Brian Glanville laments the denigration of two of the sport's most historic and important competitions.
It is now abysmally decided. The 2026 World Cup will have its numbers increased to a ludicrous 48.
As Kingsley Amis once wrote long since about the proliferation of new universities, ‘More Means Worse.’
And the FA? Shamefully, or if you prefer it, shamelessly, they are doing nothing to oppose the crass expansion. Indeed their representative on the senior committee, David Gill, didn’t even bother to attend the vote.
The appalling Infantino, latest presidential incumbent after the notorious regimes of Joao Havelange and Sep Blatter, is now, Lord help us, Fifa’s top man, whose woe begotten idea this was.
Scotland predictably are all in favour of the new expansion, plainly seeing it as a way of sliding through the back door. They were of course the only British team to fail to qualify for the similarly enlarged Euro 2016 finals.
The third round of the FA Cup was overall a deep disappointment. It remains historically the mother of all competitions, in action almost a decade and a half before the formation of the Football League.
Too many leading teams denigrated it by putting out weakened sides, much the worst offender being Bournemouth; and with very little excuse. At Millwall – in dire danger alas of being forced out of their ground by a rapacious council – their much-vaunted young manager, Eddie Howe, decided to change the whole of his team which was duly obliterated 3-0.
Changing half the team as Cardiff City did in that absurdly early starting match at home to Fulham, with just a few thousand in the stands, may have made some sense. But to ditch a whole team was surely excessive and arguably an insult to the most senior of all competitions.
Liverpool, for their part, fielded a scratch side at Anfield against Plymouth, with several teenagers and managed only to draw 0-0! All credit to Plymouth, but this was an unreal tie and it would have served Klopp and Liverpool right had Plymouth eliminated them.
At Brentford, I saw a home team happy to omit top scorer Scott Hogan, clearly being ready to sell him, West Ham having lately increased their bid with several other clubs lurking in the shadows. Why Hogan would want to leap on the deck of the sinking ship which is West Ham United today is another matter.
That 5-0 defeat by Manchester City was a feeble surrender. But I am still wondering why Slaven Bilic didn’t send on his best player, Dimitri Payet, until well into the second half. For what was he saving him? If a transfer was uppermost in the eyes of the club, why let him be cup-tied so late in the game.
How soon before the Chinese bubble bursts? Now another midfielder in the shape of John Obi Mikel has gone to China for a fortune, though not remotely as much as is being disbursed to Carlos Tevez.
We have of course been here before, if not to quite this astronomical extent. Back in 2013, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka walked out of their contracts with the same Shanghai club who are now admittedly under new ownership. The Brazilian star Robinho was another to go home when things at Guangzou Evergrande turned out to be not remotely what had been promised.
Greed alas is plainly the motive for players of high status agreeing to play in a footballing backwater. In putting the cart so blatantly before the horse, Chinese clubs are surely courting if not disaster, then disenchanted exodus.
Still, you could hardly blame John Terry were he to take off to China after those uniquely long years at Stamford Bridge, making him for so long a rarity, a player who actually came up through the ranks to achieve major success.
Now 36, winner of so many trophies, unlucky in the way his England career was abruptly terminated, Terry figured last weekend when alas he was sent off playing against Peterborough.
His honours were many but he slipped so unluckily to miss that European Cup final against Manchester United in Moscow, and in a moment of absurd gratuitous violence, got himself sent off playing against Barcelona at Camp Nou – though Chelsea gallantly survived without him.
He has now had three one-year renewals of his contract but there plainly won’t be another. China? The USA? Even another English club. The lamp still burns, if no longer as brightly.