Saturday, June 22, 2024

SPORTS AGENDA: Premier League referees enjoy boozy end-of-season bash, Man United criticised over fan survey and Hollywood royalty watches Southampton get promoted to Premier League

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Top-flight referees headed to the golf course for their end of season bash last week, and according to witnesses it was a boozy affair. 

Mottram Hall hosted the PGMOL event, which saw whistleblower Simon Hooper among those ‘smashing a beer’ before teeing off. Howard Webb and Michael Oliver were among those present.

FANTASY FOOTBALL FOR EFL 

Fantasy Football is coming to the EFL. Agenda understands that boffins and data specialists have already been recruited, including some who worked on the highly successful Fantasy Premier League

While the top flight version is based on 20 clubs, the EFL will include all 72 clubs in what is a considerable undertaking. Players will have restrictions on how many players they can pick from each league. 

Officials expect the game will provide a huge surge in interest and raise the profile of players and clubs in the lower divisions. A website has already been set up in anticipation.

Top-flight referees headed to the golf course for their end of season bash last week

Fantasy Football is coming to the EFL  and will include all 72 clubs in what is a considerable undertaking

Fantasy Football is coming to the EFL  and will include all 72 clubs in what is a considerable undertaking

BIZARRE SURVEY BY MAN UNITED

Last week, Manchester United urged fans to take part in a survey ‘to tell us about your experience at Old Trafford this season’. 

One might have though supporters would be quizzed about food offerings, service and leaky roofs. However, a series of questions on a similar theme asked how much money fans spent on things such as accommodation, food and transport and which area they spent it in (Trafford, Greater Manchester or elsewhere).

A final question asked for thought on how to improve things. One irked fan remarked: ‘This was not a survey, it was an attempt to find out how they can get more money off us disguised as a survey.’

Manchester United fans have been left unhappy with some questions asked by the club

Manchester United fans have been left unhappy with some questions asked by the club 

LONGSTAFF TAKES ON A NEW SPORT 

While his team-mates headed to Australia, Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff went hunting for wickets.

The midfielder, 26, plays to a high standard for Tynemouth Firsts and took the new ball on Saturday before dismissing Haydon Mustard, son of former Durham skipper Phil.

While his team-mates headed to Australia, Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff went hunting for wickets

While his team-mates headed to Australia, Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff went hunting for wickets

JOHNSTONE GOES TO VEGAS

The chips appeared to be down for Crystal Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone when he picked up an elbow injury in March which ruled him out of England’s Euro 2024 squad. 

However, the 31-year-old – who was expected to head to Germany as Jordan Pickford – has seized on the opportunity of some time off to jet to Las Vegas with a group of pals on his own, hastily-arranged stag trip.

It is safe to say Johnstone’s experience in Nevada may be slightly different than that had he been at St George’s Park with Gareth Southgate’s group.

Injury has ruled Sam Johnstone

Injury has ruled Sam Johnstone 

NO MORE INFLATABLE UNICORNS

While no stone will be left uncovered at England’s camp in the German countryside, there will be no return of the inflatable unicorns that have been a mainstay of recent tournaments. The Three Lions’ fitness team are keeping their cards close to their chest, but replacements are expected.

The UK ‘s dwindling influence in world sport politics looks set to deteriorate further with news that UK Sport’s budget cuts are likely to decimate the international relations department. 

This could spell the end of support for Brits campaigning for office in international sports bodies and for our bids to host major international sports events.

There will be no return of the inflatable unicorns that have been a mainstay in recent years

There will be no return of the inflatable unicorns that have been a mainstay in recent years 

HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY WATCHES SAINTS

Dustin Hoffman was an unexpected guest to see Southampton graduate to the Premier League. 

The Hollywood legend stunned those in the Royal Box at Wembley when he turned up with his son-in-law. 

The pair were offered the chance to watch the Championship decider or the FA Cup Final and went for the former. ‘We have nothing like this in the US,’ Hoffman explained. ‘There’s so much at stake so we chose this one.’

Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman poses next to Mail Sport's Oliver Holt (R) and Mike Keegan (L)

Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman poses next to Mail Sport’s Oliver Holt (R) and Mike Keegan (L)

EFL ELECTION

Rishi Sunak was not the only one calling an election last week, with Championship clubs now set to vote for a new representative on the EFL Board.

The move follows the departure of Steve Kavanagh after he left his post at Millwall earlier this month.

Norwich City’s Executive Director, Zoe Webber and Hull City’s Tan Kesler, Executive Vice Chair will go head-to-head in a vote that takes place later this week.

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