Talking Point

Jurgen Klopp Could Have Saved Us

I’m not sure if I have lost touch with reality whilst I have been in lockdown, but, like Joseph I had a dream and it seems to me we have lost an opportunity to manage the coronavirus pandemic as we would a football club.

First of all, we have the politicians who are the equivalent of the owners of clubs. They haven’t got a clue as to what is going on, but have the ability to throw money at any given situation. The politicians, instead of, like owners, paying a few people a huge amount of money, have decided to pay everyone(their fans) who wants it their wages, whilst these people languish at home. Most owners have never kicked a football in their life and most of the Conservative politicians have never seen the inside of a NHS hospital, paying instead for private health.

So, the politicians who don’t have a clue have brought in the experts, as owners bring in managers. Unfortunately, as it turns out for the UK, these experts are only guessing what can work. They have never played the game before, so are completely unfamiliar with formations and strategies. Instead, they have gone for a 1 10 formation. In other words, complete defence to exonerate them from any blame later.

The trick we have missed is bringing in foreign managers to see us through the crisis.We needed the equivalent of Jurgen Klopp to work out the correct strategy. In the coronavirus epidemic, we need to be at the bottom of the league, not the top. Perhaps Avram Grant would have been a good choice. A German would have been fine, but a South Korean would have been better.

In respect to West Ham, the club has skills to help the country face the challenges that confront us. With so many people at home craving entertainment, we could have relied on the skills of David Sullivan to produce pornographic videos to entertain the masses and ensure we did not get a dip in population due to the crisis.. David Gold could be employed to turn a Rolls Royce factory into a giant dildo manufacturer.Karen Brady’s skills could have been used to get sponsorship. For example, in order to praise the NHS, a company would have needed to pay a fee and their name would be displayed alongside the message.Betting companies could pay for the right to gamble on how many deaths we have each day. It may sound a bit macabre, but Karen would be just the person to carry this out.

Sepp Blatter should be appointed the Chairman of the WHO and his job would be to have a closed auction to bid for the first batches of vaccine. Each country would be encouraged to put forward their arguments for being the winner, before we discover that Russia has won.

Meanwhile, the Premier League could be decided by having just a penalty shootout competition with the penalties being taken by the mascots of each club, since they already wear the PPE to ensure no one is endangered. Sky and BT would still have to pay £750 million for the privilege of the TV rights, otherwise the 2020-21 would be given to the Saudis for free, as they are pirates and weren’t paying for anything in the first place. A lottery would decide what season ticket holders could attend, as fans would have to sit 2 metres apart.

To replace football on TV, we could use VAR combined with drones to decide if people are breaking the lockdown rules and keeping social distancing. Replays would decide whether rules have been broken and a former police commissioner could give his opinion.

Goal of the month could be replaced by Whopper of the Month deciding which politician had told the greatest lie during the pandemic. Instead of those coronavirus updates everyday at 5.00pm, we should have Coronavirus of the Day presented by Gary Linekar with Alan Shearer, who puts me to sleep every Saturday evening and could perhaps put the nation to sleep for the rest of the pandemic.


Talking Point

Lockdown 2 - The Sequel

Do you know what the most important law in the world is? Murphy’s law. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. This accurately predicts what is happening currently.

What’s happened to Greta? We haven’t heard from her in a while. The climate change protesters laid their bodies across roads to stop the economy. Well, now they must be in climate changers’ heaven. The world’s economy has stopped. Millions will be unemployed and another few million will die of hunger. They got what they wanted – a clean world and fewer people. Who would have thought? Anyway, we won’t be seeing them for a few years.

How to get yourself in a mess during a lockdown? My youngest son ordered a takeaway curry for his family. My grandson had a chicken korma, which he didn’t finish. So, the next day, he heated up the leftovers in the microwave for lunch and went for a sleep. The next incident was my son heard a thump from above and called my daughter-in-law to have a look (he is too lazy to climb the stairs). She found my grandson had fallen out of bed and could hardly talk or move. Then, he started throwing up profusely. They called an ambulance which arrived in two minutes – this must be a record and he was taken to hospital. The first I knew of it was when my grandson Whatsuped me, looking very spritely and proud he was in an hospital bed. Alls well that ends well. He won’t be having curry – ever.

We live in this bizarre world where Sir Richard Branson is asking for financial assistance. I have this morbid theory. In reality, I died sometime in March and my spirit has created this world in which I have to exist in. Is it hell or is it heaven? Funnily enough I watching the setries DEVS on BBC and this is actually the plot(almost).

As part of my daily exercise, I wheeled out my bike, blew up the tyres and gave it a good oiling. I decided to practice in the side roads opposite my house. What’s the expression – ‘It’s like riding a bike.’ Getting on a bike after a couple of years certainly isn’t. Getting on the bike was a bit like getting on a horse and I wobbled a bit as I rode off. I came to a steep hill and I was determined to get to the top. I didn’t. I ended up sitting on someone’s front garden wall trying to get my breath back. During my ten minute recuperation, I had to weigh the positives and negative. The positive was that I would become the fittest person to ever come out of lockdown. My figure would reduce from that of a German businessman’s to someone who resembled a stick insect. On the negative side, I would have a massive heart attack, wobble into a pantechnicon or fall off and break my wrist or ankle. No one would come near me to give me the kiss of life, as this has been prohibited under the Government lockdown rules.

This reminds me of the story of the young and beautiful Queen Sunandha of Thailand , or Siam as it then was in 1860, who drowned because the law forbade anyone to touch her on pain of death. I suppose the royal family could afford to lose her as her father, King Mongkut had 82 children. She and her ten-year old son were crossing the Chao Phraya river in a separate boat, as nobody was allowed near them. Unfortunately, there was a strong current and the boat overturned. The guards in other boats watched as they drowned, afraid to break the law.

Gradually, we’re going to get sick of Netflix and reading and start our own creative efforts. After all, I’m writing this, my wife is painting pictures and my son is writing songs. Multiply that a billion times and we’re going to have a Coronavirus Renaissance. People will discover, you don’t need Versace printed on your t-shirt or fancy jewellery, or fast motor vehicles or even holidays when you are stuck at home. Make up and botox are out the window. File your own nails and do your own hair. We are learning it was all vanity, vanity, vanity.

After the fiasco with my bike, I’ve taken to walking through the forest with my daughter. I like to have a short rest on one of the benches on the footpath. My daughter stands lookout, in case there are some armed police hiding in the bushes.

I’ve been following the excellent advice of Donald Trump to ward off Coved-19. So far, I have been taking the malaria pills I have left over from a holiday to Africa, sleep at night under a UV lamp. Today, I started injecting myself with Dettol. I feel a bit light headed but incredibly clean.

I think the Royals are so wonderful. They really lift the spirit of the nation. It brought a tear to my eye watching the pictures of Prince Andrew helping to pack food parcels. He really cares for the vulnerable, particularly young women.

I’ve just worked out what the statistics mean because at the moment the infection rate is level rather than dropping, even though we have been in lockdown for five weeks. Anyone in lockdown is not going to catch the virus. So, in the main, the people who are catching it and being tested are the health workers and their families. The NHS employs 1.5 million people. Add care workers and families, so there must be at least six million people liable to be exposed to the virus. 5000 a day are catching the virus, so that would make 5 years before they all have antibodies and the rest of us can be released from lockdown. The 1918 pandemic went on for two years, but the world population was only 1.8 billion then.

And the WHO states that catching the virus does not give a person immunity, so, it’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. Once you think you get to the end, you have to start all over again (or Groundhog Day)

Kim Jon Un apparently is in a coma or dead. No doubt some mad general will take over and push the red button. That will be one way of getting rid of the virus. Donald Trump will state that fallout is an excellent way of eliminating the virus.

As the Queen has no one around her any longer, I am told she has to make her own tea. Apparently, she has never heard of tea bags, so she makes it in the old fashioned way. Plates of food , which have been blasted with uranium to eliminate any virus, are left outside her door, with a tin of dog food for her favourite corgi who is with her. However, her aides are afraid that at 94, she might mix things up, so they leave a note on top of the food ,’This is for you’ and ‘This is for your dog’.

Sales of food and drink have shot up by 31%. So, we’re all going down in style. I’m not sure if the figures include Northern Ireland, as wakes are no longer allowed.
I understand when the new rules about flying come into effect, you will have to spend two weeks in self isolation when you go anywhere and two weeks in self isolation when you get back. So, in order to have two weeks on a beach in a sunny climate, you’ll have to take six weeks off work.

We are experiencing such wonderful blue skies. Isn’t the world going to be such a beautiful place when humanity is extinct? Greta must be thrilled at the prospect.

We are now reaching the point where a lot of men haven’t cut their hair or shaved for six weeks. The caveman look is back. Soon, we won’t be using deodorants to save the ozone layer and not bathing to preserve the water supply.When we come out of lockdown, you won’t need social distancing and people won’t want to come near us anyway.

Finally, I’d like to share a joke with you. I was Skyping my eleven year old grandson and I told him to tell me a joke. He looked one up , ‘What did the pirate do when his parrot bit off his penis? Got himself a woodpecker?’ I laughed even more when he asked me to explain it.


Talking Point

Life in Lockdown

Note from Iain: This article has nothing to do with West Ham, but it’s a good read and maybe it’s a good way to let off steam about what we’re all going through at the moment.

I would like to hear how other West Hammers are doing during the lockdown, but here’s my experience.

I have dragged myself from the sofa to my computer to write this. Does this count as my daily exercise?

The only activities I am able to contemplate and in the correct order are going to the toilet, sleeping and eating. I have been reduced to a human version of the Venus Fly Trap, except, for the time being, I am more mobile. Crisps and chocolates act as my prey.

Sleeping comes easily to me, as, all you have to do is think of nothing, which is pretty much what I have been reduced to all day, except, of course, when I am logging in to the Sainsburys website to see if they have delivery slots available.

I try to avoid watching live television, as all channels seem intent on describing to me the different ways I am going to die. A headache. A cough. Difficulty breathing. Pneumonia. Oxygen. A ventilator. Death.

I’ve been watching some series on Netflix, a company which is now worth more than the British economy. 7 seasons of Homeland took me a week to watch. It’s about some nutty American girl who goes round the world, saving everyone she meets, including the American president two or three times. Her co-star is a British actor pretending to be American who plays the part of a patriotic terrorist.

Then came Madmen, which stars a man so handsome that his clients and women fall madly in love with instantly, apart, of course, from his wife. She is a bit naïve, because she believes his story, when he comes home in the morning, that he has been working all night.There is a girl who flits across the screen with a huge bust. There is an incredible amount of alcohol and cigarettes consumed and I’ve taken to making all the cocktails they mention, such as Harvey Wallbangers, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Sidecars etc, so most of the time I am off my head when I am watching it.

We’ve been taking the car to drive to the forest to go for a walk, although we are afraid we shall be stopped by the police and dragged out of the car, whilst one policeman trains a sub machine gun on us. I let my wife drive, as during lockdown, I have forgotten to drive and I’ll take a refresher course when lockdown ends.

My son suggested we start to grow vegetables in the garden, so I have dug up all the roses and planted peas, swedes and potatoes. I’m not sure I did the right thing as I just planted some frozen peas in the ground. As you can tell, I haven’t a clue what I am doing, but intend to learn by experience, just as they must have done in the Stone Age.They certainly had a lot more skills then than I have now. I’d like to plant a cherry tree, but I think the lockdown will end before I get any fruit.

We have been trying not to panic buy, although every room in the house is crammed with boxes of toilet rolls. I estimate we have enough supply for a hundred years. As I am over seventy, I have registered with Sainsburys as vulnerable, which is the only category of people they will deliver to. However, when I log on, there are no delivery slots available. Damn those vulnerable people.

I’m trying to think of all the good things that are happening during the lockdown. Knife crime seems to have dropped to zero and you don’t hear about county line gangs, whatever that was. Rape and sexual crime figures are down to zero. This is fortunate, as the police can direct all their attention to preventing people from sunbathing. My psychological health has improved in one area, as I don’t have to watch West Ham losing most weeks. Nobody is dying in car crashes and plane crashes. Jon Snow has stopped going to Syria. Harry and Meghan are locked down in Los Angeles. Parliament is suspended. Brexit won’t happen, as there is no longer a European Union and it is every man for himself. The Beckhams are in their own special kind of lockdown – sometimes here, sometimes there, you see them everywhere.

The best form of entertainment is watching a Donald Trump press conference. I have never seen an idiot with such self-confidence. They should name a mental disease after him – the Trump complex. He’ll be the only President whose term will bring the best ever economy and the worst ever economy. However, it’s highly likely he will be re-elected in November, as Democrats will be afraid to go to the polls, whereas the Republicans do not believe in social distancing. Joe Biden also seems to be losing brain cells month by month, so , if he is elected, the Americans would have replaced a President with paranoia with one with alzheimers.

In Britain, we are led by leaders, who are so incompetent, they were amongst the first to catch the virus. I believe the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer also got their dose of the virus, so why should we believe a word they say. They parade three zombies out every evening to tell us what is happening and what is not going to happen. They come out with brilliant inventions like a green badge saying ‘Care’. I’m not sure if this will ward off the virus , as there is a shortage of PPE.

Instead of the football results, I listen to the number of deaths. We are in some sort of race with other countries and I’m quite excited, as many say, we are going to win. As most young people aren’t going to be affected, I’d let anyone under 50 end their lockdown and let the rest of the population to go out at their own risk. Let’s face it, it’s the health professionals who are probably spreading the virus more than anyone else. They’re doing shifts without proper protection and then going home on the Underground, which is still packed.

My family and I have tried Zoom a couple of times. What seems to happen is you log on and then spend half an hour saying ‘Can you hear me?’ and ‘Turn on your audio.’ It is a shame people have forgotten how clear phone calls were on a landline. Now, when a chap from the Philippines calls on the landline and tells me he is from BT or Microsoft, I keep him engaged in conversation for as long as I can to preserve social contact. I also keep getting emails from Nigeria telling me that they want to transfer a billion pounds to me, but I reply that, unfortunately, I have no way of going out and spending it at the moment.

I’m reading a novel called, the Mandibles and it’s so prescient that the author, Lionel Shriver, must have come from the future. By the way, the author is a woman and she changed her name from Margaret to Lionel, which definitely proves she is from the future where all names will be gender neutral. By the way, she’s not LGBT. Also, I’m trawling my way through Wolf Hall, where references are made to the sweating sickness, which seems similar to coronavirus except you die more quickly. You have bacon and eggs for breakfast, feeling OK and then you drop down dead at lunchtime So, Hilary (also a unisex name) Mantel must also be from the future and her style of writing English proves it. Anyway, it’s a joyful book where you either die of plague or having your head cut off Otherwise, I’ve just finished a 900 page book ,my son and daughter-in-law gave me, called Stalingrad – another happy read.

We live in a modern household, which means we all eat differently and at different times. I try to creep into the kitchen, but my wife has the hearing of a Golden Retriever. I am told I am useless at washing up. I may scrub a pan until all the non-stick surface has been rubbed off, but my wife will still find a small, unsatisfactory spot. She tells me just to leave everything , but being obstreperous, I still try to clean up. That’s life! One minute they are telling you to clean up, then you are told to leave everything.

I can mostly tell what day of the week it is. I know it is Wednesday, because the gardener comes (we keep our social distance) and I know it’s Friday, because they come to collect the bins. At other times, I can make a haphazard guess, but it won’t be long before I’ll be lucky if I can tell you what month it is. What’s the name of the Prime Minister? I remember it was some chap with crazy blonde hair, but he seems to have disappeared.

Anyway, you all keep well. By the time this ends, I would have forgotten the rules of football, so thank goodness for VAR.


Match Report

Fly Me To The Moon

I hope you are all well and surviving the lockdown. I can tell you that football has dropped way down my list of priorities and therefore, I find myself sympathetic to a recovering alcoholic.

I am binge watching TV series on Netflix. I’ve got through seven seasons of Homeland and am in the middle of Madmen. My eyes have turned square.

Karren Brady, in her usual oblivious way, came straight out at the beginning of the crisis and stated that the Premier League season should be cancelled. It is typical of her to try to take advantage of a situation, although it didn’t take long for her to be gagged and reverse 180 degrees. I believe it would be right to out her in permanent furlough.
We have no control over the London Stadium and the next argument will be over whether they still convert it for athletics over the summer at the obscene cost of £8 million with the possibility that football will be played alongside a running track.

The question of whether players should be kept being paid is being discussed and West Ham are one of the first clubs to agree to a deferral of part of their pay. Force Majeure is not part of their contracts , as they are not shipping containers. However, a club could plead contract frustration, as an event has occured, which is not the fault of either party, but which prevents the contract from being fulfilled. However, if it is found a contract has been frustrated, the club may lose the signing fee and a player would be free to join another club without penalty.

Meanwhile, we have the argument about players’ pay. I sympathise with the players, in that any pay cut they take will go straight into the owners’ pockets, On the other hand, we are surely going to see some clubs going into administration. It would be an achievement, however, if they recognised that taking their pay, whilst others are losing their jobs, is unseemly.

Our shirt sponsor, Basset & Gold have gone into administration. It is another example of Brady grabbing money where she can. It would have taken 5 minutes to realise that the bonds they were offering were extremely high risk and another 5 minutes to find out from their accounts that any money they raised was transferred to another company in their group and then abroad. Anyway, £34 million has been lost. It would seem that money went into another company called Uncle Buck, which has also gone into administration. I hope no West Ham fans have lost their money and if so, Brady should recompense them out of her obscene salary.

The main question is how the Premier League will be able to keep its hands on the £750 million that they are owed for television rights this season. There is little doubt that we shall see the season played out behind close doors. I saw an article that suggested everyone would be flown out to China. Perhaps Elon Musk will take everybody to the moon.

I smile when I see there is still speculation as to who we shall transfer in the summer window. Sullivan and Gold are probably minus billionaires now, so there won’t be any fund for buying players. We shall have to sell to stay afloat. And if the TV money goes, then administration will be a real possibility. Perhaps Sullivan and Gold will be employed next season to wave the flags prior to the games. Betway should be taking bets on whether either or both go bust.

In any event, we know that West Ham are the first club to break ranks and announce they are having a £30 million rights issue. Why a rights issue, instead of a loan? Perhaps, Gold can’t afford anything and we shall see his proportion of the rights issue going to others.

By the way, if you subscribe to BT sport, you need to log into your account and tick the box to state you want two month’s credit. I have no idea why they haven’t applied this automatically. It took me ten minutes to navigate myself to the correct page.


Match Report

Sign Up for the Karren Brady MBA

What are we going to do to maintain our mental health during the football shutdown?

I could suggest we all take up knitting, but I could be accused of sexism, as a lot can be read into that short sentence. The first accusation would be that I am suggesting an activity mainly undertaken by women to a bunch of men and that my actual intention wasn’t to suggest men take up that hobby but to get a cheap laugh at the expense of women.. The second accusation is that I am stating that , during a period of repose, men take up an activity usually undertaken by people who have nothing better to do.

So, I had better steer clear and instead ,suggest you sign up for the new Karren Brady MBA at the Arden University (which I have never heard of). Its an online course and at a cost of £12,000, it’s an absolute snip. Like Karren, it will equip you with the skills to tackle common business issues. You will eventually, like Karren, become a world-class business leader. The blurb states that Kerren gives her fascinating insights into what happens behind the boardroom doors. I do believe a number of people do watch videos of what happens in such situations, so they will be quite fascinated.

Karren has given the site her own view, informing potential students that she has managed and led football clubs. With insight, Karren states that people rarely become an overnight success, but her hard grind (my words not hers) has led her to the top.

Karren came from nothing to her position of greatness. Her father had a mere £50 million quid. Karren didn’t take an MBA herself and, instead, she targeted the advertising spend of one her father’s clients, David Sullivan, who was so impressed by her talents that she end up as managing director of Birmingham City at the tender age of 23. Admittedly, a low point was her arrest on 2006 by the City of London Police amid allegations of corruption in English Football, but it all came to nothing.

As well as having David Sullivan as a mentor, Karren took a job with that other well-known moral example, Phillip Green when in 2017 she took the job of chairman of Taveta who own the Arcadia Group.

I am sure one segment of the MBA will be entitled ‘Chuzapah’, which , on its own will justify the outlay.

Now, to more serious matters and that is the consequence for the Premier League clubs whilst football is at a standstill. At some point, Sky, BT et al will stop paying and that will be a greater blow than the loss of income from the sale of tickets. Wages of £135 million a year will still have to be paid. As it stands, the club has little cash and everything is mortgaged up to the hilt.

The owners will not be able to step in. I suggest you consider the predicament of Intu, a leading property company in retail units and this is effectively bust. The owners of West Ham will be fighting for their survival. One good piece of news for David Gold is that, since people will be spending more time at home, the business of Ann Summers may have revival.

Looking at the results of the stadium survey, this will achieve what the fans want. West Ham will go into administration and rise like a phoenix to a new beginning.


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