Saturday, 28 March 2009

Shirt Wars


As I mentioned before I went to the Hull game (I was far too traumatised after it to write a match report - perhaps best encapsulated in a four letter word... poor) in fact far the best part of the day was me and the Favourite Nephew spending time together. We saw several odd sights, not least of which was this dog, resplendent in a replica shirt. You probably can't make it out from the photo, but it appeared to be signed by several of the Hull first team.

Several random thoughts flashed through my head at this odd sight, how did the owner persuade the dog to put it on in the first place?, did the dog wee on it every time he wore it? and did the owner have to try several on the dog before getting the right size? I had visions of him stomping into the changing room in the club shop shouting "sit" with an armful of different sized shirts. The need to dress your pet up in the colours of your team, is a little excessive, even for me.

Last Sunday, I was picking my way through the Sunday paper when I stumbled on a mildly interesting article, about Sports Direct trying to prevent the restructuring of JJB Sports in order to see one of its main competitors go bust. Two sellers of replica shirts having a scrap. It was interesting as the respective companies are owned by Mike Ashley and Dave Whelan, who also own NUFC and Wigan Athletic respectively. I'd been aware of Ashley and Whelan clashing before, as apparently Ashley had reported JJB Sports and others of fixing the prices of football shirts, which led to a OFT enquiry and subsequent fines (JJB's was £8.3m - or one and a half Titus Brambles').

I'd guess that this was the final straw for Dave Whelan, who then decided to launch into attacking Ashley via numerous media outlets, including an interview with Radio 5 Live. Have a listen to it...I found it almost comical, the epitome of pique. I half expected him to finish off with a "and anyway, my Dad's bigger than his" and then flounce off in some sort of hissy fit. As ever the chaps at NUFC.com sum it up :-

It's a bit of cheap, sh*t-stirring based more on personal and business grievances than any football gripes and says more about Whelan's lack of class than Ashley's and that's saying something....

But one part of Whelan's tirade really bothers me, the assertion that Steve Bruce would never come to manage Newcastle. I know that the line was fed to him by the interviewer, but why on earth does he think that Newcastle would want Steve Bruce as a manager? The team has suffered having a plethora of managers, temporary managers, assistants, and part-time managers this season already, the last thing needed would Steve Bruce tipping up at the steps of SJP, claiming he knew how to keep the Toon in the Premiership merely because he understands the accent. I've said it before (on more than one occasion) Steve Bruce should never manage Newcastle United, his style would be as detrimental as Allardyce's was for the club.

However, the thing that does worry me, is was this Whelan trying to fob off Bruce onto Ashley? A sort of "you couldn't possibly afford him" type of statement, intending to goad Ashley into digging deep into his pockets and inflicting Bruce on the fans... Maybe its just paranoia brought on by being in the relegation zone, but I wonder...

Off now for a lie down in a dark room, with a damp towel on my forehead... waiting for the mists to lift.


1 comment:

TeeTotallyNot said...

While I see where you're coming from (a dark room with damp towels, one that you'll need a few more times this season :)) I doubt that Whelan woud be shrewd enough to come up with such scheme... and (I can't believe I'm saying this) Ashley dumb enough to fall for it..then again, there seems to be no limit to his stupidity as this season has shown.