Tuesday 3 June ~
If you want to know what is happening with the widely vilified Game 39 plans, check in the Times. Rupert Murdoch's serious newspaper continues to find various ways to push the cause. Today, their sports correspondent Matt Dickinson devotes a whole column to it, suggesting that the idea will get another airing at the Premier League chairmen's annual meeting later this week, possibly as a pre- or mid-season tournament rather than an extra round of matches.
For Richard Scudamore this would represent “a flag placed on foreign ground, perhaps the start of something bigger”. Of course Scudamore might not still be employed by the Premier League should this ever come to pass – he is being tipped to replace the recently departed Keith Edelman as Arsenal's managing director and it has also been suggested that a position will found for him at News Corporation eventually.
Meanwhile, Murdoch's TV network has had a flurry of free publicity in all the newspapers today for Sir Alex Ferguson's interview with his fellow knight Sir David Frost, which is being being broadcast tonight. Sir Alex explains that he still won't talk to the BBC because they have failed to apologise to him – “they never admit they're wrong” – though he doesn't specify what they are supposed to be remorseful about. Sir Alex's ire was incurred by the programme, made for a news-documentary series on BBC 2 rather by the sports department, about his son Jason Ferguson's involvement with an agency that represented several United players. Neither the club nor Sir Alex took legal action against the BBC at the time, although Jason no longer works for United in a professional capacity.
Sir Alex also says that Paul Gascoigne would have joined Man Utd in 1987 but went to Spurs instead because they bought houses for his parents. Had Gascoigne ended up at Old Trafford, Sir Alex suggests, he might have not fallen into his present state because the presence of “fellow Geordies” such as Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce “could have give him some discipline”. Gascoigne's continuing public disintegration makes headlines in the tabloids today – it's even on the front page of the Sun with “family, friends and doctors” being implored to act. But it gets one sentence in the Daily Telegraph, on the fifth page of the sports section, and no more than a couple of paragraphs in other broadsheets. That's because it's not really news any more, just entertainment for those who enjoy freakshows – a Sky production involving some of the same friends and family is probably being assembled right now.