It’s only January
The Donegal U-21s went down by 11 points to Cavan on Sunday, but again they put in a good display against a side that are preparing for life in Division One of the Allianz National Football League.
That Donegal were within striking distance with 15 minutes left was nothing but miraculous given that many of the side had trained twice on Saturday - with the U-21s and seniors. That they tired in the final quarter was no surprise.
And it was no surprise either that they suffered an even heavier defeat (2-23 to 0-6) to Tyrone on Wednesday night. It wasn't a level playing field with the much more physical Tyrone side having it mostly their own way.
There is both positives and negatives in the competition, but overall it has worked out. However, one feels that it could have been even better if the likes of Paul Brennan, Darach O’Connor, Caolan Ward and Ciaran Thompson were available to the team to help out the U-21s. It would have been helpful to those four players as well.
Not for the first time, I had a good supporter saying to me that there is a need for the U-21s and seniors to be under the same management. Next year will be different with the U-21 competition gone and a new U-20 competition, which will be held midweek during the summer. The need for both teams to be under the one management will be even more important then. I can only imagine that it would cost much less to have that arrangement - all together for training, meals, travelling, etc.
Donegal will meet Cavan for real in the National Football League in Kingspan Breffni Park in early March. Donegal will have a completely different team on duty, but be warned, it will be a different Cavan team also.
Soccer transfer madness
Imagine earning €30m a year for playing a game of soccer. That’s the figure that is being bandied about that Diego Costa is being promised if he transfers from Chelsea to the China League.
And then you have Dimitri Payet, although signing a new contract last year, who has gone on strike and doesn’t want to play for West Ham again. There is little The Hammers can do about it - just sell him and get as much as they can.
How much longer can the game continue on this road to nowhere? The ludicrous amount of money being paid to footballers could be on a slippery slope. The money is being provided by TV revenue, but with streams becoming available of almost every game in every country, how much longer will TV customers continue to pay up to €100 a month?
It’s hard to imagine people paying to see the Chinese League.
Here, at a glance, are some of the landmarks in the game. Imagine giving the star players nowadays £10,000 a week, which was the top wage in 1994?
1885: Professionalism is legalised.
1901: A £4-a-week wage limit is introduced.
1922: The maximum wage grows to £8 a week (£6 in the summer), plus a loyalty bonus of £650 after five years.
1947: Jimmy Guthrie takes over as chairman of the Players' Union with the maximum wage still only £12 a week (£10 in the summer).
1961: New PFA chairman Jimmy Hill finally wins abolition of maximum wage. Johnny Haynes becomes first £100-a-week player.
1962: The first transfer over £100,000 takes place as Manchester United pay £110,000 to sign Denis Law from Torino.
1979: Nottingham Forest pay the first £1million fee, signing Trevor Francis from Birmingham. Peter Shilton becomes the best-paid player in Britain with a new contract at Forest worth £1,200 a week.
1988: First £2million transfer as Paul Gascoigne moves from Newcastle to Tottenham.
1994: Chris Sutton becomes the first £10,000-a-week footballer when Blackburn sign him from Norwich.
1995: The Bosman ruling allows out-of-contract players free transfers and therefore higher wages.
2001: Sol Campbell's free transfer from Tottenham to Arsenal sees the England defender become the first £100,000-a-week player.
2010: Carlos Tevez is the first £1million-a-month player - his weekly wages from Manchester City are claimed to be £286,000 a week.
Last Man Standing - C’mon Hull City
I see a few clubs had a Last Man Standing end last weekend. Ballybofey United had four standing, which was reduced to three. The three winners are Adrian Ferry (Arsenal), PJ McArdle (West Ham) and Gary Dunnion (Hull City) who picked up €100 each. Anyone who had Hull City in the Last Man Standing should be getting double, as they had not won in ten league games. Bundoran Golf Club’s Last Man Standing also ended at the weekend and I’m told there were at least two with Hull City as their bankers. (I don’t know how much I’m getting yet!)