Thursday, September 10, 2009

Congratulations, felicitations... and investigations

Reasons to celebrate? Round these parts? Shurely shum mistake. But no, congratulations are indeed due - to both Chris Hughton and Nile Ranger.

As had been widely expected given our unbeaten table-topping start to the season, Hughton was today named Championship manager of the month for August. As noted in the recent A Month Of Saturdays piece, few would have foreseen the way the first month would pan out given all the chaos and innumerable distractions going on off the pitch, but Hughton has acted with commendable dignity and compusure (characteristics all too often in short supply at the club) and got on with the job of working with what he's got - even if those footballing resources were dwindling by the day. (Incidentally, I hadn't heard the story about David Edgar until reading the Ronnie Gill article linked above - absolutely unbelieveable.) While I doubt many fans have suddenly become convinced he's the long-term answer to the managerial vacancy, there's no doubt he's done a sterling job thus far this term in the most trying of circumstances.

Ranger, meanwhile, followed up his man-of-the-match-winning full Toon debut against Leicester with a goal as England U19s beat Russia 2-1 in a friendly on Tuesday night. Just as well he's in goalscoring form - though Big Lad is still on the treatment table, Bigger Lad is likely to be fit again and will expect to lead the line against Cardiff on Sunday.

But it's not all good news, though, with the announcement today that Fat Mike's Sports Direct International are under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. Also under scrutiny are JJB Sports and in particular their former chief executive Chris Ronnie, with whom our old friend Dave "Dignity" Whelan, Wigan chairman and JJB founder, has previously insinuated Ashley was in cahoots. Probably best not to make any comment, but were the allegations to be proven, then Fat Mike might find his dream of departing St James' becoming a reality - albeit in the back of a police van...


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