The Footballl League kicks of it's 125th season this weekend with some fixtures featuring some of its oldest clubs, and six special matches.
Founding member Notts County take on Sheffield United tonight in League One. Preston North End host Wolves on Saturday and Derby County welcome Blackburn Rovers in The Championship on Sunday. Only three clubs are playing at their homes from that first season 1888-89.. Burnley at Turf Moor, Preston North End at Deepdale and Liverpool at Anfield. There is a Lancashire Derby between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale v Hartlepool plus Newport County v Accrington Stanley.
Today Coventry City were liquidated as a business and the club itself will be handed a 15 point penalty going into the new season, which sees them probably playing home matches at Northampton Town, an hour away. According to reports, only 210 season tickets have so far been sold, with fans annoyed that they are not able to play at the Ricoh Arena, which is too expensive.
A remarkable criticism of the Professional Footballers Association CEO Gordon Taylor was in The Times on Wednesday by columnist Matthew Syed. www.thetimes.co.uk He is the highest paid union leader in the country, with an annual salary of £984,000. A year or so ago he was reportedly paid and out of court settlement of £700,000 by News International, owners of News of the World for phone hacking. www.thepfa.com
The writer criticised Taylor, a former professional player of many years standing for his personal attack on the modern professional and for not doing enough for e- union members and current players in general. Taylor played almost 600 games, mostly for Bolton Wanderers and Birmingham City and also for Vancouver Whitecaps and Bury One in three players is divorced within three years of retiring and at present 129 players are serving prison sentences, 124 of them under 24 years old.
Taylor himself managed to get a university degree, and higher education is encouraged in USA, Scandinavia, Germany for example, for footballers, but not in UK. You have a situation where likeable 'Arry Redknapp, a multi millionaire manager, claims that he can't spell and has never written a letter in his life. I have a friend who has a promising teenage foorballer attending a private school in the London area and who plays for the youth team of a Football League club but was told that he won't be retained if he keeps in education. HE IS ONLY 16. !!
Taylor was quoted as saying last week that the modern player " Didn't realise how lucky he was". He mentioned players such as Sir Tom Finney and Jimmy Armfield, who earned less in their career than some present day pros earn in a week. I used to go to school with Jimmy and he was a one club man with Blackpool and captained England, but got himself a career as a columnist with the Blackpool Evening Gazette to bring his earnings to £100.00 a week, while still playing. Finney The Preston Plumber kept working at that profession while still playing for Preston and England.
Maybe we can blame Footballers Wives, and the type of women or girl that professionals meet when growing up... but that's another story or a soap opera.