I CAN’T remember whether I heard it on Fighting Talk or Clive Anderson’s Chat Room. Which means I can’t remember whether I heard it on Five Live or Radio 2. And I can’t remember who said it either. I think it was a man.
But I do remember it was one of those Saturday radio panel shows where four people get all the questions in advance and come up with funny answers. And this was a funny answer because it was true.
The question was: What is the best thing about the current economic crisis?
And the man, whoever he was, said something like: “The best thing about the economic crisis is the fact that financial experts have been able to reclaim the phrase ‘the current climate’ from football pundits.
“Now when people talk about the current climate, you know they are discussing serious things, such as whether any of us are going to have homes or jobs in six months, rather than whether Middlesbrough’s centre-back should have been sent off for a professional foul.”
I think that’s what he said, anyway.
(A diversion: When I attended journalism college, I was taught that the three most important aspects of writing for any reporter were accuracy, brevity and clarity. You may be interested – if not astonished – to learn that I passed the course.)
I tell this story at great length – and with insufficient detail – because I believe Portsmouth manager Tony Adams may well have given us the first sign that the economic crisis is starting to bottom out.
Last night’s final match: West Ham 0 Portsmouth 0
Commentator: John Roder
After Pompey and the Hammers were forced to share the honours in the battle to be named ‘best team not managed by Harry Redknapp any more’, Adams gave his thoughts to Match of the Day’s John Roder.
“We had enough chances to have won it,” Adams said. “But in the current climate of everyone beating everyone else, I thought that West Ham could go up and get what to me would have been an unjust winner.”
I can confirm that Adams is correct. Everybody is beating everybody else. Crikey, even Doncaster won this weekend.
But the fact that Adams feels he can attempt to reclaim ‘the current climate’ for football-speak is surely an indication that the worst of the economic crisis is over. Either that, or he hasn’t realised that there is an economic crisis.
(I can’t believe it’s the latter. After all, isn’t the economic downturn partly responsible for Adams getting the Pompey job in the first place? Why else did the club agree to take £5million in compensation to allow Redknapp to go to Tottenham?)
Thanks to Adams, ‘the current climate’ can now refer to a situation where any one of 15 teams in the Premier League could be relegated this season. And that, of course, creates its own financial uncertainty.
The match at Upton Park, which had little to recommend it, saw Portsmouth off the mark for the season on the Gubbometer. It also saw Fabio Capello move up to third, as the England coach was among the crowd.
Only Wigan and Blackburn have appeared last on Match of the Day more times this season than Capello. Perhaps he might consider firing off a letter of complaint to BBC Sport about his frequent positioning at the tail end of the show. Alternatively, perhaps he might consider getting himself out to some decent matches.
1. Wigan: 4 (Capello difference: +2)
2. Blackburn: 4
3. Capello: 3
4. Middlesbrough: 3 (Capello difference: +1)
5. West Brom: 3
6. West Ham: 2 (Capello difference: +2)
7=. Bolton: 2
7=. Fulham: 2
9. Portsmouth: 1 (Capello difference: +1)
10=. Everton: 1
10=. Hull: 1
10=. Newcastle: 1
10=. Stoke: 1
10=. Sunderland: 1
15=. Gubba: 0
15=. Arsenal: 0
15=. Aston Villa: 0
15=. Chelsea: 0
15=. Liverpool: 0
15=. Manchester City: 0
15=. Manchester United: 0
15=. Tottenham: 0
(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)