One topic has been a dominant issue this week amongst players, managers and staff. The allegations of match fixing. People have been stunned.
Personally, in my time in the game, I have never come across it or had it put to me or had any suspicion over a player who has played for me.
We’ve all seen the video footage put together by the newspaper doing the investigation... of people in hotels rooms and talk of getting £70,000 for being sent off and players getting themselves deliberately booked so as to cash in.
Yes, they’re all allegations and the authorities are investigating but if what we’ve seen and heard is 100 per cent proven, then for those implicated there should be, in the words of Alan Shearer, zero tolerance.
They should have the book thrown at them and never be allowed in a stadium or a football ground ever again. And I don’t care how high profile they are.
This goes right to the heart of football and strikes at the integrity and decency of our great game. At whatever the level.
Among the follow-ups there have been certain anonymous former Premier League footballers who say they were approached. Well, why not reveal yourself, talk about it and tell us what happened.
All players know what to do should anything untoward happen. Any approach should be instantly reported whether it be to the manager, the chief executive or through the PFA who do an excellent job.
With all the talk about deliberate yellow cards and getting yourself sent off, it’s understandable if the public suddenly began wondering about a player picking up a ‘silly’ booking. And that’s harsh on every player going about his job honestly and playing with integrity.
Frankly, it’s scandalous and guilty people should have the book thrown at them.
I certainly think the FA will not be tolerant. I’ve found their disciplinary panels to show no remorse or sympathy and they will feel this needs to be stamped on. It should be.
*Wasn’t it shameful seeing the head of our FA, Greg Dyke, make that ‘throat-slitting’ gesture at the World Cup draw after we got in a group with Italy and Uruguay? I actually felt sorry for Roy Hodgson who was next to him.
Italy in the jungle is a crunch game. Uruguay, Luis Suarez and all, on their own continent, is very tough.
But it will be better having Costa Rica last and not in the first match.