World of Sport: Peterborough City Council promote an unhealthy option; this week’s hero: KP

Removing ground support will cause football clubs to fold. Photo: Mick Young
Removing ground support will cause football clubs to fold. Photo: Mick Young
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Not so long ago the political lightweights on Peterborough City Council were squabbling over the salary of a new Director of Public Health.

Despite these apparently austere times and regular whinges from councillors about central government cutbacks, a salary of £118k was pushed through. The previous incumbent received £80k.

There is of course nothing new in Tories looking after the interests of the well-paid, but I can’t be alone in thinking this particular decision was horribly ill-timed. There was a lot of fuss about a health worker at a time when decisions are being taken which will undoubtedly harm the health of thousands of local residents.

But football, unless you’re throwing £8 million at the city’s professional club, is clearly low on the priorties of a council that happily wastes tax payers money on vanity projects, wind farm schemes that never have a chance of becoming reality, over-priced consultants and pointless departments.

I’d love to know what the climate change department has achieved for the good folk of Peterborough. Maybe the heavily -populated press office could tell us?

I know the good that football does. Fresh air and exercise which any decent health professional would always recommend and which makes the impending withdrawal of groundsmen at weekends a quite bizarre and frankly appalling decision. Junior teams will be as badly affected as adult teams.

It’s completely illogical unless there is a grand plan to introduce coffee shops, bookmakers and charity shops to Bretton Park. Maybe throw in some fountains as well.

Because, trust me, removing ground support will cause football clubs to fold. A few tried to last summer purely for that reason until a stay of execution on this bonkers decision was achieved.

But, probably from the middle of January, the day of reckoning will be upon us.

There will be no reduction in the pitch hire fee of course. It’s currently anything between £50-£60 (£35ish in Northampton), but when the clubs are on their own they will be expected to arrive earlier to open the facilities, run a car parking programme, inspect the pitch, install the nets and flags, pick up any dog poo and then after the game the fun will really start.

Can you imagine that after a game played in the pouring rain, when you’ve been beaten badly and the referee was rubbish that there will be an army of volunteer players willing to clean the dressing rooms?

Not a chance. They will, quite rightly, start wondering what they are paying £55 for and some will come to the conclusion that it isn’t worth the hassle any more.

Oh and if anyone slips on the floor that you’ve cleaned and hurts themselves, you will be liable for any costs incurred from a law suit. Oh and if your goalnets or other equipment gets damaged you are responsible for buying new ones.

Well played PCC.

Have your say on World of Sport: by emailing alan.swann@peterboroughtoday.co.uk, or on Twitter @PTAlanSwann

Hero of the Week: Kevin Pietersen

KP is the gift that keeps on giving, with help from his media slave Piers Morgan.

The South African spent two months promoting his awful book by dissing pretty much everyone in the England Test camp and now cries about disrespect when retaliatory comments are thrown his way.

Priceless stupidity from an idiot.

It’s King Gary not King Henry

Do Sky Sports really believe that hiring Thierry Henry (above) as a pundit will increase viewing figures?

I know of no-one who tunes in to a match based on who is sitting in the studio ready to state the bleeding obvious.

Henry was a great player, but his analysis of a game is anodyne. And you have to turn the volume up to maximum just to hear him.

And yet Sky are treating his signature like they would the arrival of a new blockbuster TV series.

Do they not realise that they already employ the king of the pundits in Gary Neville?

And where was Henry on Sunday when his beloved Arsenal were delivering an embarrassing display at a hopeless Liverpool side? Nowhere to be seen. Unbelievable Jeff.

And another thing...

DIRTY DYLAN IS PLAIN DAFT

Of course Northampton Saints RFC will ignore the evidence of their own eyes and defend the latest indiscretion by their skipper Dylan Hartley (above).

Hartley elbowed an opponent in the face on Saturday, but there was no malice according to Saints officials.

Instead of mollycoddling this serial offender, Saints should strip him of the captaincy and England should remove him from their World Cup squad. Maybe he’ll then get the message.

TIME FOR CHED TO GIVE UP

If even Hartlepool United don’t want Ched Evans maybe it’s time for the convicted rapist to give up and chase alternative employment. Why not do some voluntary work to further repay his debt to society?