Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

There's Posh: Golden Balls Is Coming Home

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

There's Posh: Golden Balls Is Coming Home

Article excerpt

A time to take socks. Looking back, looking forward, looking good, looking bad.

Watershed 1. This was the season the back pages realised that the Prem is not the greatest league the world has ever seen. Otherwise, why have we not got the best players? We look around and see that almost every half-decent player in every Prem team is foreign--and in the case of the Spaniards, players who can't even make their own country's starting 11. Last season, Chelsea luckily winning in Europe delayed the self-realisation. Now it's staring us in the face.

Watershed 2. Is Arsene a gooner, I mean, gonner? The tide of Arsenal opinion has suddenly turned, the clever columnists are joining in the kicking. I predict he will survive--and thrive.

Still with us. A V-B--which has surprised me. Early doors I went round the house saying gone by Halloween, you mark my words. Then I changed it to Xmas--you see, he'll be orf. Got both wrong, which of course does not deter me. History by Easter. Trust me ...

Coming soon? The Beckhams. This is a matter of vital cultural, economic and political importance, not just football. Think of all the headmasters this Xmas unable to sleep, having heard the pitter-patter of paps in the corridor--wanting it to happen, putting their crummy little fee-paying school on the map. And the estate agents, dreaming of that bonus. While at No 10 they have their fingers crossed--knowing they could be blessed by association, should the Golden Ones move to London and accept all their invites.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

New players. Unknown to almost all of us, till this season. Raheem Sterling of Liverpool, just turned 18 (on 8 December), but looks like an England regular already. Michu, aged 26, of Swansea. Where did he suddenly come from? Spanish lower leagues, which is where he had spent most of his career so far.

Money matters. Remember that 2p piece thrown at Rio Ferdinand--and the [pounds sterling]2.0 notes Liam Ridgewell of West Brom wiped his bum with? I immediately got out my calculator to work out the significance. A [pounds sterling]20-note is 1,000 times more than a 2p piece. If the average fan's take-home wage is [pounds sterling]500 a week and the average Man United salary is [pounds sterling]50,000 a week--then that's also 1,000 times more. Says it all, really. …

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