Alastair Campbell sent Arsenal’s security into a spin following the Gunners home defeat at the hands of his beloved Burnley on December 13.
The former media adviser to Tony Blair‘s Labour government was with the Clarets media team at the Emirates for the upset 1-0 victory.
However, Campbell unwittingly sparked panic when he tweeted a picture of his pass for the game.
Amid concerns others may use the image to generate fakes, an urgent message was sent out to the 63-year-old former Downing Street director of comms, who promptly removed the offending post.
Burnley fan Alastair Campbell sparked concerns by posting his match pass for Arsenal game
Blunt Swann bounced out
Graeme Swann pulled no punches in a recent interview when he declared it would be a ‘crying shame’ should his pal and record-breaking England seamer Jimmy Anderson coach England’s women or Lancashire seconds.
‘Before anyone cries foul, I’m not having a go at the England women’s team or the Lancashire second team,’ the former spinner told Analyst Inside Cricket podcast.
‘You know my point… he should go straight in as head coach or head bowling coach for England.’
Such non-PC views may explain why Swann is not on our screens as often as some of his contemporaries.
Graeme Swann courted controversy for his comment on England women’s coaching role
Amazon Prime splash the cash to fly in Champion
Money would appear to be no object at Amazon after the Premier League’s newest player opted for a festive deal this month of one commentator for the price of two.
Hardworking Adam Summerton was stood down — on full pay — from several appearances in their first round of fixtures as soon as Prime Video became aware that changes to the UK’s quarantine laws would enable ESPN veteran Jon Champion, who was only set to arrive for the second round, to jet in from his home in the United States.
West Brom owners were shocked by Bilic’s claims over Hegazi
West Brom’s Chinese owners were surprised at the implication that defender Ahmed Hegazi had been sold behind Slaven Bilic’s back, believing the sacked manager had indicated in the summer that the Egyptian was a player he wanted to move on.
The Hawthorns top brass were perturbed because Bilic had met the defender the day before he was allowed to leave, which they thought gave ample opportunity to discuss the proposed transfer with Hegazi and his camp, and address if he wanted the 29-year-old to stay.
Hegazi played just once for the Baggies in the Premier League this season — in the goalless draw against Burnley in October. He had figured 14 times under Bilic in Albion’s promotion campaign and was understood to have been one of the players the manager was willing to sell.
West Brom owners insist that Ahmed Hegazi was not sold behind Slaven Bilic’s back
Buttler’s England’s chess king
A chess board is likely to be in England’s luggage when they head to Sri Lanka.
Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali are the Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky of the team, with insiders saying Buttler has the upper hand. Since Netflix’s chess-inspired hit The Queen’s Gambit, Stuart Broad has shown a keen interest.
No 2027 Rugby World Cup bid for Russia
The controversial Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling, which resulted in Russia’s punishment for egregious doping violations being halved to two years, has thrown up some anomalies.
Russia can now host the coveted Ice Hockey World Championship in 2023 because it comes three years after the ruling.
However, the country will not be permitted to bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup because the rules outlaw bidding for future events during the sanction period.
While a Russian bid would have carried image issues, World Rugby may well be disappointed by the absence of a fresh bidder in what continues to be a stale process.
New Sky appointments rock the boat
A couple of recent appointments have upset staff at Sky and triggered claims of a ‘jobs for the boys and girls’ culture.
Head of football Gary Hughes has appointed pal Matt Roberts as the new executive producer of flagship show Super Sunday, while Roberts’ position at Soccer Saturday will be taken by Sam Mills, the wife of Sky Sports News head of channel Steve Scott, another friend of Hughes.
Station bosses refute the claims and say both appointments were on merit, with Roberts having produced a Champions League final and Mills bringing extensive experience in the EFL.
Meanwhile, presenter Jeff Stelling, close to quitting in the summer when the regular Soccer Saturday panel was disbanded, was said to be fuming after Roberts took a recent Saturday off.
A junior oversaw the flagship show and missed the booing of the knee by Millwall fans, prompting an inquest.
Jeff Stelling was said to be angered by new executive producer took a recent Saturday off
£40k to find Taylor’s successor
The four non-executive directors who must find Gordon Taylor’s successor as chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association will be paid around £40,000 a year for their troubles.
Dugout takeover worth a whopping £90m
Speculation has been rife over the value of the deal last week that saw Dugout, the football media business founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Elliot Richardson and co-owned by major clubs in Europe including Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, acquired by rival football content platform OneFootball.
Sources aware of the takeover have disclosed to Sports Agenda that the deal was worth £90million.
Media to be snubbed for England’s tour of Sri Lanka
It is becoming increasingly likely that no media will cover England’s forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka.
The ECB lobbied hard to provide access for UK-based journalists and, at one point, a secure bubble with stringent Covid protocols was proposed.
However, the Sri Lankan government is refusing to budge on its policy of not issuing visas to foreign nationals.
Deals for radio and television are yet to be completed, but it is thought that the BBC and Sky will cover the two-Test trip.
However, they are unlikely to send staff, with commentary set to be relayed via a feed. Even local reporters are not expected to be allowed into the Galle International Stadium in a country whose response to the virus has been robust.
England go to India in February and concerns remain that the no-media policy may also apply there.
Sri Lanka are unlikely to let UK journalists fly in to cover England’s forthcoming tour