Thursday, February 28, 2008

"A very interesting and exciting idea"

So there I was, scoffing at the crass eagerness of the Smogs' chief exec Keith Lamb in enthusiastically embracing the Premier League's ludicrous idea of a 39th game, when an automated response to my email opposing the proposal arrived in my inbox. It had been sent to all clubs via the Football Supporters' Federation website, and this reply just happened to be from Newcastle...

"Dear Ben,

Thank you for your email.

First of all may I send you a link to our website story concerning the proposal to create a new international round of fixtures, just to ensure you have the correct information to hand. Read the article
[This is a hyperlink].

Hmm, patronisingly suggesting we're all ignorant and would see the genuine benefits of a 39th game if only we were in possession of the full facts isn't a great start, is it?

"I can appreciate that from a fan's perspective any suggestion of additional fixtures may cause an immediate response in terms of how it will affect existing competitions, indeed fixture scheduling is an important issue and one that has been identified by the Premier League as critical in progressing the proposal."

"An immediate response"? So now the suggestion is that the contempt and disdain with which the idea's been met is just a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the fans. Given some time to reflect on it soberly and maturely, surely we'll come to see the light...

"However, this is a very interesting and exciting idea which if structured correctly will have great benefits for football and its communities."

And so to the crux: the club's very thinly veiled endorsement of the proposal. Are those pound signs I can see in your eyes?

"Having said this, you can be certain that before any firm decisions are made, the Premier League and its clubs will examine all facets of the proposition to ensure that the integrity of the league and the interests of its fans are taken into consideration.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us with your views, when appropriate the club will add further comment on our website.

Kind regards,

Simon Esland
Head of Customer Operations

Well, of course, Apparatchik Esland - heaven forbid a decision was to be taken in the world of football without due consideration of the fans...

Thankfully, with Premier League chief Richard Scudamore's cancellation of a scheduled meeting with Sepp Blatter to discuss the issue, hopefully we've just hitched our wagon to a dead horse.


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