Today marks the day when the first piece of silverware is up for grabs for English football sides. Manchester City play Arsenal at Wembley this afternoon, aiming to be crowned winners of the ‘Carabeo Cup’. The 'What' cup, you may well ask. For non-footballing enthusiasts, it's the tournament that has been previously sponsored by the following six businesses - The Milk Marketing Board, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington’s, Carling and Capital One. This year it's Carabao, a Thai energy drink, who are the sponsors. The popularity of the tournament is questionable, to say the very least. For example, the tournament was un-sponsored last year, clubs regularly play their reserve players to fulfil their fixtures, and to prove just how unpopular it is, this season’s third-round draw took place at 4.15 in the morning. Apparently the reason was "to give the competition maximum exposure in the UK, Chinese and South-East Asian markets”. Maximum exposure in the UK…at 4.15am??! This afternoon’s match does, however, give both teams the chance to win some silverware, gain an unwanted place in next season’s Europa Cup and, perhaps most importantly, give both teams the opportunity to put behind them their shock cup defeats this week at the hands of Wigan and Swedish side Östersund respectively. Maybe the Carabeo Cup does have a purpose after all?
This week saw the release of some high-quality property research. Obviously there was the latest installment on Tuesday from Messrs Bull and Bear with their Prospects for 2018 publication, but this was swiftly followed by Bidwells’ latest offering ‘Offices and Labs’, which focuses on their principal patch, the ‘knowledge corridor’ (Norwich in the east to Oxford in the west). Highlights from the report include the whopping prime rental growth of 39.1% recorded since 2014. But away from the stats was some interesting infrastructure-related news, including confirmation that a revolutionary new underground system has been proposed as the best solution for Cambridge’s under pressure infrastructure. The new system now has the backing of senior officials in the Government and could be operational by 2025, assuming £4.6bn can be found, of course. And to add to the general positivity, the report also states that the western section of the proposed ‘Varsity line’ is expected to be operational by 2019, linking Milton Keynes to Oxford via Bletchley. Investors should take note, if they haven’t already.
How many times in the last few years have we heard the phrase ‘we do live in strange times’? Plenty. And no better proof of this than the events that unfolded this week. First Wigan beat high-flying Manchester City in the FA Cup. Then we saw two well-known fast-food outlets grab the headlines. Perhaps the lesser known of the two stories was the banning at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy of the ‘Meet me at McDonald’s’’ haircut. You may, like us, be scratching your head and wondering what on earth that is, but The Weekly can confirm it’s a grade zero or a one on the sides, then disconnected with a perm or curly on the top with the hair sitting forwards. Think Jedward! And then, of course, there was the KFC chicken crisis which has gripped the nation, a crisis which has seen 600 branches forced to shut up shop. The reaction has been astonishing. Some customers reported the closures to the police. Others complained to their MPs. Several even sought advice from the Citizen's Advice Bureau. The shortage has even seen people try to cash in by selling 'rare' bargain buckets on Facebook and eBay for anything from £100 to £25,100! We live in strange times, very strange times indeed.