50 Million Reasons to Celebrate…

….for Derby County who beat West Bromich Albion 1-0 in the Coca-Cola Championship Play-off Final yesterday at Wembley.  Derby joins Championship League winners Sunderland, and 2nd-place finishers Birmingham, in promotion to the Premiership next season.  These 3 sides literally hit the jackpot this season, as with the new Premiership TV deal, each of these teams will receive approximately 50 million pounds in their suddenly richer coffers.  Let the summer transfer/signing period commence. 

Speaking of signings, Chelsea actually signed a bona fide Englishman last week (TTL was distracted by the CL Final which shall not be spoken of again).  The Ginger Assasion, Steve Sidwell, turned down a four-year deal with Reading, to join Chelsea.  Sidwell is a talented midfielder and should feature regularly in the Cheslea line-up.  Losing him is a big blow to Reading, who finished a remarkable 8th place this season.  Hope Reading can attract some talent this summer, as this is an exciting club to watch, and they feature 2 Americans in goalie Marcus Hahnemann and midfielder Bobby Convey. 

The actual summer signing period is from June 11th to September 3rd this year.  This is when contracted players can be sold from club to club for a transfer fee.  For example, Manchester United is paying Bayern Munich 17 million pounds for midfielder Owen Hargreaves and then signing Hargreaves to a new 5-year contract.  TTL will keep one abreast of the actual signings, as the rumor mill goes into hyperspeed during the transfer window.  It is not worth discussing all the gossip about which player is going to which club.  Just the signings, Mam. 

Kinda flying through the news here, so its worth mentioning that the Spanish La Liga race is totally caliente.  However, La Liga goes on hiatus until June 10th, as the next 10 days are given over to the international stage with friendlies and Euro 2008 qualifiers on June 2nd and June 6th.  TTL abhors most friendlies as they are often listless, disjointed games with no real point except to gauge fans of their money while they wave the national flag.   But England v Brazil on Friday at Wembley does pique the interest, not in the least part because he returns to the England squad.  Old Becks is reborn and leading Real Madrid by the scruff to a possible La Liga Title.  Sure that Becks will receive a thunderous reaction from the home fans.  He needs to play in 6 more international games to reach his 100th cap (appearance), a milestone that Becks openly covets.  But more importantly, England has a must win game at Estonia on June 6th.  Will be mighty interesting to see if Becks plays in that crucial game.    

TTL would like to give a Best of Sports #7 nod to former Wolverhampton owner Sir Jack Hayward.  In a unbelievingly classy move, Sir Jack sold his beloved Wolves for 10 pounds so the new owners would invest 30 million pounds in the club.  Hey, an owner that actually thinks of the fans and not of his own pockets.  TTL says knight him again.  Sir Sir Jack has nice ring to it.  No pictures or highlights today, just click on the link to read about a great sporting gesture.   And enjoy the games you play and watch.    

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