Amusing football story of the day: Premier League new boys Burnley have been told to upgrade their changing rooms as they are not big enough to cope with a football team’s needs.
Yep, you read that right. We had to look twice too. The news was greeted with a mixture of disbelief and amusement in the Club Website office today.
With almost every preview of Manchester United's visit to Turf Moor focussing on the conditions that will await Sir Alex Ferguson’s men rather than the game itself - "back to the dark ages" warned The Star - you’d be forgiven for thinking that the champions of England were turning out on Hackney Marshes to play the Dog & Duck, as opposed to a top-flight outfit.
According to The Sun, Burnley’s ageing ground boasts “just two showers for visiting teams. Players are expected to strip off in front of one another and use a traditional communal bath - but bashful opponents have moaned about the lack of privacy.”
These poor millionaire footballers - having to put up with sharing a bath or waiting their turn for a shower? Oh bless. Our hearts bleed for them.
Whatever next? No plug points for their hair straighteners? No mirrors to help with their fake tan?
To be fair, you won't have heard any complaints from the champions themselves, but it is a sad reflection on where the game has gone that, if the Lancashire side can avoid relegation this year, one of their main requirements for the new season will be to fit new shower cubicles and increase the size of their changing rooms to meet Premier League standards.
The chuckles in the Club Website office were fairly ironic, as the news comes hot on the heels of a Club Website poll revealing that over half of Britain’s footballers are putting up with sub-standard facilities on a regular basis.
And by ‘sub-standard’, we’re pretty sure that most of you out there weren’t referring to a lack of jacuzzis, saunas and under-floor heating. More likely that there are no locks on the changing room door or that the showers – if there are any – don’t even work!
The Premier League is bigger than ever and there has never been more money in the game than there is today, yet so little of it finds its way down to the grass roots.
Whilst we can understand the high standards demanded by our top clubs and their stars, it wouldn’t hurt to get some perspective here and think about where the money really needs to be spent.
So to the powers that be in the Premier League, if you’re reading this, next time you’re insisting that a club spend a few million quid on their changing rooms, spare a thought for all those of us put up with real sub-standard facilities…
… and maybe let a bit more money filter through the game to help fix them?
Dan Pope, Club Website Editor