And now, Ginola. The third hopeless candidate to advance himself, or in this case should one say to be advanced, as a Presidential FIFA candidate to oppose the ineffable Sepp Blatter.

Who already however scandalously has every Federation in his corner save the European. Jerome Champagne is what one might term the least unlikely of the three but he knows full well that his candidacy cannot be more than a mere doomed gesture. The Arabian potentate who has decided to challenge isn’t even supported by his own Federation. And now David Ginola.

Sponsored not by any Federation but by Paddy Power, the book making authors of what might well be called a cheap publicity shot were it not already so expensive. It is reported that Ginola is being paid £250,000 to stand or attempt to stand, the rest of an arbitrary sum of £2.3 million to be crowd funded.

Of which £1 million would go to Ginola’s doomed campaign, 10% of £1.3 million to Ginola, £100,000 for so-called security costs, £565,000 for advertising, £160,000 for public relations. What kind of a deluded crowd would cough up for that?

And how sad to think years back to when Ginola, in the Toulon Under-21 tournament, excelled in and inspired a French team which wasn’t even the first official choice.

He was playing on his home ground, having been rejected by his local club, Nice. He looked a classical inside forward, fast in thought and movement, a strong finisher and of course an unusually handsome figure. It was a great pleasure to watch him play in a tournament which also included England’s Paul Gascoigne.

In time of course he found his way to Tottenham, where he also became a great favourite, though to utilise him chiefly on the left wing seemed something of a waste.

Alas his career in the French national team ended in bitter recrimination and rejection. Playing in Paris against Bulgaria in a vital World Cup eliminator, Ginola carelessly played a ball back and into the galloping path of the Bulgarian striker Kostadinov who duly ran on to score the decisive goal. Gerard Houllier then the French team’s manager publicly and furiously excoriated Ginola whom he never forgave.

In recent years, Ginola has made plenty of money from his various endorsements. But at a press conference, he had no relevant answers to any of the questions put to him. Better than Blatter? He would probably do less harm.


Have they nothing better to do, even in this fallow period in which the House of Commons, pending the General Election, is virtually in hibernation?

In this case it is someone called Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for a famous footballing area, Washington and Sunderland West, who has accused football – and only football, not the plenitude of other sports just as “guilty” – of disrespecting Remembrance Sunday by playing then.

She wanted a rule introduced to forbid the playing of football matches then. She elicited the help of that wet week of an over promoted Sports Minister Helen Grant who instead of slapping the publicity hound down feebly responded, “It is important to always remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country. I’m very happy to have a chat with you on these issues.”

This is a Sports Minister?


Whatever reasons the former head of our referees Keith Hackett may have had for savaging his successor Mike Riley, it’s hard to deny the force of his accusations.

Refereeing in the Premiership this season has all too often been blatantly inept. As recently as the Spurs versus Sunderland match, which I reported at White Hart Lane, we saw both referee and linesman make a ludicrous mistake.

This when almost at the end of the game, with Tottenham 2-1 in the lead, the Spurs centre back Jan Vertonghen exploited the fact that Pantilimon had strayed far out of his goal to launch the ball towards it – and into it – from inside his own half.

Stuart Burt, the misguided linesman, inexplicably raised his flag to denite that Vertonghen had been offside, which was physically impossible given he was still in his own half. Chris Foy the referee should have had the sheer common sense let alone knowledge of the rules to overrule the silly fellow and grant the goal.

In the end it didn’t much matter since Spurs were already 2-1 ahead while Vertonghen himself was philosophical about it. But there have been this season just too many errors.

Jose Mourinho is forever blasting off against something or somebody but he had every right to be incensed when at Stamford Bridge Cesc Fabregas was blatantly brought down in the box but instead of gaining a penalty found himself made the offender. One could go on and on.