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Football: Here's what I find REALLY offensive about you, Scu.


LAST week, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore talked about things he found offensive. He's had his go. Here's a different list.

What's offensive is that Scudamore now presides over a league that makes Dodgy Derek's Used Car Emporium look above board.

What's offensive is that Scudamore is so in thrall to the most powerful of his member clubs that they're giving the impression they're making up the rules as they go along.

It's the Wild West in the Premier League that Scudamore built. It's getting to the point where it feels like anything goes.

What's offensive is that six months ago, a leading Premiership manager placed a bet on one struggling club to stay up this season which, for obvious reasons, is against the rules and open to serious abuse.

What's offensive is no one I know - no supporter, no manager, no player - would have any faith in the Premier League doing anything about it even if the evidence was to be presented to them on a silver platter.

What's offensive is that if you want to concoct a 'gentleman's agreement' between two leading clubs which is going to have a radical effect on the title race, you're going to get away with it.

What's offensive is that Manchester United and Everton did that right underneath Scudamore's nose and then the Premier League put out a statement saying they were content Everton were free to play Tim Howard against United.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

What's offensive is Scudamore fiddling while the Premier League writhes in its shame at West Ham's survival.

What's offensive is that we have to rely on Sepp Blatter and FIFA to say they're going to investigate the failure to deduct points for the breaches of rules U18 and B13 while our own league pleads impotence.

What's offensive is that West Ham effectively made tens of millions of pounds out of the Premier League commission ruling because their pounds 5.5m fine and failure to dock points allowed them to stay up and rake in the television cash next season.

What's offensive is Scudamore paying lip service to a decision that allowed cheats to prosper and sent an honest club like Sheffield United down.

What's offensive is the presumption that just because West Ham ripped up its copy of the agreement with the companies that controlled Carlos Tevez, then the companies that controlled Tevez must have ripped its copies up, too.

What's offensive is the sight of Scudamore sitting in front of Kia Joorabchian in the directors' box at Old Trafford on Sunday.

What's offensive is Scudamore not having the bottle to be at Bramall Lane instead to see the fruits of the 'independent' commission's decision to let West Ham off the hook.

What's offensive is knowing that Scudamore didn't witness the effects relegation had on the Sheffield United fans who were ignored by the Premier League commission when it waxed lyrical about the 'loyalty' of West Ham supporters. What's offensive was the pain and the anger on their faces as they walked up to the press box and asked us why the Premier League didn't value their loyalty as much.

What's offensive is that the commission decision backed by Scudamore will have cost a good manager his job if Neil Warnock decides he can no longer continue at Bramall Lane.

What's offensive is that Scudamore reacted with warnings and disdain to the dismay of the four or five clubs outraged by the commission's decision.

What's offensive is that Scudamore suggested their show of emotion was driven by financial concerns when the entire Premiership under his control has become driven by financial concerns.

What's offensive is that he appears not to have the wit to understand that just because his 20 member clubs empowered the commission to act on their behalf, it shouldn't mean they can't express their disquiet about the West Ham decision.

What's offensive is a system that forces West Ham fans and London-based Manchester United fans to travel to their game on Sunday on a day when there were no morning trains northbound between Euston and Manchester Piccadilly.

What's offensive is a system that doesn't take measures to prevent those same fans arriving first at Chesterfield, then at Sheffield, to find their connecting trains have been cancelled.

What's offensive is those fans having to club together to catch taxis from Sheffield to Manchester to get to Old Trafford before kick-off.

What's offensive is that the Premier League says it cares about its fans and it does nothing to prevent or at least improve a situation like that. What's offensive is a Premier League allowing football's rich to get richer and its poor to get poorer.

What's offensive is tin-pot Premier League spin doctors getting so carried away with their own arrogance they start emailing journalists and telling them they're 'spectacularly off-beam'.

Off-beam? I'll you what's off-beam. Off-beam is that same spin doctor inadvertently alerting a colleague of mine to the Tim Howard story in the first place.

Off-beam is the quiet corner where the reputation of the Premier League has gone to lie down and die.

Off-beam, my sanctimonious little friend, is this sad and unavoidable truth: West Ham's presence in the Premiership next season and the seasons after that will act as a lasting reproach to Richard Scudamore and leave a bitter, bitter legacy of his period in charge.


HE'S BEHIND SCU: Joorabchian (far left) sits behind Scudamore at Old Trafford; AGONY for this Blades fan
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 16, 2007
Next Article:Football: Magpies must praise be to Allar.

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