In the dizzy heights of the Premier League when emotions run high things can get out of hand

Millions of neutrals will have watched the recent Manchester United ver­sus Arsenal match and greatly enjoyed its conclusion – even people who dislike the Premiership for what it represents will have been entertained. They may have been surprised, therefore, to learn that civilisation itself was undermined by what followed a late penalty miss. Sky, of course, were shock­ed by the hounding of Ruud van Nistelrooy and made sure we saw why, repeatedly, from every angle. Revulsion swept through the media – phone-ins were jammed, the tabloids brought out extra large point sizes for their head­lines and the letters pages were full of tearful letters from parents about how their poor children were shocked by what they saw (while they were outside, argu­ing over who was going to play Mar­tin Keown in their reconstruction).

Who knows what lies in store for Chelsea as fun time with Roman beckons

By now we will all be agreed that any newspaper which describes to the occupants of Stamford Bridge as “Chel­ski” should be referred to the Press Complaints Commission and sternly censured with, at least, a swingeing fine. Short custodial sentences and history lessons, meanwhile, ought to be the norm for anyone using the term “Red Roman” for a man described on his takeover of the club as “the real financial genius of Russia’s bandit-capitalism epoch” – Ken Bates is more leftwing.

Stop this farce and have a little respect

FIFA have missed an opportunity once again. In new rules introduced for the season, players are forbidden to wear sleeve­less jerseys and there are to be no slogans or advertising on undershirts. The latter stipulation at least means that a seemingly very partial God will no long­er be thanked by an evangelical Brazilian striker on scoring his side’s fifth against Ven­ezuela. But once again, players who kiss their badge after scoring have es­caped censure.

Democracy comes to football in differing forms

So, democracy comes to football. Luton Town’s decision to elect their new man­ager, referred to in WSC 197, pro­duced a most unexpected result in late June with Mike Newell apparently beat­ing Joe Kinnear to the job by just four votes. Meanwhile in Spain, Barcelona fans enthusiastically voted in Joan La­porta as new club president on the back of his pledge to sign David Beckham and four other players.

Like Newell, Laporta was a rank outsider when campaigning began, with just 2.2 per cent support among Bar­celona’s 100,000 voters (the Pope is a club member but is believed to have ab­stained). How embarrassing then for the new president to see Beckham subsequently depart to Barcelona’s sworn enemies for several million less than they had been prepared to pay.

It might not be everyone's cup of tea but the Confederations Cup certainly has its worth

Much heat and little light have been expended in recent weeks over the length of the football season, with especial reference to England’s European Championship qualifier against Slovakia on June 11.

In an era of spiralling debts, clubs teetering on the edge of administration will feel the full force of football's anger

As you know, Neil Warnock enjoys a rant. Many football supporters would, however, agree with the content of his re­cent tirade against Leicester City in the Sheffield United programme when the clubs’ met recently. “I find it quite im­moral that they have been allowed to do what they have done off the field.” War­nock’s complaint was that Leicester could write off 90 per cent of their £50 million debt after calling in the administrators last October. Warnock called for punitive action, adding: “Otherwise, everyone who has huge debts will do exactly the same and it leaves clubs like ourselves – who run a tight financial ship – at a huge disadvantage.”

Should international friendlies be cast on to the football scrapheap?

The new England shirts, launched at the end of March, have “anatomically eng­ineered moisture management pan­elling”, which is another way of saying lots of small holes, ideal no doubt for play­ing in hot weather. Whether England will need to use them in a certain international tournament next summer is, of course, far from certain. However, a qual­i­fication failure by England wouldn’t dis­please the clubs employing three of the four players, Michael Owen, David Beck­ham and Rio Ferdinand, who mod­elled the new strip.

Don't make players pay for failure

It has been reported that Gary Megson has taken to bringing a giant cheque, of the type normally reserved for pools win­ners’ photographs, into the West Brom dressing room to remind his players how much they would make in deferred bo­nus payments if the team stay up. It hasn’t worked – to date he has brought out the big cheque three times and the team have lost each match.

Leeds United's financial dealings are coming under scrutiny

Televison cameras picked up Peter Rids­dale slumped in his seat during Leeds United’s match at Goodison Park, to where travelling fans had brought ban­ners reading, among others, “Lies Uni­ted” and “PLC = Pathetic Leeds Chairman”. In view of the fact that he is receiving advice from PR expert Max Clifford, he might have unveiled one of his own: “Blame Liverpool”. If it hadn’t been for the latter’s cave-in over the last few fix­tures of 1999-2000, Leeds wouldn’t have finished third and qualified for the Cham­p­ions League, with all the unfortunate effects it has now brought.

Peter Kenyon's call to cut the number of professional teams to 40 is being met with fierce opposition

At the time of writing, York City could be less than a fortnight away from disappearing. The club is in administration, players aren’t being paid and prop­erty developers Persimmon, who hold shares in the company that owns the ground, Bootham Crescent Holdings, plan to build flats on the site.

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