Outside the Box: Scudamore's role in taking off Thaksin and bringing on Sheikh
Sunday 26 October 2008
While the football authorities might have been hoping that Thaksin Shinawatra – originally deemed a fit and proper person to own a Premier League club – would be found not guilty of corruption at his trial in Thailand, there is considerable relief that he had managed to dispose of Manchester City before the verdict was announced last Tuesday. Flimsy as they are, the "fitand proper person" tests employed by the Football Association and Premier League could hardly give carte blanche to someone sentenced to two years' imprisonment in his own country, which is now seeking his extradition from Britain after he skipped bail to return here. Intriguingly, it emerges that City and Thaksin were both advised that the way the wind was blowing in Thailand, it would be impossible for him to continue as the club's owner. Hence the hasty sale to the vastly richer Abu Dhabi United Group, which suited all parties. Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, says in defence of his organisation: "Don't underestimate the role the football authorities played in that." Better late than never.
Drogba beats FA to punch
In the book trade, pretty much any publicity is of the good variety. Aurum, publishers of Didier Drogba's autobiography, were nevertheless bewildered to hear that the Football Association were investigating supposed comments in it that he wished he had punched Nemanja Vidic properly in the Champions' League final – not least because the book went to press too early to permit any mention of the game in question. The relevant (or irrelevant) quote came, in fact, from an interview at the book launch with Sunday newspapers in which his actual words were: "If I'd really punched him, yes I would have understood too the red card. My reaction was too much but if I knew I was gonna get the red card, of course I would not do it." Nowhere does he say: "I wish I had." Case dismissed.
Jocks away from top flight
The declining influence of Scottish football was highlighted by the fact that the number of Scots appearing in the Premier League last weekend was a miserable three: Manchester United's Darren Fletcher, Sunderland's Craig Gordon and Tottenham's Alan Hutton. Checking back reveals that even 10 years ago, both Blackburn and Everton fielded more Scots than that on their own: Callum Davidson, Christian Dailly, Kevin Gallacher and Billy McKinlay at Ewood Park, and Alex Cleland, John Collins, Duncan Ferguson and Don Hutchison for Everton – who by season's end signed David Weir and the appropriately named Scot Gemmill.
Beckham hails Milan move
David Beckham yesterday said he would be "honoured" to join Milan on loan but insists his long-term future remains with Los Angeles Galaxy. He is expected to agree a loan deal shortly as he bids to maintain his fitness for England. "Milan is one of the biggest clubs in the world. It doesn't mean I'm leaving the States, I'm still very committed to being a Galaxy player," he said.
Nice little Hearner
And finally... Leyton Orient gave out free tickets for last week's home game against Tranmere to anyone with a London E10 postal address. Their chairman, Barry Hearn, may be interested to know that more entrepreneurial locals were selling them at £10 a throw in a park next to the ground.
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