Football Diary


by Patrick O'Connor




THERE can be no denying that the Premier League finale was a fantastic affair, a footballing feast of excitement and thrills as Manchester City tore the title away from neighbours and arch-rivals Manchester United with two injury time goals.


But the result was dreadful news for football in general. A rich man's plaything has suddenly become even more attractive and appealing which means more millions of pounds will be splashed out next season, causing untold damage to the structure and ethos of the game.


It will be interesting to see how those weak-willed individuals responsible for running football in England will respond to the impending financial fair play regulations and whether City will show any restraint. My fear is that City will dominate the Premier League until their owner gets bored with his toy.


Scottish Premier League clubs face a crucial period in their history as they ponder how to deal with the crisis engulfing Rangers.


The clubs will vote on new financial fair play rules on May 30, especially in relation to cash strapped Rangers. Some of the parties interested in taking over Rangers are looking at the idea of forming a new company to run the club while the old one strives to resolve the debt problem which led the Scottish giants to go into administration. A majority of fans oppose admitting a "newco" Rangers into the top flight.


The chief executive of Rangers' Glasgow rivals Celtic Peter Lawwell has sought to dispel fan concerns on how the club will act in a vote on Rangers' future.


“We will do what is in the best interests of Celtic Football Club and our supporters, consistent with upholding the interests and reputation of Scottish football,” said Lawwell. The chairman of Dundee United, Stephen Thompson has spoken about the dilemma facing the SPL, with clubs losing a large slice of their income should they kick Rangers out the league but facing threatened fan boycotts if they do not. The situation has once again highlighted the fact that Scottish football is totally dominated by just two clubs.


I wasn't surprised to see that Manchester United have insisted that striker Javier Hernandez will not be one of Mexico's three over-age players for the London Olympics. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that 23 year old Hernandez needs a rest after playing for Mexico in last summer's Gold Cup.


“His form last season [2010-11] was fantastic. He's found the second year more difficult, but a lot of that is down to not having a summer break for three years and playing every summer for his country. “


Some of the world's top players are now almost playing a full year and there has to come a time when someone says enough is enough for the sake of their health and their future careers.


Graham Westley, the tough-talking manager of League One side Preston North End, has pulled no punches in his bid to revitalise the club. Seven players have been transfer-listed and another 14 have been released, while a further three loan signings will return to their parent clubs.


“I want to work with players who want to put in the hours and effort and the work that it takes to succeed,” he told BBC Radio Lancashire. Ouch!