Sports Editor’s Blog - You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps

First for sports news PNL-140425-121447003
First for sports news PNL-140425-121447003
0
Have your say

It is to my shame as a journalist – albeit a sports hack so apparently not a proper journalist – that I’ve taken to avoiding the news.

Nothing gets me scurrying quicker for the TV remote or radio dial than the words, ‘and now it’s time for the news’.

The world in 2017 has become a baffling, frustrating and often terrifying place - at least according to broadcast newsrooms.

With all of its most frightening excesses completely beyond my control, living in ignorance rather than terror seems the lesser of two evils at the moment.

But a minor remedy is available. A reminder that even next to the most odious excesses of Donald Trump et al, there is a parallel world yet madder than this.

Football is sport’s asylum, God love it, and the lunatics are firmly at the controls.

Already this year we’ve seen a man with two normal legs, two standard arms and a average-sized head valued at £18 million more than Windsor Castle.

As talented a ball kicker-abouter that Neymar clearly is, PSG’s money men were just trying to outdo their rivals across the Channel for football-related lunacy.

Either that or they were looking to topple David Luiz’s £50 million move off top spot in their most baffling transfer fee chart.

But never fear, we can match this barking tastelessness. Easy.

After Frank de Boer’s dynasty at Crystal Palace was ended after a thorough five-game examination, English football may well have already raised the stakes and collected their winnings.

Even before the first trick or treater had hammered on an unwelcoming door, three Premier League managers had been ditched.

Less the hackneyed old managerial merry-go-round; more a high-speed human centrifuge. Flinging discarded gaffers to all four corners of the Football League and beyond.

Even so-called well-run clubs are bowing to the pressure of the pound.

Whole management teams are ditched if there is even the vaguest notion their club might-be-at-risk-of-perhaps-dropping-out of the Premier League one day.

High staff turnover rates are generally seen as a villain in business, but not, it seems, in football.

Whenever managers are spat out of the revolving door early in their contract, huge sums of compensation are chucked away, all while shelling out another vast salary for the new guy.

How on earth that all comes together as a coherent business strategy when you’re changing managers more than twice a season - and it happens - is anyone’s guess.

Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace will all tell you their early season change paid off if they keep their place at the Premier League table and prevent the TV billions from slipping through their paws.

But just ask Leeds and Portsmouth fans how it feels when the gamble fails.

When the double-or-quits strategy of recouping your losses finally reaches breaking point and the house calls in its debt.

Finances aside, it’s a pretty deplorable way to treat human beings, but many fans accept it without much more than a shrug.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve stopped seeing managers and players as normal human beings. You know, people.

Them folk with the two standard arms and two normal legs and, like us, the routine insecurity, fear of failure and worries.

In the wake of Neymar’s transfer to PSG it became fashionable to launch a counter-argument to the bad taste these unimaginable sums of money had left with many of us.

A flimsy weightless notion that sportsmen and women are worth what people are prepared to pay for them.

In other words, it’s market forces, duh!

And in Neymar and De Boer, there you have the crazy game’s biggest paradox.

In football, you are either priceless or worthless; it’s just a matter of time before you shift from one to the other.