Editorials

The Heysel disaster should be a reminder of the potential dangers ahead at Euro 2000

On May 29, the city of Liverpool formally marked the anniversary of the Heysel disaster for the first time, 15 years after it occurred. If anyone needed any further reminders of the worst that can happen at big international football ev­ents, the timing could not have been bet­ter.

Having won the Premiership for the sixth time in eight seasons, are Manchester United in a (European) league of their own?

­So, another stroll to the title for Manchester United with records broken in the process for the number of goals scored and the points margin ahead of second place. Is it all getting a bit too easy? The Sunday Times thinks so, suggesting they “are on the threshold of the sort of monopoly Rangers enjoy in Scotland”.  The relative ease with which United won their sixth title in eight years has been contrasted with more closely contested championships elsewhere, with Lazio still pushing Juventus in Italy, Bayer Leverkusen leading Bayern Munich going into the final fortnight of the Bundesliga and as many as four teams with a realistic chance of winning the Spanish league with three games left.

The new Wembley may be bigger, better and more beautiful, but supporters will still struggle to see their clubs' play

The punishments handed down to Leicester City players and officials over the sale of their 1999 Worthington Cup final tickets seem a bit random. Andy Impey received a five-year ticket ban and was fined £20,000 for selling ten tickets to Tottenham fans, while Tony Cottee got a three-year ban and a £12,500 fine, even though 35 of his tickets got into the hands of Spurs supporters.

Sam Hammam's players have ruffled a few feathers, but their team spirit and his shrewd management have kept Wimbledon above water longer than anyone expected

It is rare for all the newspapers, tabloid and broadsheet alike, to run the same picture on their sports pages. But it happened at the end of February when they all featured an image of a middle-aged businessman sitting in a puddle. Wimbledon’s former owner Sam Hammam had just sold his remaining 20 per cent stake to the Norwegian millionaires who took control of the club last year. The players marked the event by soaking him at the training ground. As has often been the case with Wimbledon, it was probably fun for those directly involved.

A peculiarly British arrogance is at play over the release of players for the African Nations Cup

The African Nations Cup has been in existence for over 40 years, making it slightly older than the European Championship. Until very recently, this biennial competition has received almost no media coverage here. Now, however, vir­tually every column on the sports pages has something to say about the effect it is having on the English season.

Have Man Utd and its staff become more important than the actual Championship itself?

Manchester United’s participation in the “world club championship” in Brazil this month might have been designed to make a point about the unhealthy imbalance between the English champions and every other club in the land.

Once again the matter of abuse from fans has been brought to the media's attention, but has it ever gone away?

It’s no reflection on Bobby Robson’s age to suggest that perhaps his memory is failing him in certain respects. The Newcastle Utd manager was apoplectic about the treatment meted out to Alan Shearer by Watford fans at Vicarage Road in November. “Think about what he has done for club and country,” Robson entreated us. “Whatever has happened to our so-called sporting public?” 

The Euro 2000 play-off draw has pitted the two oldest foes in Football against each other, but does anyone outside of Britain care?

“I would not be Kevin Keegan if I did not get excited about this,” said the England manager in a blinding flash of self-awareness on hearing the Euro 2000 play-off draw. Unfortunately, he is Kev­in Keegan, and his face was splashed all over the papers after England and Scotland came out of the hat together (or what passes for a hat at UEFA headquarters these days).

A weekly dose of Champions League is not necessarily proving to be a hit in Europe

There’s more than a slight air of desperation hanging around this season’s Champions League, and it’s not just emanating from Bob Wilson. “This first stage of the competition doesn’t interest me,” says Johan Cruyff, and frankly we’d have to lump ourselves in with the thousands of fans who appear to agree with him.

Newcastle have sacked another manager, leaving us wondering whose fault this mess is

Another August, another Newcastle manager on his way. This time last year we boldly hinted at disaster for clubs like United who change their manager with ever increasing frequency. Obviously, it gives us absolutely no pleas­-ure to have been proved right. No, really, not even a tiny bit.

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