Going to Spain by mistake is quite an achievement, but that’s exactly what Queen’s Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli has been forced to apologise for doing. Less than a week after tearing strips off eight Aberdeen players, two of whom tested positive for Covid-19, for breaking lockdown rules by going drinking in a trendy local nightspot, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to get her radge on and go full Groundskeeper Willie on fitba’s backside all over again, on the back of Bolingoli’s stupidity.
It has emerged that the Belgian took himself off to Spain for reasons unknown without his club’s knowledge last week, before returning to play against Kilmarnock when he should have been beginning two weeks of self-isolation instead. “I am guilty of a major error of judgment,” said Bolingoli, with considerable understatement. “I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences.” One suspects they could be extremely unpleasant for Bolingoli, after his employers “unreservedly condemned” his actions and promised to launch “a full investigation” into his tomfoolery before taking “all appropriate action”. While he awaits his fate, Bolingoli personally and football in general have been forced to endure the humiliation of another very public shaming from their country’s leader.
“My regret is some footballers are incapable of living up to their responsibilities,” fumed Sturgeon. “It’s individual players who have made wrong decisions but clubs have a responsibility. I don’t want the football season to be in jeopardy. I want fans to enjoy supporting their team but I have a wider responsibility to the country. It’s not too much to ask.” Except apparently it is. Earlier on Tuesday there were fears Sturgeon might decide to pull the plug on the new fitba season less than a fortnight after it had begun, a move that could theoretically have scuppered the Queen’s Celtic’s hopes of securing that all important 10th consecutive title because Hibs are currently top of the table and will presumably win the league if fitba stops and doesn’t resume before next summer. However, showing remarkable patience, Sturgeon said her latest warning was “a yellow card; next time it’s a red card” – good news for top-flight clubs, at least until the next idiot gets caught showing blatant disregard for a set of very straightforward rules.
In the meantime, both the Queen’s Celtic and Aberdeen have had their midweek games postponed, while their clash in Glasgow next weekend has also hit the skids and will have to be rescheduled. Come winter time, when they’re already trying to squeeze in league games, cup games from this and last season’s schedule, as well as potential European ties [easy there – Fiver Ed] into an already jam-packed itinerary, it will be intriguing to see which club’s manager has the clanging brass cajones to complain about fixture congestion first.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He started walking towards the bench and while walking away he threatened me to see me after the match. That was the point where I showed him the red card and got punched immediately in the face. I almost lost my vision for a couple of seconds, followed by excessive bleeding” – amateur referee Satyam Toki after being punched in the face by a Sporting Club de Mundial player who was sent off during a friendly with NW London FC. “We as a club would like to publicly state that we categorically condemn the horrific actions,” they said in a statement. “The individual involved has been completely removed from the football club.”
“It’s nice to see that you’ve recruited deep cover agent Boli Bolingoli to resurrect the Stop Football campaign” – Paul Rutherford.
“As an ageing Arts graduate who was overly pleased to follow the basic maths used by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta to illustrate his claim that increasing the number of substitutes available does not favour the bigger clubs (Fiver passim), I decided to risk my run of good luck with numbers and delve into the article on the possibility that Liverpool have exposed the limits of xG. And I must admit that, while I admired the stance of Ted Knutson in pointing out that Liverpool must be doing stuff that is not in the expected goals model (really?), it strikes me that the old cliché that a strong defence is the basis for winning titles might have been something they should have included in the analysis. I mean, if you only need to score one goal to win a game and have a very good front line you might expect to pick up more points over a season than a team who has to score more than one goal per game even if their attack is the outstanding example of the genre. But he’s the expert and I am just an Arts graduate who is beginning to think there is less value in following an argument with numbers in it than I first thought” – Colin Reed.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Sergio Agüero expects to miss the rest of Manchester City’s Big Cup campaign due to knee-knack.
Liverpool have returned from a shopping trip and bagged themselves Olympiakos left-back Kostas Tsimikas. “I want to achieve our goals,” he roared. “To win the league again and also to win [Big Cup].”
Former Red Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, is back on the market. “We have options around the world but I’m an English player and I’ve always loved playing in the Premier League,” he cheered. “I believe I’ve got a lot to give to the Premier League and I would say that’s my first choice. I’m open to playing in other leagues … but to come back to England and give my best would be a huge option for me.”
And this year’s Fantasy Premier League winner, Bulgarian YouTuber Aleksandar Antonov, has been stripped of his title for unspecified reasons.
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Willian proved his value at Stamford Bridge but he’s leaving Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the right time, reckons Jacob Steinberg.
Barney Ronay hails Anthony Martial’s contribution to prolonging Manchester United’s season in their Big Vase win over Copenhagen.
Not enough Eighties nostalgia takes in the Faroe Islands Premier League. Josh Butler corrects that with the tale of how B71 Sandoy were promoted to the top flight, won the league and were relegated … in three consecutive seasons.
Is the return of MLS welcome respite or dangerously reckless, wonders Tom Dart.
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