The fan - Hunter Davies proposes flogging sockless footballers

I propose flogging for footballers who take off their socks

So far, what do you think of it, then? The season, of course. So much has happened in such a short time.

Two Premiership managers gone already - Paul Sturrock and Bobby Robson, with hardly time to warm the bench, throw a hairdryer across the dressing room, be given a vote of confidence by the board. Getting a million or so in compensation won't make up for the heartache and shame. Poor old Bobby. Just when he thought he was about to retire gracefully, in his own time.

Floods of Spaniards, arriving on every boat, onions round their necks, sorry, that's Frogs, stealing our women, displacing our lads. Who would have thought it just a season ago?

Even more amazing, three roast beefs are now with Real Madrid. Who would have thought it, etc. And Becks has had the same hairstyle for oh, it must be weeks now. Michael Owen looks v nervous. Will he cope or get even more tight-lipped? Or be back at the end of the season?

No new Brit teenage talent sighted so far. Shaun Wright-Phillips was last season's thrill, Wayne Rooney the season before. Where have they gone? In hiding, or smothered by that Spanish wave?

Best signing so far - Paul Dickov to Blackburn. A bargain at £150,000. Most disappointing signing - Patrick Kluivert at Newcastle.

Paul Scholes retiring from England duties signified one thing: he is pissed off by Sven and his England management. At his age, his stage, would he have fallen out of love with playing for England if the team had been happy and successful?

The Premiership refs have got their act together at last - commercially. Don't you love those twee little advertisements on their dinky sleeves for Fly Emirates. They are now looking for sponsors to appear on every yellow card. Double price for red cards.

But boo to the new electronic, computer-driven advertising hoardings round Old Trafford. So annoying, distracting, now that they can move around. As bad as watching Spanish football. At least we've been spared the sight of a moving car appearing to appear in the penalty area at a vital moment.

A new advert, not one of the all-singing, all-dancing ones, says: "Budweiser - official beer of the Premier League." Official? You mean there are some unofficial, unauthorised beers going around throwing themselves down the throats of our stout lads? (Not Spaniards, need I say. They drink garlic.)

Refs can now yellow-card you for removing your shirt, and I should think so, disgusting habit, where will it end. I suggest flogging if you take your socks off, imprisonment for lowering your shorts and hanging if you remove your jockstrap.

Rooney: he's given us the best fun so far, not just his transfer saga, but his patronage of certain Liverpool brothels. Wasn't it considerate of him to sign autographs for the prostitutes, some old enough to be his gran. So thoughtful. Shows how well brung-up he is. I'm sure if he'd been a bank robber, he'd have posed for a picture opportunity with the manager before leaving.

Welcome to some nice names. Joonas Kolkka of Crystal Palace - a world first for our football . . . Well, I can't think of another Prem player with three Ks in his name. Also to another Palace player, Fitz Hall - known to his team-mates as Onesize, gerrit.

Our beloved commentators have returned, bang on form, coming out with some newly minted pearls. "The games come thick and fast at this stage," said Martin Tyler in the first week, which is bollocks. The fixture list schedules the same number of Premiership games every week, throughout the season. If anything, it's at the end of the season, not the beginning, that they pile up, with postponements, replays, cup ties.

But his colleague Andy Gray came out with something that no one could argue with: "We're talking about the player we're talking about."

Hold on, can you mint pearls? Who's talking bollocks now? Yup, we're now well into another new, fun-filled season . . .

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