Anorak News | The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

by | 20th, January 2004

‘LONG gone are the days when the only number that mattered in football was the match result. Now there are numbers everywhere.

Between a Rock Of Gibraltar and a hard place

Many have pound signs in front of them; such as the Mirror’s story that racing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus are poised to offer £650m to take control of Manchester United.

Since he is not on the best of terms with United’s manger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Magnier’s first job, if indeed he does take over, might be to give his adversary another number to contemplate: P45.

Of course, ousting Ferguson would not be a move popular with United’s monocular legion of fans. But, then, United are not in the business of being popular. No, really they are not.

If they were they would surely have taken the Rio Ferdinand case on the chin and not unleashed a 125-page appeal against the player’s eight-month ban for not complying with some pretty simply instructions.

As the Express reminds us all, the document is almost four times the length of the FA’s 32-page explanation to the club for banning the player. Sounds like United are protesting too much.

But back to the numbers and money, and the news in the Mail that Leeds are ready to sell Alan Smith to Newcastle for £3m.

This is viewed by the paper as being something of a bargain, and prompts it to look back over what it calls the “biggest football bargains”.

In full, these bargain buys are: Gary Linker – Barcelona to Spurs (£1.1m); Peter Schmeichel – Brondby to Manchester United (£550,000); Eric Cantona – Leeds to Man U (£1m); Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Molde to Man U (£1.5m); and Nicolas Anelka – PSG to Arsenal (£500,000).

Looking at that lot, Smith, at £3m, looks like further evidence of how inflated the football transfer market still is.

Just look at the Mirror, which says that Mark Viduka, Smith’s colleague at Leeds (at least for the time being), is prepared to take a £12,000-a-week pay cut in a selfless bid to help the club out of the mire.

But before you utter “What a guy!”, know that the cut will reduce the Australian’s wages to a corpulent £48,000 each and every week.

That should be enough for him to muddle by on.’

Posted: 20th, January 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink