Viet Nam News
by Paul Kennedy
I remember well the first football match I ever went to.
It was an FA Cup match at Anfield in 1981. I was eight-years-old. Liverpool won 4-1 with Kenny Dalglish scoring twice.
The following year I was given a season ticket for a Christmas present, which I’m guessing cost my parents around VNĐ1million (US$44). I got the kit too, which again would have cost very little.
This season if you want the full Manchester United kit of shirt, shorts and socks it will set you back VNĐ5million.
Now I totally understand how times have changed, and on the whole, football has gotten much, much better.
It’s far safer for one.
Stadiums are much more comfortable and fans are for the large part treated with more respect instead of being herded in and out of grounds like cattle.
But despite all these vast improvements, I am concerned about the future of the beautiful game.
A few weeks ago, Villarreal announced they had signed former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla and instead of parading him in front of the press pack holding the home shirt with his name and number on the back, they went a little further.
A magician uncovered a clear glass capsule before it filled up with smoke. Then as if by magic, the Spanish maestro appeared before the fans where he began his professional career.
Tottenham Hotspur’s fancy new stadium will (if it ever gets finished) include 60 food and drink outlets, 1,800 HD televisions, the longest bar in the country (86.8 metres), heated seats each with a USB port, an in-house bakery, microbrewery and a cheese cafe. Yes, a cheese cafe.
The most expensive season tickets will set you back a staggering VNĐ60million.
And they have agreed to play two NFL games there each year. How long do you think it will be before Premier League games will be played in America?
It’s already been mooted and I honestly believe in a few seasons time the Liverpool vs Manchester United clash won’t be played at Old Trafford or Anfield, but some far-flung destination around the globe.
Good idea? Sure, it will add revenue and allow supporters elsewhere to see their heroes play, but personally I think it is barmy.
I have no desire to watch an NFL game nor am I bothered about sitting through five hours of baseball. If I wanted to, I’d go to America, not White Hart Lane.
I don’t fear change. I like it, when it’s for the better. I like cheese but I don’t want to eat an aged stilton before, during or even after a football game.
I don’t need my phone charging because I’m there to watch the match and I certainly don’t want to pay VNĐ1million for a pair of Manchester United socks.
Back with a bang
We are now two games into the Premier League and I couldn’t have scripted it any better if I’d have written it myself.
Liverpool have played two, won two. Arsenal played two, lost two and Manchester United, well that’s just crazy.
Sunday evening they took on Brighton on the south coast.
For me, it was arguably the worst Manchester United team performance I think I have ever seen.
The United midfield once had players such as Robson, Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Ronaldo, Carrick. On Sunday Pogba, Pereira and Fred were made to looking like school children. Out passed, out muscled and short on ideas and creativity.
They were slow and looked uninterested. And the less said about their defence, the better.
I get we’ve only played a couple of games and there’s still a long way to go but if United don’t do something very quickly this season could be their worst in Premier League history.
They play Tottenham at home next. A good performance and three points is a must but I’ve this niggling suspicion in the back of my mind United will set up not to lose in the hope of nicking a goal.
Thanks to Scott Hesketh for some great travel advice posted on Facebook this week. He suggested if any United fans were thinking of booking a holiday, it’s hard to beat Brighton this time of year.—VNS