Don’t you just love Fixture List Publication Day? It should be declared a public holiday. Really, it should. If you’re one of those fans whose life seems empty during the months when the weather’s at its best (temperatures are currently over 30C here in England), a period of time known as the off-season which should be spent relaxing with family and friends and ice-cold beers and not worrying about football, then days like Fixture List Publication Day are a godsend, a sign that the off-season hill has been crested: it’s all downhill to pre-season friendlies and the start of the season proper! The countdown to the new season has officially begun.
And what an opening fortnight to look forward to: home and away fixtures against two of north London’s ‘finest’, Airline FC and the occupants of Three Point Lane — two teams whose fans we find loathsome at the best of times. Recent events have conspired to ensure that our rivalry is even more intense; taking one sporting director and six points off them in the first two weeks of the season will drive their hatred of us to new heights. I dare anyone to walk down the middle of the Seven Sisters Road in full Blue Regalia post-August 27th!
While we’re in that vicinity of the Big Smoke, it is rumoured that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy required a swift and hefty Heimlich Maneuver this morning after choking on his breakfast of Rice Krispies (the rumours suggest Martin Jol was the man for the job). Photos in today’s tabloids showing his sporting director Frank Arnesen onboard Roman Abramovich’s yacht Pelorus off the coast of Sardinia were said to be responsible.
After recovering sufficiently, it’s alleged that a period of witlessness came over Mr Levy, which resulted in an ultimatum: pay his club about £8m in compensation for Frank Arnesen by noon BST tomorrow or face a Premier League inquiry! After weeks of holding us to ransom, Mr Levy’s finally decided to run to the Head Teacher and squeal: ‘Sir, sir — someone’s taken the laces from my football boots!’ Oh dear. Expect the usual barrage of tabloid tosh in the coming week: 15-point deductions, transfer bans, Wayne Bridge/Carlton Cole/Asier del Horno to Sp*rs — you get the picture.
Which leads in a roundabout way to transfer rumours and ‘fishing’. Rumours are circulating that we want to take Juan Sebastian Veron back from Inter after the Argentinean completed a one-year loan deal with the Nerazzurri. Before you find yourselves in a Heimlich Embrace with a work colleague after choking on your lunch, our desire to have Veron back isn’t because we want him to once again grace the Premiership in that languid way of his, but because we want to dangle him and a reasonable sized suitcase full of roubles in the direction of Atletico Madrid in the hope of hooking a Fernando Torres. This follows an apparently unsuccessful attempt to hook an Andriy Shevchenko by dangling several very large suitcases containing the equivalent of £48.9m in roubles plus Veron’s fellow Argentine Hernan Crespo in the direction of AC Milan.
If Argentinian bait and suitcases full of roubles fail to get a bite in the Seas of Madrid and Milan, then there’s more suitcase dangling to be done in the Sea of Turin, home of Juventus, the champions of Italy, whose prize specimen goes by the name of David Trezeguet. Whether Argentinian bait is also to be used is as yet unclear.