At times like this, a bit of escapism is in order. What could be better than going to the football?
The trouble is that you can’t escape the credit crunch, even in a football stadium. The corporate names of the major English teams look like a roll-call of disaster. Manchester United, the champions, are sponsored by AIG. Newcastle United are sponsored by Northern Rock, the first British bank that had to be nationalised.
West Ham United don’t even have names on their shirts because their sponsors, XL, a travel company have gone bankrupt. In fact, the whole club is up for sale because its Icleandic owner, Björgólfur Gudmundsson, lost hundreds of millions of pounds after the collapse of Landsbanki, which he chaired. How appropriate that West Ham’s team song is “I’m forever blowing bubbles/Pretty bubbles in the air/They fly so high/They reach the sky/But like my dreams, they fade and die.”