Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung’s planned but prolonged takeover of club Birmingham City FC has further fueled Hong Kong’s already huge interest and following in the English Premier League and in the England national football team.
Therefore, I couldn’t help notice a news story about the president of the Croatian Football Federation Vlatko Markovic fabricating a fantastic theory that Birmingham City were deliberately taking out Croatian national team players. Two Croatian players (Luka Modric of Tottenham Hotspurs and Eduardo da Silva of Arsenal) have recently been injured while playing for their club teams, and those matches coincidently involved Birmingham City. Injuries are “part and parcel” of the game, but Markovic is crying foul and appears to be up to mischief. Either that, or he’s just plain silly to claim: “I can only ask whether someone did it deliberately on the eve of the game with England. I can only ask myself whether it is a coincidence or not.”
England play Croatia in a key World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday 09/09/09.
Despite the cheekiness of all this, the Birmingham chairman David Gold was unperturbed and instead of reciprocating like-with-like with an appeal to emotion and to ignorance, simply said: “To say such things is little short of incredible. For a man of such stature and position in the game to come out with such rubbish is pathetic. His remarks border on paranoia and I struggle not to take it personally when they two incidents he talks about involve my club. To lay such stuff at Birmingham’s door is appalling. It’s emotive and doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny.”
Gold was also culturally sensitive too: “We should make light of it – maybe the problem is the statement has been completely lost in translation, maybe he meant to say something different.”
Such cogent rational comments are rare these days and stand out like a beacon relative to the usual soundbites and quotes that come through the media.