Sunday, May 06, 2007


Congratulations to Bristol City for their promotion yesterday - Cav and Clare will be pleased!

Sadly, these congratulations do not extend to West Ham, who have clearly cheated the system in signing an ineligible player, and then benefited from the system bending over backwards to make sure the punishment they received a - a paltry £5.5m fine (especially when compared to the £30m they'll make from Premiership survival next season) - was in no way reflective of the crime committed (wilfully and deliberately breaking Premiership rules to sign two players, and then going out of their way to cover up their crime). The fact that one of these players - Carlos Tevez - is playing a major role in helping them to survival (scoring five goals and creating numerous others in their run of six wins from eight games) is just rubbing salt into the wound.

Some of the comments made by the so-called "independent" panel ruling on this beggars belief - effectively trying to justify their decision because the club changed hands or because it's supposedly a big club. It acknowledges the club broke the rules by fielding ineligible players, and yet no points deduction was made. Another excuse - it was too close to the end of the season - falls down because the panel could easily have ruled a month earlier when West Ham were still on 25 points.

West Ham have connections at the highest level in football, and it's clear these connections have been used to make a mockery of the idea of laws, rules and justice. Because if all you get is fined for playing ineligible players, why aren't the likes of Wigan and Sheffield United bringing in match-winning players they'd otherwise be unable to afford? Because you can bet had one of these been guilty of signing Tevez they'd have seen 10 points deducted.

After all this, it's easy to forget that Blues are playing today. If we match Sunderland's result we win the Championship, the first time we've won this particular trophy for 52 years... We're at Preston too, the scene of our last play-off heartbreak...

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