There have been reasons to smile for some fans however, following the announcement of the venues which will be incorporated into England’s World Cup 2018 bid. Amongst the cities included are Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Plymouth, all of which are homes to clubs outside of the top flight. Of course, some of these are names more familiar with England’s top flight, but wouldn’t it be great to see the Brazilians playing in Plymouth? Or maybe Lionel Messi and company dazzling the crowds in Bristol?
The fact that these lesser known footballing hotbeds have been recognised is indicative of their determination and drive to develop the towns and cities in question. Most of these bids are based on either new stadia, or the redevelopment of ageing grounds which can only be seen as a positive. Of course, there is something special about visiting an old, antiquated football ground, but at the same time it is always nice to be able to watch a match in total comfort with a fantastic view wherever your ticket may see you seated. Should England be selected for the finals tournament in 2018, we can look forward to a lasting legacy of fantastic sporting arenas. Lets just hope that those selected do not attempt to stretch their towns or even the clubs themselves beyond their means.
Touching on the subject of financial problems, it has been reported that another club is on the verge of entering administration. Despite a couple of appearances in the Premier League over the last decade, Watford have rarely failed to catch the eye and have seemed a banker for a mid-table finish in the Championship, if not a season of struggle at the bottom. This time around, the club have shown signs of improvement and currently occupy tenth spot, within touching distance of a playoff berth.
Reports have suggested that administration is just around the corner. The club and parent company, Watford Leisure, both owe substantial sums and with senior figures on the board resigning this week, including Chairman Jim Russo, things are looking desperate for the Hornets. Entering administration would mean a definite 10 point penalty and despite the promising start to the season on the field, the deduction would see the club drop drastically down the table leaving them just outside the relegation zone. Fans up and down the country will of course keep their fingers crossed for the Hertfordshire side. Watford fans will no doubt be hoping that Sir Elton John is feeling generous this Christmas.
Former Watford boss Brendan Rodgers may well have been considering how fortunate he was not be still be in charge of the Hornets considering their present plight. However, it turns out that things are not too rosy for him either these days. Wednesday saw Rodgers and Reading part company by mutual consent. The pairing had only mustered five league victories in their relatively short partnership and so with the Royals finding themselves just outside the relegation zone, it was perhaps inevitable that a change was on the cards.
Rodgers is not the only manager to find himself out of work in recent weeks. Sheffield Wednesday and Brian Laws also went their separate ways, whilst at Plymouth Paul Sturrock was relieved of his managerial duties last week. Following on from his suspension as QPR chief last week, Jim Magilton has also now left his position on a permanent basis alongside John Gorman, bringing the total number of managerial changes in the Championship alone to seven already this season. With only half the season gone, the very nature of our game suggests that there will be more to follow, and with clubs’ expectation levels increasingly soaring, who is to say who will be the next casualty?