The Roland Harris Column

Sunday 12 May, 2002

Desperate times here and Suffolk

You've got to give credit to George Burley as Ipswich got booted out of the Premiership. He came clean: "I made a couple of mistakes signing players".

Just a couple mind. A few too many foreigners who "were not Ipswich". George Finidi George (Arrange as required) is coming to the Nationwide League and yes he is on Benito Carbone money and no one wants to buy him.

So a couple of mistakes by George Burley could see the Tractor Boys calling in administrators this time next year, after all that's how it happened at Valley Parade.

David Hopkin, Dan Petrescu, Ashley Ward. Four strikes and were out of the Premiership and as a bonus here is a £10m loss cause 24 First Division chairmen don't know when they have it good with BSkyB. We all loathe Rupert Murdoch but we all like Sky's coverage, we all knew someone who had a dish and none of us would ever have thought that ITV Digital sounded like a good idea. Who would ever go for a system that's biggest selling point was QPR vs Reading.

The chairman have got desperate thats for sure. Celtic and Rangers in a 26 game First Division. 50 games a season, that should increase the quality of the product. In truth with the Big One of Scots fitba' and their local rival in the league the TV rights would be snapped up as quickly as the Premiership promotion places.

City are going to pay for the mistakes of the summer of 2000 in spades. If only Ashley Ward, Peter Atherton and Benito Carbone would walk in and ask for their wage packets to be split in half. Those three players cost the club £3.5m a year. You don't have to look for for where to cut wages.

If City get rid of a load of good players what will be left? A bunch of kids, leaderless without Stuart McCall and most marketable property David Wetherall? The whoile point of being in this division is about trying to get promotion to the Premiership. I'm not sure a Danny Cadamarteri/Danny Forrest pairing would do this.

But then again. If the future for City and clubs like City is getting young players and cast offs from the Premiership? Probably, because that is the past.

First divison clubs have always been about getting the talent that passes the top flight by and sending it back with interest and about getting young kids and training them. My "If the collapse of ITV Digital" statement is If the collapse of ITV Digital means that clubs like City, Watford and Wolves cannot fill their teams with a bunch of Carlos Kickaballs then I will not be crying.

First division: This is a local league for local people.

The clubs should stop looking aboard for Norwegians and Swedes to fill a team with cause that doesn't work anyway. They should be getting the Cadamarteri's and the Kearney's and turning their careers around with first team football on a regular basis. The same applies to the local young players. City should be going to the kids and telling them that they have more chance of getting first team football at a decent level at Valley Parade than at Elland Road. For ever Alan Smith their is a Matthew Jones, shot out of Elland Road without a decent grounding in how to play proper football apart from 30 mins from the bench.

Likewise the clubs should be marketing the TV deal at the communities that support them. It's stupid to think that Reading and QPR are going to draw TV from places other that Reading and QPR. The clubs should recognise who they are for, then make a deal to serve the people who want to watch the programmes. An example: Regional highlight's shows in "ITV One" on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

It's going to be a bad week for City fans waiting for the word from VP. Looking at the make up of the division next season I think the current City squad, with a couple of players in, could do well but I thought we would be straight back up. So do Ipswich fans.

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