, he wasn’t the president of Vanuatu.

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Wrong way round, mate
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

It makes you wonder how the England players might have reacted to his presence during what would have been the greatest moment in their sporting lives. I would certainly have paid good money to see Jordan Pickford’s reaction to him calling him “boss”. Or perhaps instead of him, we would have had a business giant of the UK there, milking the opportunity. Perhaps Tim Martin, cheap beer flogger at Wetherspoons would have been pictured downing a pint of Ruddles as the Three Lions celebrated around him? Alas, we will never know.

It does raise questions of nepotism and cronyism within FIFA - again, of course, Christ it’s not the first time is it? You do get the impression that within the halls of football’s governing body they are simply having a dick waving competition to find out who can produce the most impressive helicopter.

Personally, I want no part of that and think the time is right for a breakaway.

Sheffield United up for sale

“But warraboot the bleeeyyaadzz man?” is the standard line anyone silly enough to wear a black/white/black/white vertical sequential top otherwise known as a “Newcastle United shirt” bleats whenever their beloved overlords were criticised.

Why were they so het up? Simply because Sheffield are owned by a man who (claims) to be a Saudi prince. However, it turns out that in that country, saying you’re a prince is a bit like saying you’re distantly related to Henry VIII over here. Basically - it’s everyone.

Well Newcastle fans, your time has come. I will turn my attention from your very own Charlie Methven (aka Mrs 10%, Amanda Staveley) and focus on the goings on in South Yorkshire.

Only a couple of years after a power grab from previous owner Kevin McCabe, HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has all but admitted the current ownership group would be unable to fund the club fully in the Premier League, and as such is in talks to sell the club to an unnamed investor.

And... that’s it.

Interesting, you might think. Maybe the oil really is drying up. And maybe they won’t have the money to buy Ross Stewart.

We can only live in hope.

News In Brief

  • Ivan Toney has been charged with 30 more betting offences by the FA and as such is facing a lengthy ban from the game. How long remains to be seen but I suspect we’ll be seeing Elliot Embleton back in a Sunderland shirt before he returns.
  • Great big over-the-hill man-baby Cristiano Ronaldo is set to seal a move to Al Nassr by the end of the year. In a move designed to boost his Insta followers in the Middle East - because that’s apparently what helps him sleep at night - the Man Utd flop could be paid £175m a year. Imagine if he was any good...
Morocco v Portugal: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Ex-professional footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo
Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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