As the Football Association team delivered their 1,752-page bid book for the 2018 World Cup on Friday – hoping it would inspire Fifa bigwigs rather than put them to sleep – "legacy" was again a buzzword. While the England bid has been careful to emphasise its lasting benefits for football all over the world, as opposed to merely making the rich richer, the Premier League points out that one of the reasons Germany's Bundesliga has the largest crowds in Europe (as pointed out in Outside the Box last week) is that many stadia were rebuilt or upgraded for the 2006 World Cup, thanks to support from regional and national government. As attendances can fluctuate from season to season when, say, Newcastle are replaced by Burnley, the Premier League uses percentage occupancy as its criterion and claims by that measure to be ahead of the Germans. Clubs close to full houses all season included the top three plus Stoke, Spurs and West Ham. It was also good to know that Lord Nelson is posthumously supporting the bid (a scarf having being hung round the column in Trafalgar Square). Being one-eyed, he would have made an excellent football manager.
Goals Aloud do their duty
Having achieved promotion from League One by the skin of their all-white teeth, Leeds United today begin a new assault on the pop charts with the release of a digitally remastered 'Leeds, Leeds, Leeds', the song which made the top 10 as a 1972 FA Cup final record and, er, No 54 after Howard Wilkinson's team won the title 20 years later. The new version is estimated to need 50,000 downloads to make it a No 1. Meanwhile, numerous contenders attempt to fill the void so sadly left by Fabio Capello's disinclination to have his squad record a World Cup song. Not the best time for Ashley Cole to persuade Cheryl to come up with a ditty, so instead of Girls Aloud, we have "Bring It Home" by Goals Aloud. Members include a Coronation Street actor and Alan Green (the darts player and Liverpool fan, not the 5Live commentator who says he is not a Liverpool fan).
Friar tucks award away
Ken Friar, who has worked for Arsenal for over 60 years, was a popular recipient of the Service to Football award at the League Managers' Association annual dinner. He recounted a story from Arsène Wenger, who was a little concerned after his first year in charge of Grampus 8 in Japan to be summoned by the club chairman and told that the season had been a disappointing one and that something would have to change – "so they sacked the interpreter". Harry Redknapp capped that by his deadpan reference to David Bentley, who threw a bucket of iced water over him on camera after fourth place in the Premier League had been secured: "I hope he'll be very happy at his new club."