Football is now “a big TV reality show”

Not had enough of the Terry story yet? That’s right, the saga which threatens to last longer than talks to resume devolved government in Northern Ireland won’t get off the pages of our papers or our computer screens. You just know a story has “legs” when even the Wall Street Journal takes an interest. Look out for interesting quotes from Alexi Lalas and Tony Cottee. Ponder exactly how football has become another reality TV experiment. And then pray it’s over by the weekend so we can all get back to some proper football news.

Owen Hargreaves has failed to make the cut for Manchester United’s Champions League squad. The decision means the defensive midfielder is now extremely unlikely to feature in England’s World Cup squad. Late last year I went on record about my admiration for Hargreaves (Hargreaves for England’s 2010 World Cup squad? - 16th December 2009). He will be sorely missed in the summer.

A report in today’s Independent reminds us that there probably never was a golden age when footballers weren’t prepared to take a few chances on and off the pitch. Condemn them if you will, but I suspect hawking coffee and soap to Belgian shopkeepers had more to do with low wages and an eye for an opportunity.

Which leads neatly to Stuart Pearce entering the Terry debate with a characteristically robust defence of his captain. Is this intervention by an England legend the first sign that the Chelsea defender could hang on to his job? All week the message has been that any decision on Terry’s future will be taken on footballing rather than moral grounds. You couldn’t get a more suitable spokesperson for this line than Pearce.

Need something to read as you contemplate another month of “Terry did this, Terry did that” stories? This might help.

Talking of books, a mate has just had his published. Jimmy Cormack’s “Balkaneering” follows the Scot on his travels around the Balkans in search of insights into this extraordinary region. If it’s anything like Jimmy’s usual stories, the end product should be hilarious.

“Balkaneering” is available from http://www.olidapublishing.com/ for £7.99.

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