Thursday, January 12, 2006

12 January 2006: Bung

Well, the computer is busy translating the entire ACM metadata set from XML to MySQL and RDF, so that should give me ten minutes to give a quick mention of the continued rumours abounding in the football world.

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me how many conspiracy theories are around, particularly during the transfer window. Theo Walcott due to move here there and everywhere for a fee that varies from a million pounds (if he goes before signing a pro contract when he turns seventeen in March) to fifteen million (Chelsea, in case you couldn't guess), Mike Newell on Radio Five Live this morning talking about bungs and saying he's prepared to name names of agents who've offered him money - and interestingly making the point that "isn't it interesting how many players who have the same agent always seem to end up at the same club." I wonder if anything will come of this, or, like the darts scandal earlier this week, the powers-that-be will decide that a quietly corrupt sport is better than a sport with proven scandals, and bury it under the carpet.

Good old Harry Redknapp was never too far away from such allegations, especially during his days at West Ham (oh, why was it he left there? Hm, can't remember...), and beyond the betting anomalies noted last month when he returned to Pompey and made some people very rich indeed, the whisper this morning from Mauro and Deano at the haircut shop was that Harry knew about incoming Russian businessman Alexandre Gaydamak and his investment that has allowed Harry to spend (at time of writing this) £12 million on players in the last two weeks. No wonder he was happy to put his past problems with Milan Mandaric behind him.

Mauro, incidentally, was concerned that the game is getting too much about money, but that may be because business was very slow at the barber shop and he was getting bored. Deano (a Pompey fan, but a nice one) was just happy to be supporting a club that seems to be buying all of Tottenham's players, and thankfully I was sitting in his chair for my mop-chop this morning. I'll never forget the fierce head-shave Mauro gave me after the Italians were beaten in the last Euro championships.

So where does this leave us? Bungs are rife in football, insider knowledge and dealing is rife in football, Saints have a rugby coach as director of football and Theo Walcott (whom I first saw as a fifteen year old in a pre-season match against Eastleigh, and who even then looked astounding) will go to a big club for not much money in the next few weeks. Meantime I have shorter hair, lots of ACM data and a confirmed place on the London Marathon. And next weekend we're all off to Aberdeen for the AKT workshop. Aberdeen in January... I can hardly wait.

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