Chris Martin is the real deal

Right, I am going to get carried away now. The Man makes no apologies for that; it is what football's all about. Having watched the lad play three times in a week - Luton, Barnsley and Derby - I'm delighted to announce that Chris Martin is the real deal.

Right, I am going to get carried away now. The Man makes no apologies for that; it is what football's all about.

Having watched the lad play three times in a week - Luton, Barnsley and Derby - I'm delighted to announce that Chris Martin is the real deal. Fact.

His arrival could not of come at a better time either, we needed a great hope, and now we've got one.

After a barren few years, well done to Ricky Martin and Dave Williams for producing this gem.

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Sure, we'd probably have been better off with a bustling midfielder or quality centre half emerging from our youth ranks - but beggars can't be choosers.

This may be a little crazy, but I honestly believe Martin will get 20 goals next season if he stays fit.

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So if we hang on to Earnie over the summer, that's a lot of goals…

Which is a good thing given we currently need to score three to win a game. OTBC.

t Interesting to note the season ticket policy of our former model club Charlton - aren't they dull - Athletic.

So worried are Ipswich's parent club about ticket sales in the Championship they have offered fans an incredible bribe.

If the club is relegated, supporters who renew for next season will get a free Premiership season ticket if the mighty Addicks bounce straight back.

The Man supposes that in the cold light of day it is a decent gesture by Charlton, and not a bad PR move either.

Because let's face it, with the new Sky deal coming through, ticket revenue for top flight clubs will be largely irrelevant anyway.

It's set to become football at its most insane; fans through the turnstiles used to be every club's lifeblood - now it's just a bonus (and non essential) revenue stream for Premiership teams.

It's exactly the same reason why unsupported clubs such as Bolton and Blackburn slashed their ticket prices for next season…

They may as well let people in on the cheap now, as financially it doesn't really matter anyway.

Of course, it's a very different matter for those outside the top division.

Our whole debt management is structured against the enduring loyalty of our support.

As each season passes - and it's probably just The Man getting older - it feels as if football just gets a little more wrong. Ho hum.

t No doubt about the highlight of this week's Football League awards.

The Man is not talking about our ironic scoop of two 'off-the-field' gongs - but the misfortune of infamous Ipswich debt dodger David Sheepshanks. Apparently the ruddy-faced toff went bottom over elbow in full view of those in attendance. What a numpty.

t “You'd need to have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for West Ham after that,” remarked Adrian Chiles on Match of the Day last week. The gargoyle West Brom fan was referring to the Hammers' 4-3 defeat to Spurs.

The Man clearly has a heart of stone then… That had to be one of the funniest matches I have seen in years.

To say The Man is looking forward to watching Earnie and Chrissy Martin slap a couple past Greeno next season would be an understatement - that is assuming RG doesn't go on strike for West Ham in the Championship, like he did with us. But one person The Man is pretty sure we won't be seeing return to the Carra in 2006/7 is Dean Ashton, despite the up-coming George Michael concert.

I'm confident Deano will be disappearing to the perennially injured strikers' graveyard that is Newcastle next season, or someone of that ilk. There's no doubt his uncle - aka the one client agent - will be sniffing another heavy handling fee as West Ham continue to fall apart…

t More evidence the Tartan Taliban at Colney are radiating their sweaty influence…

This week junior striker Kris Renton ditched playing for the Republic of Ireland in favour of playing for Scotland.

The Musselburgh-born teenager was drafted into the Irish squad recently but injury stopped him playing for them in a friendly.

However, he found out this week that he's been included in the Scotland Under-17 squad for the UEFA Championship qualifying games later this month - so he's switched countries!

t It is very naughty, but The Man can't help but like it. While we were losing to the solid but desperately uninspiring Derby County; a full-on brawl was unfolding between Valencia and Inter Milan.

The Man tucked into the highlights the next day - the Benny Hill-style chase sequence being the top attraction. When it comes to a bit of fisticuffs on the football pitch, I have never really been able to understand the moral outcry. If our players are prepared to stick up for each other; then all the better.

Sure, it's not a good example for the youngsters - but what is sport if it's not combat but another means? Every now and then it's going to degenerate, so what.

On the subject of pugilism, a good old-fashioned punch-up is The Man's favourite section of Gunny's book: In Where it Hurts.

I'm not talking about the Highbury brawl; but the unreported Goss v Polston showdown in the US.

For those who've not read the relevant chapter, after a few beers on the pre-season trip to the States, the two players ended up bare-chested in a car park going at it hammer and tongs. As I recall it was just over a trivial matter - but I can't help but chuckle at the thought of Gossy and JP swinging left hooks at each other.

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