Sport should’ve cancelled.

Published: Monday, 12 September 2022

Of course football made the correct decision to postpone games following the Queen’s death. In my view - the entire sporting world should’ve stopped to pay respects.

Why did cricket play on? And golf? Why was there horse racing? Was it because those sports had no insurance to cover cancellations? If that’s true what a sorry state of affairs. They played on because financially they couldn’t afford not to? Never mind that we’d all just witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event of enormous magnitude? The attitude of those sports seemed to be ‘bollocks to that - we play on because there’s money at stake’ I stand by what I said in my tweet at the weekend - that stance was shameful.   

Football made the correct call despite the millions at stake. For once football laid aside all financial considerations and made a mature decision. Millions of people would’ve been criss-crossing the country with not a care in the world - except where the next pint was coming from and three points for their team. No. I’m sorry. That would’ve been wrong and because a few recently retired modern day footballers - who’re used to getting everything their own pampered way - disagreed, those of us that think differently should not hide nor be ashamed of that view.

I noticed that Mr Morgan was also upset. Fine. I have no problem with him expressing his thoughts, but what he tends to all to often forget, is that if he genuinely believes in free speech, then others also have a right to say what they believe - including Meghan Markle. What it doesn’t mean is that he can bully the likes of her and Harry simply because they have a different view to his.

So I’m comfortable with the decision that football took and I fully understand how angry some poor folks were because it cost them time and money. I know many fans travel from abroad to experience football in the U.K.  Surely the clubs they support can ensure that they are looked after going forward? I’d like to think so anyway.

If we’re in for a few more cancellations next weekend I can’t think of a better reason why that might be the case. Pause. Think. Respect.

I was delighted to see Graham Potter land the Chelsea job. We said last week that he’d get a big one soon. I didn’t think quite this soon, but what a blow he’s struck for British coaching. Well done Graham. I think everybody knows my thoughts on how important it is that young Brits can see a path to the top.

That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed the influx of some of the best coaches in the world into our league - Klopp, Guardiola, Mourinho and co - but we’ve got to make the same opportunities available to our own - and that includes black and women coaches. Did anyone at Chelsea consider a conversation with Emma Hayes? If not - why not? It won’t be long now before the first woman takes charge of a mens team - so why not be the first? At first very least women should be part of the conversation when a vacancy occurs. Only then will we start to see changes.

My fear for Potter is that he gets swallowed up by that dressing room at Chelsea. I don’t think they were entirely to blame for Tuchel’s departure, but a few of them played a part. I thought Tuchel was unlucky to be sacked so early in the season, but would’ve he have survived any longer had Abramovic still been in charge? Probably not.

They’ve given Potter a five-year deal I see. Don’t I remember David Moyes getting seven years at United? Chelsea have apparently told Potter it’s evolution now rather than revolution - but it’s not. There is no way Chelsea’s fan base will accept five years without a trophy. They’ll be up in arms if Chelsea finish with nothing this season. Potter is under intense pressure now and he’s got to deliver. And quickly.

That was one of the lessons that Moyes learned at United. He told me that when he was appointed he was re-assured that finishing
outside of the CL places for two seasons - as he re-built - wouldn’t be a problem. Except it was, especially when Mr Ed started getting it in the neck. Exactly the same will happen to Potter if Chelsea are not competing for trophies and a CL place at the back end of the season.

Chelsea fans are used to winning habitually now. Did they ever care that Ambramovich went through so many coaches while we all applauded the stability at Arsenal? What was it - seven coaches and 11 different trophies during the last ten years of Wenger’s time?

I wish Potter all the luck in the world. He’s going to need it.