Outside the Box: Time for a kick up the Arsenal as £100 ticket looms large
Sunday 05 October 2008
After the unwelcome landmark of the Championship's first £50 ticket, for Queen's Park Rangers' home game with Derby County last weekend, how long before the £100 Premier League match? It will certainly happen in London, where prices have always been highest, and the Emirates Stadium will almost certainly be the venue. Arsenal currently charge £94 for best seats at their biggest games, leaving Tottenham Hotspur (£75) and Chelsea (£65) looking cheap at the price. QPR, incidentally, had designated as "category A" opposition a Derby team that were in the bottom six in the table and had not won an away game for 18 months – until travelling to Loftus Road for a 2-0 success. Their manager Paul Jewell may not have gained many points but he will have won friends with his observation: "We can't keep bleeding fans dry."
Beautiful game for dates
It had to happen: an online dating site for football fans. And no Johnny – or Jenny – Come Latelys need apply. Dutch entrepreneur Ralph van Troost claims that his team of "referees" will weed out any pretenders who do not know their Arsenal from their elbow. How? "With fans, it takes one to know one," he says somewhat mysteriously. By yesterday, 350 lovesick supporters had registered at www.footballfanfinder.com.
You can say that again, Fab
Whether or not Fabio Capello has learnt all the colourful words Joe Kinnear uses in his dealings with the press, the England manager has his own way of making a point. Asked to clarify if he was criticising Newcastle in any way when talking about Michael Owen's current form, his reply was: "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." Message understood.
Peacock ruffles a few feathers
Colleague Stephen Brenkley's observation last week that players of previous generations were no more likely than Reading's at Watford to have owned up to a "ghost goal" has been borne out by one such beneficiary. When Charlton played Oldham at The Valley 36 years ago this month, a shot by the home team's Peter Hunt hit a wall behind the goal and rebounded into the side-netting. Oldham were preparing to take a goal-kick when they saw to their horror that the referee was heading upfield having awarded a goal. The then Charlton winger Keith Peacock, who crossed the ball for Hunt to shoot, admits: "I just grabbed Hunty and told him to start celebrating!"
A glove story with Lehmann
A year ago, he would say quite openly that goalkeeping rival Jens Lehmann hated him. Now Arsenal's Manuel Almunia claims he actually misses the provocative German, who returned home to play for Vfb Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. Almunia, as easy-going as Lehmann is spiky, says: "I feel last year Jens was good for me, because you need someone to push you. In the end maybe I missed him. Germans are very competitive, sometimes too much, but it's OK. We finished our relationship with a nice chat with our wives and it finished on a good note."
Reid Thais up midfielder
When Peter Reid took over as Thailand manager, he wasn't expecting to do much scouting in Lincolnshire, but it is at non-League Grantham Town that he has discovered midfielder George Zeurner, who qualifies through a Thai mother.
Nothing can save Jamo now
And finally... no hard feelings whatsoever about David James – yes, the Portsmouth and England goalkeeper – being named Football Writer of the Year by the Football Supporters' Federation. But his ghost writer may feel undervalued; and one or two football correspondents might be less inclined to find excuses for his next calamitous error between the posts.
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