If the main talking point of the weekend’s soccer is before the first game has even began, you know that it’s not been the best of times for the sport that many women this side of the pond love to hate. It was supposed to be the weekend when we saw who was the proud recipient of a punnet of plums but unfortunately a company related to News Corporation has again muddied itself.
Shortly before the start of the weekend’s opening game between Wolves and Liverpool two of Sky’s esteemed pundits, Andy Gray and Richard Keys, were heard to be mumbling all sorts over the televised airwaves. Their main bone of contention was that a woman has been allowed to become an Assistant Referee. A woman!?!? Sorry if I made any of you choke on your lunch with that one.
The footage seemed to show the two of them having the following conversation:
Richard Keys: Well, somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.
Andy Gray: Yeah, I know. Can you believe that? Female linesman. Forget what I said – they probably don’t know the offside rule.
RK: Course they don’t.
AG: Why is there a female linesman? Somebody’s fucked up big.
RK: I can guarantee you there’ll be a big one today. Kenny [Dalglish, Liverpool’s manager] will go potty. This is not the first time. Didn’t we have one before?
RK: Wendy Toms.
AG: Wendy Toms, something like that. She was fucking hopeless as well.
RK: [exasperated groan]
RK: No, no, it’s got to be done, it’s good. The game’s gone mad. See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love.
It honestly sounds like a couple of bigots having a chat and really doesn’t reflect well on Sky whatsoever. What are the odds on them giving a very prominent role to a woman in the near future? Good job if they do, but it really shouldn’t matter in the first place anyway.
In terms of on the pitch action, Dimitar Berbatov gave Man Utd fans even more reason to smile after his hat trick meant that he would have had a cigar or two to celebrate their 5-0 rout of Birmingham. Second placed City stumbled at Villa, where Darren Bent got his plums after scoring with his second touch…in the 17th minute.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side brushed off Wigan thanks to another double from Robin van Persie on home soil, and Bodog-sponsored Fulham look like they’re back to where they want to be heading with a 2-0 home win against Stoke.
The sports books, meanwhile, are sitting praying that Man Utd don’t manage to stay the entire season unbeaten.
“Now we’re beginning to get a little nervous about our liabilities for United to remain undefeated” said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Hills have them at 11/1 to stay unbeaten for the rest of this term, something that is beginning to look more likely as the weekends go by.