Brian GlanvilleThe present spate of arrests of footballers involved in betting scams is profoundly disappointing and depressing though for all its alarmingly wide geographic scope – which makes preventive action so difficult – it is not really news.

Just a few years ago, I twice found myself attending London matches, once at West Ham, once at Crystal Palace, which didn’t take place because the floodlights failed. It later transpired that they had been sabotaged by workers bribed by foreign – I believe Far Eastern – gamblers.

And of course, if you go all the way back to 1964 and the Nottingham court case, you will find the conviction and imprisonment of a number of footballers, the best known three being the then Sheffield Wednesday footballers Tony Kay, Peter Swan and David Layne. They were banished from football forever which I thought at the time was too stringent and still do.

In Italy, where football corruption has long been almost a commonplace, bans are far more forgiving. Which was how Paolo Rossi was able to play and score essential goals in the 1982 World Cup.

Swan had been an England centre half and might have died in Chile during the 1962 World Cup when England yet again travelled without a doctor, – the dominating Secretary of the FA Stanley Rous never cared much about the troops on the ground, and Swan found himself at the mercy of the doctor of the nearby copper company.

As for Kay, so well regarded by Ramsey, a combative and influential wing half, he had only just joined Everton expensively from Wednesday and paid heavily for his greedy indiscretion.

Meanwhile I am especially sorry to see DJ Campbell prominently among those players accused and due to be suspended. His career has been a somewhat bizarrely unorthodox one, but his talents as an attacker eventually saw him succeed at Brentford and go on to bigger and richer clubs. How to stop such things happening when the danger and corruption comes from so far away is a troubling question.


Greg Dyke blunders on as FA Chairman, the latest fatuity being his idiotic all too public throat cutting gesture when, in Brazil, he heard England’s World Cup draw.

Previously as we know he had failed to attend Wembley England matches against Scotland and Chile, and had been seen during one he did attend, against Germany, flicking through his match programme. Plus the half-baked Commission he has set up to consider the game, which has been snubbed by the great and the good.

Unlike Dyke, I cannot see England as already dead and buried even if Roy Hodgson has sounded over optimistic. If he is bold, gives youth its fling, he could still rejuvenate a recently disappointing team. I am thinking especially of the 18-year-old attacking precocious Southampton left back, Luke Shaw, and the promising Everton midfielder, 20-year-old Ross Barkley.

With Ashley Cole gradually diminishing with the years and Leighton Baines none too impressive at Wembley of late, the precocious Shaw is worth a summons. And Barkley has been a dynamic revelation in the Everton central midfield.


Good to see Steve Coppell remain in football having left Crawley Town, even if his new appointment as director of football at ailing Portsmouth is hardly an enviable one. It has saddened me to see so talented a manager slip into such deep obscurity. He worked small wonders at Reading and I felt he could have become a valid manager of England. For whom he had played so effectively and unselfishly at outside right, even providing the long throw in from which Bryan Robson bravely scored England’s early opening goal against France in their initial match of the 1982 World Cup in Bilbao.


Encouraging to see Jack Wilshere, arguably the only English player who can pass a ball, shake off injury at last and show what he can do both as a goal maker and a goal scorer, possessed of such exceptional skills. If only he can stay fit until it comes to Brazil, he should give England the constructive flair the team so badly needs.

Uruguay? You just never know, Suarez or no Suarez. Having been obliged to play off to survive, coming just fifth in their qualifying group, they drew 0-0 with little Jordan at home in their second play off, having won 5-0 away.

By Brian Glanville