CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The football? It’s just not cricket

OPINION: After Ben Stokes' heroics, there’s now a long wait until something else to get excited about in cricket comes along – unlike the football

29 August, 2019 — By Richard Osley

EVEN a sensible chap like myself, who regards cricket as a hobby that people have rather than a sport, could not help but be drawn in by the dramatic nature in which Ben Stokes saved the Ashes on Sunday.

Twice in one summer, a game considered too dull by most countries, produced moments of exquisite theatre – both times in England’s favour. The problem for cricket is that once the World Cup and Ashes are done, there’s a long wait until something else to get excited about comes along. Unlike the football, which is non-stop.

Last autumn Arsenal smashed Spurs in the north London derby but by the end of the season, the tables had turned in terms of league placings. Enjoy this weekend’s latest grudge match, but the great thing about football is that whatever happens there’s another one around the corner.

SUDDENLY, everybody has gone misty-eyed for the great game: jumpers for goalposts, gettcha roasted peanuts, the Milk Cup, Bobby Charlton, Bury, Bolton.

After spending the summer demanding that millions and millions of pounds are spent on new players, fans of gluttonously rich clubs are now saying the right things and lamenting the apparent deaths of less affluent football outposts.

As if there is no connection at all between the obscene riches of the Premier League – and in particular, the top six – and the desperate straits down the chain.

So we can all apparently talk definitively about whether Alex Iwobi is worth £30m or £40m, whether Neymar is worth £200m, but never realise that the real tragedy in football is not about failing to sign the world’s best players or falling short of winning the Champions League… but going out of business, full stop.

The kids today, know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

• NEW Inter Milan striker Alexis Sanchez’s time at Manchester United may forever remain a mystery: how did a player of his skill prove to be such an awful flop?

Whatever the real story, the gratuitous video which United produced of him playing the piano on the evening he was unveiled has not aged well.

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