Monday, July 21, 2008

SIMON JORDAN on the state of our game, the Bostock fable, an array of his Infamous Quotes from over the years.....along with my own thoughts!

SIMON JORDAN has delivered the most damning verdict ever on the crumbling state of the beautiful game.

Jordan, the flamboyant Crystal Palace chairman has finally decided to walk out on football as the game descends into a bickering war over players’ inflated contracts, lack of loyalty, greed, corruption and arrogance.

The final straw came after seeing Tottenham run off with the Eagles' Academy gem John Bostock for the price of “a packet of crisps,” and culminating in Manchester United superstar Ronaldo’s absurd claim that he is being treated 'like a slave'.

Jordan admits to being disillusioned with the game even before he was pushed over the edge by an FA tribunal’s decision to award Palace just £700,000 compensation, (rising to £1.25 million with add-ons), for youth player John Bostock following his controversial transfer to Tottenham last month.

Jordan, who has run the show at Selhurst Park since 2000, is so dispirited by big clubs stockpiling all the best young talent that he is on the verge of quitting.

Palace, who lost in the Championship play-off semi-finals two months ago, handed Bostock his League debut at the age of 15 last season.

But their far-sighted investment in youth merely alerted big clubs to his potential, and Jordan felt bitter when Spurs manager Juande Ramos snatched the teenager.

Eagles manager Neil Warnock revealed: 'I’ve never seen Simon as disillusioned as I did over the Bostock affair. He’s still enthusiastic about Palace, but he feels utterly saddened by the way football is heading.'

He was devastated, absolutely rock-bottom, because he loves the academy and he knows how important it is to the club.

Jordan was so upset that he went back into the tribunal and told them, 'I don’t know what clubs like Palace can do to keep our brightest youngsters. Big clubs can tap up all the best 14 to 16-year-olds and we haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of signing them now. We’ve nurtured Bostock since he was seven years old, we put him in the first team when he was still only 15 and we’ve done all the hard work.'

'And all we get for it is a tribunal fobbing us off by saying it’s a record fee for a player of his age - but they are out of date because really it’s peanuts.
Look at Aaron Ramsey - he’s only 18, but he’s just gone to Arsenal for £5 million, and we only get £700,000 for Bostock. It’s crackers.’

Warnock has warned Bostock that, for all the glamour of a Premier League club’s payroll, his talent could wither on the vine at Tottenham.

Certainly the youngster is unlikely to dislodge £16 million Croatian Luca Modric from the first team, and Warnock fears Bostock (right) may join the forgotten generation of home-grown prospects whose path to regular football is blocked by big-money foreign signings.

‘If anybody thinks the big clubs don’t go around tapping these kids up, they are going soft. They are living in cloud cuckoo land.’

‘I think Bostock would have broken into our first team next season and played regularly in the Championship. The only reason he didn’t play more often after Christmas was that he had ten O'level exams coming up.’
I was dead straight with him and told him that I had lined up this Australian lad (Nick Carle from Bristol City for £1 million), but I wouldn’t sign him if Bostock wanted to stay because I didn’t want to block his progress.’

So I asked him and his dad if they were going to sign for us, and they were adamant, ‘Yes, we’re definitely going to sign for Palace.’ Next thing I know, he’s off to Tottenham.

‘Is he going to get in their team ahead of Modric? There’s no way he’ll get in the side at Spurs for three or four years - he would have been better off getting 50 to 100 games under his belt with us.’

‘We need new legislation to stop big clubs tapping up all the best kids before they are 16 because, at the moment, there is nothing we can do to stop it.
It’s a sad day for football when you spend nine years cultivating talent in your academy system so the big clubs can just come along and pick them off.’

We all know Simon has his critics, but I think a lot of neutrals will look at this particular case and feel sorry for him because it’s just not right.


Jordan has become one of the most outspoken personalities in football since buying Palace out of administration eight years ago at the age of 32, which made him the youngest chairman in the Football League.

He made around £40m after selling his firm The Pocket Phone Shop to the Carphone Warehouse and immediately pledged to have the South London club back in the Premier League within five years. He achieved his goal of seeing his boyhood club play in the top flight - albeit for just one season as Palace were relegated in dramatic style on the final day of the 2004/05 season.

But it did not take long for him to grow tired of the way football is run.

If Jordan, who used to step out with underwear model Sophie Anderton (below), does leave the game, football will be a duller place.

As the 40-year-old multi-millionaire businessmen prepares to sell his Championship club to the highest bidder, love him or loathe him, Simon Jordan always has something interesting to say:

Never short of an opinion, here are some of Simon Jordan's best lines.

1/ “You read on the front pages of newspapers about people unable to sell their homes and heading for the bread line - but you read on the back pages about footballers turning down £150,000-a-week offers!"

2/ “Footballers live on an island called ‘Football World’ where everything they do is right and everything that is said about them is wrong.”

Jordan is also disgusted that Chelsea’s England midfield star Lampard, 30, is continuing to hold out for a mammoth £150,000-a-week deal at Chelsea.

3/ “There is not a footballer or any kind of sportsman on the planet worth £150,000-a-week,” he said. “I can tell you a few surgeons who are - but no sportsman."

4/ “The more I watch this ‘Planet Football’ and see the back pages dominate the front pages and people like Coleen McLoughlin - who is just a plain little girl from Liverpool - set up as role models," I think to myself: "What the hell is going on?"

5/ “The moment the door of Selhurst Park hits me on the a***, I will not be coming back.”

He directed plenty of his venom at players’ agents, who he believes are responsible for many of the ills of the modern game.

6/ “Agents are nasty scum,” he said. “They’re evil and divisive and pointless."

7/ “They only survive because the rest of the sport is so corrupt and because leading football club people employ their sons in the job.”

8/ “In my opinion, no owner in their right mind would willingly invite an average agent into his academy, any more than a brothel owner would let a syphilitic nutter into his whorehouse."

But, amazingly, Jordan also took a pop at the long-suffering fans who have to dip further into their deep pockets every time a player agrees a new contract.
He insists the fans’ expectations increase the pressure on clubs to go after the best players and that in turn, hands all the power to the men in the dressing room.

9/ “If you get 60,000 people singing your name every week, you lose touch with reality.”

10/ “Fans wonder why they have to pay £50 for a kit for their son - but the price is that because they’ve been clamoring for better players.”


Other off-the-cuff classic Jordan quotes include:

11/ "I had an Aston Martin phone worth £15,000 given to me as a present. I dropped it in a gin and tonic about 15 seconds after opening it."

12/ "I'd rather support Millwall than sell Andy Johnson."

13/ "What does Everton chairman Bill Kenwright think he will get for £6m? Andy Johnson's trainers."

14/ "Even if I built a 50,000 seat stadium and bought Ronaldinho there'd still be complaints about crap hot dogs."

15/ "In retrospect, of course I regret calling them (Charlton fans) morons. Imbeciles would have been more appropriate."

16/ "Charlton have a cheap matchday coach service that goes out into Kent to nick Gillingham fans - that's pretty clever. We might start sending a coach to Brighton."

17/ "In terms of the credibility the papers have in dressing rooms, I've had players arguing their worth based on the marks out of 10 they get in The Sun."

18/ "I don’t give a f*** about football protocol and the other club owners. They want me to sit and have lunch before the games. F*** that. I don’t go to football to drink chardonnay in the boardrooms with those tossers. I go to win games. I don’t have anything in common with 90% of football club chairmen. They don't interest me."

19/ "Without being arrogant, I am probably the highest-profile club chairman in the country. Whether it is because I am young or I fight causes or I have a big mouth or I date silly girls, I don’t know."

20/ "In some ways I admire football fans because in what other business can you serve up crap and then have people come back for more?"

My problems with Birmingham started when I went into the boardroom at St Andrew’s and David Sullivan (the co- owner of the then Coca-Cola Championship leaders) came up to me and said: ‘Simon, I have known you for a few years but you keep yourself to yourself. Are you gay?’

21/ (On Birmingham's David Sullivan and David Gold) "I think they are disingenuous. The ethics with which they do business, I don't appreciate. I have had enough dealings with them to be able to have that view. Am I surprised? They sell dildos for a living. That gives you a judgement on what they may or may not be."

22/ "If I see another David Gold interview on the poor East End Jewish boy done good I'll impale myself on one of his dildos."

23/ "I think in life you get what you deserve. Despite my distaste for the owners, I don't wish any club bad luck. If Birmingham go down, am I going to shed a tear? No. Because the best thing about Birmingham is the road out."

24/ (On suing Iain Dowie) "I would not issue a writ through my lawyers on a point of principle, I will issue it on a point of law because a point of principle is expensive, as Iain will find out."

25/ (On how he would deal with then Newcastle bad boy Craig Bellamy) "I'd strangle him with his own tongue."

26/ (When West Ham beat Man Utd in the first game after Alan Pardew had gone) "If I'd have been him, I'd have gone down the training ground, said ‘thanks lads' and pulled out an AK-47. They hadn't done it for him, but they could beat the champions for Alan Curbishley. F****** unbelievable."

27/ "At the end of the day, I have a certain hairstyle. Whether I'm too old to carry it off now, I'm not sure. But it's a subject for discussion, and there's only one thing worse than people talking about you - and that's people not talking about you!"


In my opinion: Football needs more people like Simon Jordan not less - heart on his sleeve, money where his mouth is, and a true appreciation of what football means to its community.
He is simply saying what we all know to be true.

Simon Jordan’s comments capture what lots of football fans in general think today. The game has lost its way with inflated wages, huge transfer fees, spoilt egotistical footballers and their wags, and corrupt agents and foreign owners who have no idea what our game is all about.
Football is big business, with the sporting element now of secondary importance!

Those who are saying Jordan is only speaking out now he's going are wrong. Remember the stand he took over Steve Bruce going to Birmingham, Iain Dowie getting out of his contract to go to Charlton, or his refusal to pay Tim Cahill's agent a fee when Palace were trying to sign him from Millwall.

Jordan rescued Crystal Palace from going under. He rescued a club that he loves. He has put his money where his mouth his. He has supported his managers to the hilt. Jordan is a Palace fan, one of us and has the club and its supporters at heart. He wants the best for the club and the Bostock affair has left a foul taste in the mouths of all those involved with CPFC.

He may be disillusioned, as all true fans must be with the way football is going, but his stand over the Bostock affair has at least brought the matter of Academy development to the attention of UEFA. Whatever else Platini has said, surely it is no coincidence that he has since put forward proposals for the protection of Clubs who produce young local talent?

Fans must shoulder some of the responsibility. Surely they realize that each and everytime they put their hand in their pocket and spend their hard earned money on 'their' team, that all they are doing is simply continuing to feed greedy players, agents and owners.
Footballers have been treating supporters like mugs for years, and we fall for it every time. You can't moan about footballer’s earnings and then happily hand over the likes of 50 quid for a match ticket or an acrylic club shirt.

Sooner or later though the long suffering fan is going to say enough is enough and they are going to stop going to matches, stop purchasing merchandise and start cancelling their Sky Sports subscriptions.

I agree with the fans who now go to watch lower-league football - you'll see guys giving their all at a reasonable price.

As a Palace fan, I have great respect for Simon Jordan. He took a club he loves and I love out of the hands of the administrators, turned them around and did as he promised, took us to the promised land - the Premiership (albeit for one season). This man has always spoken his mind. So to all those who disagree with Jordan’s comments about football and want to slag him off – could it be because he is a successful businessman and a self made millionaire, and therefore you might be a tad bitter and jealous?

Good luck Simon Jordan in whatever you do next. Your chairmanship and loyalty will be sadly missed when you sell up.

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