SO the circus has left town for seven weeks, packed and gone, after our festival of football.
A season of two segments if you like — Football BC and AD (Before Covid and After Disease).
What we got to see after football shut down and then when it re-emerged was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the nation’s game — and for posterity it’s good to dwell for a moment.
Premier League football’s return was the main one, of course.
We saw the rightful ascension to the throne of Liverpool, the best team in the country — the European, world and now Premier League champions.
We also witnessed the top-flight return of the mighty Leeds United.
There were moments of positive influence from footballers, specifically Marcus Rashford.
The Manchester United superstar not only got supermarkets to donate millions for food banks but also got a slightly forlorn Government, so battered by handouts, to do a U-turn and ensure that lunch support continued for children of disadvantaged families.
Despite my cynicism that #playerstogether initiative was a ruse to get around pressure for pay cuts, it raised millions for good causes.
We saw Pep Guardiola, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar and a raft of high-profile football people make significant charitable financial donations, alongside luminaries like Gary Neville opening his hotel for NHS workers and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace doing something similar with his portfolio of rental properties.
Despite my cynicism and belief that the #playerstogether initiative was a ruse to get around media and public pressure for players to take pay cuts, which en masse they managed to avoid, it raised several million for good causes.
Most notable among them was the NHS, so this must be given the thumbs-up.
We unfortunately saw some gormless footballers not quite getting their responsibilities during lockdown — Jack Grealish, Andre Gray, Salomon Kalou, Moise Kean and Kyle Walker deciding the rules didn’t apply to them.
What was difficult to stomach was the immorality of players knowing football was financially broken and refusing to assist financially, which was undoubtedly badly compounded by a deplorable outlook from their union, the PFA.
Further down the pyramid, the curtailing of League One and Two was a disgrace.
There was also a lack of governance, or a solution to the financial woes of the Football League that continue despite the game having the biggest opportunity in 30 years for a desperately-needed reset.
And the ongoing failings to deal with Sheffield Wednesday and Derby’s alleged breaches of EFL financial rules aren’t just bad, they are negligent.
The disgraceful demise of Wigan Athletic, a club that means so much to its fans.
The Latics were tossed into a financial dumpster, put into administration and relegated by a faceless owner with no apparent reason, logic or care — all perhaps in the pursuit of betting returns.
Unedifying carry-ons at Charlton, with wall and the wallpaper merchants getting into positions of ownership of clubs, none of them seeming to have two pennies.
There were unseemly debates about monies, Range Rovers and flats and meanwhile a club gets relegated and fans and a manager left broken-hearted.
And to Newcastle United — the ownership of a football club with such great heritage potentially falling into the hands of a regime whose crimes against humanity should really exclude them for owning such meaningful things.
This set of anecdotes for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, could be as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I haven’t even touched the Manchester City Uefa, FFP, CAS situation and will leave you to decide which one that falls into . . .
Whoever said football was dull!
- SIMON JORDAN’S Final Word is on talkSPORT from 5-8pm on Sunday.