THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES
Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane
There is something charming about Daniel Sturridge’s career path. Future football historians will look at his emergence at a newly-minted Manchester City, his departure from there to Chelsea and then on to Liverpool, and conclude that the basic structure is unimpeachably big time. But then they’ll look at the patchy goalscoring records, and the loan spells, and think: huh, something interesting’s going on here.
Then they’ll see “aged 29, signs a three-year contract with Trabzonspor”, and say: oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.
For any historians that are coming back to The Warm-Up as a contemporary source, here’s what you need to know. Sturridge, as a footballer, was capable of anything, but in a broader sense than that usually implies. He could be brilliant, he could be inexplicably appalling. A fair few people decided this was because of laziness, or arrogance, though The Warm-Up would disagree. Just because somebody has a trademark dance, doesn’t mean they’re actually awful.
Rather, he seemed to be locked in a tempestuous on-off relationship with his own talent. At times they were together, and it was wonderful and thrilling and the whole universe twinkled in beautiful harmony. Everything worked. The long shots sang into the corners. But always, eventually, they would part. And the rain would fall hard from grey skies as the ball ran away to the touchline.
Be good if he has a decent time in Turkey, won’t it? Everybody should get to be a cult hero somewhere.
Unless the Warm-Up has truly lost track of things, today is Thursday. Which means that this is the last day for Bury FC’s owner Steve Dale to satisfy the EFL that he has, or can get, the money that the club owes its creditors. Otherwise Bury, who joined the Football League in 1894, will be expelled.
Prospects for a deal aren’t looking particularly bright. Dale insists that he has provided the proof the EFL are looking for, but the League have rejected this claim. Meanwhile Bury’s local MP, James Frith, has accused Dale of exploiting the situation, and called on the EFL to grant the club an extension.
As Frith notes, there is more to a football club than a business, ailing or otherwise. It is “part of the consciousness and identity” of a place, a locus of “cultural capital and history”. Which is what makes this looming deadline so bleak. You don’t have to care about Bury specifically to recognise that a system of governance and oversight that allows community assets such as this, to reach such a parlous state, is failing at what should be its fundamental calling.
We should probably mention some actual football, that being the point of all this. It’s early days in the Championship, but it looks like Leeds are going to be making stylish nuisances of themselves once again. Marcelo Bielsa’s side went back to the top on Wednesday night thanks to a goal from Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah.
That’s two in two for Nketiah, a capital-P worthy Prospect. And it must be nice for Premier League managers, having Bielsa kicking around the top of the Championship. After all, the man himself may not be garlanded with trophies, but his disciples are making a pretty good showing of themselves, all the way up to Pep Guardiola. Send him a kid for a year, and hopefully get back a fully functioning, top of the line Bielsa-follower.
If Quentin Tarantino were in charge of English football, it would first of all be utterly unbearable, so bullet dodged there. Also, if he were, then right now Leeds is the mysterious mountain temple, and Bielsa the bearded master sitting within its walls. Inscrutable. Sometimes inexplicable. But … well, if he teaches Nketiah the five-finger death punch, Arsenal will be feeling very pleased with themselves.
IN OTHER NEWS…
We made it this far without mentioning VAR, but we cannot thank Conor Pope enough for noticing this wonderful piece of jobsworthery.
The Warm-Up (TWU) would like to propose a rule of thumb (RoT). If your new fancy refereeing toy involves more than two acronyms, it is going to get on everybody’s collective wick (G2GOECW).
We’re going proper retro today, all the way back to the 1936 FA Cup final, for no other reason than it popped into The Warm-Up’s head and this seems the surest way to get it out again.
On the pitch, Arsenal were playing Sheffield United. Cliff Bastin vs Archie McPherson. But off it, an argument over money led the owners of Wembley to ban film media from the occasion. And so Pathé News did what needed to be done, and improvised. Wildly. In several different directions. Here you go: the Freedom of the Press final.
Did you know that there is a London Underground League? That the most successful club are District Line FC? Because we didn’t, and we’re extremely grateful to David Bauckham in When Saturday Comes for educating us. There’s more info and some lovely photos over on his website.
We’re getting to the juiciest parts of the Europa League qualifying process, and no, that is not a contradiction in terms. Rangers vs. Legia Warsaw! Torino vs. Wolves! Yes please.
As a reward for making it through the working week, you get another Warm-Up tomorrow! You lucky people. Tom Adams will be in charge.