As a writer myself, I fully understand the importance of a punchy promotional tour for one’s scribblings.
Especially at this time of year, when literally everyone in football with a story to tell and access to a literate ghostwriter is releasing an autobiography for the lucrative Christmas market*. So how does one stand out from the crowd?
Being one of the most controversial players ever to feature in the English top flight, Joey Barton’s book was always likely to stir up a hornet’s nest of interest. But Joey, as committed to his purpose as he was to slapping City players on that heady day back in May 2012, has gone the extra mile to ensure his availability to chat about his weighty tome, No Nonsense, which is out on Thursday.
Having contributed little to Rangers’ efforts during the 5-1 thrashing at the feet of Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic, Barton reportedly ‘had an altercation’ with teammate Andy Halliday in the post match meeting which resulted in him being told to stay away from the Rangers training ground while the club decided what to do with him.
In the end, they banned him for three weeks but today news broke that Barton is being investigated over allegations that he may have gambled on the result of the Celtic/Rangers game; an offence that, if proved, can result in heavy penalties for the player concerned.
Suffice to say, Joey is at a loose end for the next few weeks, currently owns more column inches than the New York Post and you can fully expect to see him arguing with someone in a book store near you soon. Ace.
*GOOGLE TRANSLATE SAYS: “Crap, I haven’t got Dad anything.”
“There’s a book about a man who managed Manchester United in the early 80s and was later sacked from a TV channel for making a racist slur, get him that.”
As experts in sartorial elegance, I take it as read that you like to keep abreast of what’s going on in the wild (occasionally hallucinogenic) world of kit and boot development. Cut, hang, snugness to mobility ratios in shorts, colour schemes, visibility from space; all essential contributors to your enjoyment of the sport and the ability of manufacturers to shill stuff to idiots like me.
Puma currently have their noses in front in this alarmingly lucrative market after a barnstorming EURO 2016. Italy, Slovakia and Austria all felt the benefit of their edgy yet unfussy garb during the tournament, and while their boot game could do with a boost, Nike have seen their challenge and accepted it.
Far be it from me to cast judgement (I can’t, anyway, I’ve stared at them so long my vision has become impaired) so let’s just say they’re both as brilliant as Leroy Sane’s expression suggests.
Anyone got any Ibuprofen? I think I’ve got a migraine coming on…
Whether it’s Cristiano Ronaldo scruffing some kid’s hair or Marek Hamsik laughing as a little girl stacks it on the turf, there’s a world of emotion to be extracted from player mascots. There’s also a ton of money to be made, which is why you’ll find that some clubs are charging up to £600 a pop for little Johnny or Joanne to cling onto a sweaty man hand for five minutes.
And yes, before you open a new tab and find out whether it’s worth applying for the opportunity to press the flesh with Fernando, there ARE height restrictions.
But enough of my cynicism. At the weekend, the average age of people taking to the turf at AIK’s Friends Arena in Sweden skyrocketed after the club decided to pay tribute to some of their most faithful fans by allowing them to walk out with the players. Instead of bouncy kidlings festooned with GoPros, men and women aged between 81 and 96 toddled onto the pitch, arm in arm with the players who represent the latest generation of their club.
It’s not a one off, either. Apparently, AIK are actively encouraging seniors to support them, providing bus services to and from matches for people who live in retirement homes.
A beautiful gesture and one that sated the gods of karma for a week, at least. AIK beat Gefle 1-0 and are currently 3rd in the Allsvenskan.
For the moment at least, all is right with the footballing world.