Supercopa’s Saudi Arabia adventure given short shrift by fans in Spain

Supercopa’s Saudi Arabia adventure given short shrift by fans in Spain

The Spanish trophy’s derided trip to Jeddah sees Barcelona fans buying just 300 tickets and Valencia shifting as few as 27

The sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo last week offered advice for football fans travelling to Spain’s new, revamped Supercopa, which begins with Valencia v Real Madrid on Wednesday night and Barcelona v Atlético on Thursday before Sunday evening’s final between the winners. The fourth of an eight-point checklist informed them they might not be allowed to require ham or any pork product, “even if it's vacuum packed”. a few of days later one Barcelona fan told the radio show El Larguero that he would be doing so anyway but not many will defy the principles – if only because not many will travel in the least .

Atlético Madrid have sold 50 tickets, consistent with one fans’ group. El Mundo calculated that Valencia have sold 27, Barcelona around 300 and Madrid almost 700, although most of these are to people that happened to be near the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia , where the competition is being held. When it involves supporters travelling specifically for the games, it said there have been fewer than 200, paying upwards of £2,000, and – consistent with AS – as few as 40 Madrid fans making the journey for the semi-final. Of the tickets the clubs had available they need sold but 10%, although most haven't been sold in the least . they need been given away. agen sbobet terbaik

Barcelona v Atlético is sold out, with the Spanish football federation (RFEF) proudly announcing each day before kick-off that there are “only” 10,000 tickets left for Valencia v Madrid. “Excitement is thru the roof in Jeddah,” the RFEF communiqué claimed. In Spain, it's a special matter.

It is not hard to guess what it had been that attracted the RFEF to the fabulously wealthy absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia , signing a three-year deal worth €40m (£34m) a year, half which matches to the participating clubs, which decision has met criticism from many sides, that specialize in everything from format to human rights.

For a start Luis Rubiales is that the RFEF president who blocked La Liga’s attempts to require a game per season to the US, only to require three games to Saudi Arabia , even as he took last season’s one-off Super Cup to Morocco. He insists the Super Cup is different – which in terms of competition integrity, it's – and claims the competition, traditionally played between the cup and league winners over two legs in August, was dying. The new final-four format, moved to January and opened to incorporate subsequent two highest finishers within the league, has largely if not unanimously been welcomed. But little else convinces.

Ian Holloway: ‘Managing Grimsby makes me feel like Mary Poppins’

Stocked with an infectious personality, Holloway has already struck up a rapport with supporters, buying some gloves and calendars within the club shop hours before Grimsby edged out Salford City on New Year’s Day – their first win for quite three months. Since he was appointed manager, Grimsby, who visit Leyton Orient on Saturday, have garnered maximum points after beating Mansfield last outing , despite playing quite 80 minutes with 10 men. then win Holloway apologised for over-celebrating, acknowledging a cocktail of pent-up energy and frustration had got the higher of him. But Holloway, who describes the previous Grimsby managers Bill Shankly and Lawrie McMenemy as inspirations, needn't apologise for restoring a feelgood factor around Blundell Park in double-quick time.

“I’ve been gobsmacked by the response from everybody at the club,” he says. “I’m a Bristol Rovers fan and we’ve had some terrible times but you never change the kit that’s around your heart. Ever. But unfortunately, as a football manager, I’ve had to. Bristol Rovers sacked me years ago so I’ve had to vary colours and these colours haven't fit so well on me in my life.

“Every club should be a fit the manager, a wedding between the manager and therefore the owner. At the instant there’s too many layers above the manager now, so you can't get an in depth relationship with the chairman. you've got got chief executives, directors of football, all kinds of things … but this is often quaint and that i absolutely like it . this is often me everywhere .” agen judi bola

• Several clubs have raided non-league in search of goalscoring rough diamonds since the transfer window reopened. Josh March has joined Forest Green Rovers from Leamington Town after scoring 24 goals in 27 games, becoming the second striker to swap the National League North for the league in six months after Colby Bishop joined Accrington in July. Meanwhile, Muhammadu Faal has signed for Bolton from the Isthmian Premier League side Enfield Town, for whom he has scored 27 goals in 30 games this season. Also, 21-year-old Reeco Hackett-Fairchild has joined Portsmouth from Bromley.

• Birmingham could face a second points deduction in two seasons after being charged with breaching financial rules by the EFL. The Championship club said the charge relates to a breach of a business plan imposed by the league last March, once they were deducted nine points for breaking profitability and sustainability rules. “The club denies the charge and that we await the result of ongoing disciplinary proceedings,” read a Birmingham statement. Meanwhile, the choice to suspend Bolton’s five-point deduction regarding unfulfilled fixtures has been upheld by an arbitration panel following a failed appeal by the EFL, who said they're “disappointed with the verdict”.

• Ben Garner has made his second signing since being appointed Bristol Rovers manager, with the 21-year-old midfielder Josh Barrett coming back from Reading after the Derby winger Jayden Mitchell-Lawson joined on loan on Monday. Garner, who worked as a first-team coach at Crystal Palace and West Brom and was last assistant to Steve Coppell at the Indian Super League club ATK, has not won any of his opening four matches. Rovers, who are eighth united One, host Doncaster on Saturday.