If the Kids are United
In the January 2015 transfer window Dele Alli signed for Spurs from MK Dons
after being widely tipped to join us. At the time I questioned his choice
and the advice of his agent, referring to Spurs as a ” midfielders
graveyard” where he’d rot in the reserves without ever getting a chance.
That was in contrast to us who were so poor and in such need of some spark
that there was a chance he’d have walked into the first team.
Fast forward less than a year and the positions have turned out to be the
exact opposite to my thoughts then. Alli has broken into Spurs first team
and made a goalscoring first start for England in midweek. Meanwhile, our
own youngsters appear little closer to our Premier League eleven. Adam
Armstrong’s made a splash this season but he’s playing in League 1. Kevin
Mbabu was briefly impressive but we’re yet to discover if he’s seriously in
contention or was just last man standing at the time. The creaking bones of
Rolando Aarons haven’t held together long enough to confirm last season’s
promise. The rest are nowhere near. Does anyone think if Alli had come here
we wouldn’t now be fast tracking him into becoming the next Haris Vuckic?
There’s a point in a youngster’s career where they need the opportunity to
show what they can do and they’re just not getting the chance.
Half season tickets went on sale this week, with the expressly stated
purpose of filling up empty seats in the stadium. They’ve noticed then.
What’s interesting is that they appear to have heeded the grumbling from
full season ticket holders in previous years. This time, the part-season
tickets appear to work out at exactly the same price per game as the
full-season ones, as opposed to the last few years when tickets became
available part way through the season which were appreciably cheaper than
those bought to cover all 19 home games.
It’s probably a wise move on the club’s part, as they may be slightly less
likely to fill up those empty seats, but full-season ticket holders are
also less likely to give their ticket up for next season and wait for a
cheap half-season of football from Christmas onwards. Of course it’s great if you’re getting to see a match on the cheap, not so great if you’ve paid top dollar for your ticket and your loyalty is rewarded by casual attendees turning up every week having paid less than you. I await an
announcement that the practice of offering batches of £20 tickets to large
NE employers will also now come to an end.
I Walk the Line
You may have missed a strange story where a Director of Carlisle ended up running the line after the ref was injured during their FA Youth Cup victory over Doncaster Rovers this week. You’ve guessed it, Carlisle’s director flagged for offside and disallowed an equaliser for Doncaster 2 minutes from the end of extra time.
I’m astonished this was allowed to happen at this level. My own experience some years ago of Sunday League where club officials usually take the flags, was that you had to start attacking runs a minimum of 5 yards onside to avoid activating the Lino’s hair-trigger flag arm.
The serious point here is that people cannot avoid being swayed by their loyalties when officiating. The Premier League rely on officials stating their own allegiances to decide which ones shouldn’t run matches involving particular clubs and that doesn’t seem enough to me.