With all due respect to Kanu and Harry Redknapp’s moment of triumph at Wembley yesterday, or QPR’s hiring of former assistant Ian Dowie for the managerial vacancy, the below item from the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor will have to serve as the weekend’s top soccer story. Around here, anyway.
Manchester City face the prospect of having to start their Uefa Cup campaign next season at another stadium because of a Bon Jovi concert at their ground. The club are looking at alternative venues – with Huddersfield Town’s Galpharm Stadium under consideration – amid concerns that the pitch at Eastlands will not be ready in time.
City discovered yesterday that they had edged out Fulham as England’s Uefa Cup fair-play representatives and will feature in the first qualifying round of the competition on July 17. That is 25 days after a Bon Jovi concert at the City of Manchester Stadium and leaves the club in a race against time to re-lay and prepare the pitch. There has been no official announcement but City are sounding out other clubs to see where they can play the home leg. Manchester United will not be considered.
The club had initially believed there was plenty of time to prepare the pitch before the start of the season but at that stage they had little idea that England would be allowed an extra place in the Uefa Cup. City did not even have the best disciplinary statistics in the Premier League but the five clubs with better records – Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Everton – have already qualified for Europe.
City, meanwhile, are taking legal advice about reports that owner Thaksin Shinawatra had put the entire first-team squad up for sale. “There is absolutely no truth to this story or any of the allegations,” said Thaksin.