War arrives in Europe - and UEFA responds. Badly.
As the nation woke up on Thursday morning to discover that baldy-banjo-string-in-chief Vladimir Putin has moved a few steps closer to Hitler in the annals of history by invading Ukraine with zero justification.
Of course good old football can be trusted to deliver its thought out, reasonable and appropriate response.
Except UEFA, who of course managed something more appropriately described as tone deaf.
“What a day of football ahead!” trumpeted the official feed of the Europa League at 0801, as the Russian shells continued to rain down on the innocent Ukrainian population, and the rest of the world went “oh bollocks”.
Also, bit awkward seeing Zenit on the billing, meeting what you might call a hostile atmosphere, as they take on Betis in Seville.
So, probably shouldn’t really be too ebullient... today of all days. Considering one of your members is in the process of having the shit kicked out of it by another one of your members.
Not to be outdone, by themselves, half an hour later, they blurted out “HAPPY THURSDAY EVERYONE!” accompanied with a little party hat emoji thingy.
Did whoever manages their feed forget to switch their news alerts on when they woke up that morning?
Unsurprisingly, someone had a word and both Tweets have since been deleted.
I doubt Putin reads Roker Report, but just in case he does - Vladimir, I think you’re a complete dick.
Chris Bryant MP makes his debut on the Ramble
It wasn’t just on Twitter where the interesting stuff was happening. Chris Bryant MP stood up in Parliament to dish the dirt on a man who has been all too present, but all too silent for almost two decades now.
That’s right, welcome back to the Roker Ramble, Roman Abramovich.
Parliament is great - you can basically stand up there and say what the f*ck you like. Without fear of being sued. Just like in a courtroom. Sort of.
Turns out that Bryant has got hold of some leaked government documents relating to Abramovich, in which it states Chelsea’s owner has “links to the Russian state and... association with corrupt activity and practices.”
An example of this is him admitting in court proceedings that he “paid for political influence”. I mean in many ways this is entirely unsurprising, but come on man, the goalposts have moved now.
Bryant then went on to suggest that his assets should be frozen and he should no longer be allowed to own Chelsea.
Imagine that? Romelu Lukaku only recording seven touches in a game would be the least of their supporters worries if that was the case.
I for one would be delighted.
Dr - Michael Owen will see you now
Michael Owen, before Putin came along, was in pole position to receive the “knobhead of the week” award. Still, coming in second isn’t bad.
As we all know, head injuries have been a prominent issue in the country for some time now. The last week, in particular, has seen a pretty stark example in Leeds’ Robin Koch, who continued to play after a head injury, then collapsed mere minutes later.
The fact the Leeds medical staff said they followed protocols shows that football still doesn’t get it. It must leave campaigners like Jeff Astle’s family tearing their hair out. Just what more do people want for something to properly change? For someone to die?
Anyway, Michael Owen seems to have not got the memo. Following a head injury in Manchester United’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid, Owen’s studio colleague Chris Sutton made very sensible, and painfully obvious statements on what needs to be done around change - and the fact player welfare isn’t put first and that temporary concussion substitutes should be put in place to allow for a proper, off field, assessment.
“But... bumps and bangs on the head... they’re common” farted Owen, with little justification. Honestly, Michael, what sort of person are you? The sort who goes repeatedly the wrong way round a revolving door, probably.
“How do you know that’s not concussion?” Sutton countered. “None of those have come off” replied Mickey, in the distinct tone of a man who was talking utter shit. And knew it.
He then went on to engage in a spectacular game of whataboutery, in which he said every time someone gets a leg injury it could be a broken leg.
“Michael, that’s the view of a caveman. Football needs to catch up” said Sutton with considerable restraint, and almost kindness towards a man who has absolutely no valuable opinion on football, never mind medical issues.
And so in one 90 second exchange Michael Owen confirms to those who don’t already know - he should be nowhere near our TV screens. I mean, is that what you really pay your BT subs for?
I’d be asking for a refund.