Sunday, 9 March 2008

Black and white but no Grays

What is the Football Association on? First, they decide to arrange the FA Cup semi-finals for Wembley, to pretty well universal derision, given the fact that "getting to Wembley" for the Final is historically and practically a big part of what the whole lure of the competition is about. This simply devalues it, especially as teams outside the Premier League have done stunningly well this year, and at the very least one of them will go all the way.

Then, even more bizarrely, they rule that non-league Grays Athletic FC must pay £14,000 to their former player Ashley Sestanovich, who has been convicted with conspiracy to rob and imprisoned for eight years after a heist in which someone was murdered. Grays terminated Sestanovich's contract prior to his conviction but the FA's judgment means that unless they pay the player's wages for the preceding five months they could face suspension from all competitions. Bonkers.

Stellar son-of-Grays Russell Brand (pictured), whose Guardian footie columns I love, has it well taped here. He writes: "Whilst I acknowledge that the FA has no power to override employment law I think they have an obligation to be supportive to Grays Athletic at this time of crisis, [and] giving them 14 days to pay this fine or risk suspension seems draconian. It is a malevolent gardener who so unthinkingly condemns his lawn. Instead of administering the Baby Bio they're out there blundering about in stilettos."

Now try 'If Keegan's a messiah I want the cockney Moses.' Mind you, if Elijah turned up at NUFC the Toon Army would complain, and think Shearer's cat had more prophetic nous.

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