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The Week That Was

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

A dreadful few weeks for Southampton FC were compounded with yesterday’s news that the club has been docked 10 points by the Football League – a move which effectively sees them relegated from the Championship. As ever a tangled financial web confuses the issue but the basics are that the Saints’ parent company went into administration and the League announced it will dock the points this season if the club stay out of the bottom three or next season if they don’t.

A sad day for the club’s fans and a reminder to supporters everywhere of how quickly things can go wrong – from the Premier to League One and administration within a few years. And this at a club that managed to raise huge amounts in the last few years alone from the sales of Peter Crouch, Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Kenwyne Jones. The sooner we have greater financial transparency in the game the better.

Happier news on Monday as it was announced that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had partially upheld a complaint from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) regarding Manchester United’s season-ticket policy. We wrote about this back in December and congratulations are in order for MUST who have put in a lot of leg work around this. Hopefully in time the OFT see fit to ban United’s widely-hated Automatic Cup Scheme too.

Back to on-the-pitch matters and the title race looks over, to all intents and purposes, as it’s difficult to see Manchester United dropping six points. Unbelievably, Andrey Arshavin became the second Arsenal player in only two years to score four goals in one game at Anfield. A pat on the back if you can guess the other – answer revealed here.

Liverpool turn every game into a rugby score while Fergie’s lot are an efficient, but not-so-great on the eye, outfit. Bit of a turnaround there from previous seasons then. The less said about the latest Ferguson/Benitez spat the better as well, it’s all getting a bit playground isn’t it? Anyway, we might be speaking a little early, but it’s been a decent title race and hopefully next season will see a closer one again – you would imagine it will if Torres and Gerrard can stay fit all season.

Wednesday’s FA Cup Final rehearsal was absolutely scintillating too. Let’s hope the big day in May produces something a little bit more exciting, we’re due a decent Cup Final.

Congratulations are definitely in order for Mick McCarthy and Wolves who secured promotion from the Championship while Leicester grabbed the League One title. We know there are plenty of other teams throughout the leagues who are almost there as well but we won’t jinx any by naming names.

Interesting to see McCarthy’s pal Roy Keane has returned to management at Ipswich and is already talking of promotion next season. Whatever you think of Keane the media were certainly happy to see him back as he can give a quote alright. 

FSF in the news – we appeared in a few places this week, most prominently in the Guardian alongside Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed looking at the possibility of a Premier League salary cap. However, the Guardian chose not use Al Fayed’s full quote, which was a great shame in our eyes.

“Wages need to be capped…other chairmen need to wake up from their coma and join me in this fight. They can have lunch with me at Harrods where I can serve them stags’ testicles – we all need big balls in this business,” said Al Fayed. Indeed.

Daily Mirror readers will already be aware we have our weekly column in the Football Mania section, last week’s column looked at Football Supporters International whose annual shindig takes place in July.

Lastly we had a little fun with Charlie Sale after he wrote about us in the Daily Mail. We even emailed him giving the right to reply (which is more than he did for us) but, alas, we’ve not heard back. Hey ho, fun over.

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