In the pre-modern era there were various indicators that a football team's fortunes were on the verge of an upswing. A charismatic brown-suited Scotsman might appear on the touchline. A record signing might arrive for some dazzlingly strange amount of money, like £333,999.99. Your team might even start to play midweek matches in some sulphurous industrial regions of central Europe, accompanied by news of distant floodlit punch‑ups and jeeringly relayed overseas goalkeeping-fails.
I mention this simply as a point of comparison at the end of a week when football seems more than ever to be turning into a sport where success comes suddenly, and from a familiar source: oozing, spreading and spurting out in a triumphant spume from its gurgling blow-hole. Fossil-fuel revenues have for some years been a vital factor in elite football. (Click here to read more)