Avenue full of auguries

FOOTBALL DIARY
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The Independent Online
Contradictory omens from the non-League world for the two championship contenders. Blackburn Rovers have not held a major trophy since they lifted the FA Cup in 1928, which just happens to be the year Bradford Park Avenue last won a championship, that of the old Third Division (North).

Well, Avenue have done it again, clinching the North West Counties League title - and promotion to the Northern Premier League, subject to ground approval - by winning their 12th successive game. Once 20 points behind the leaders, Clitheroe, they came back in style, which offers an equally encouraging augury for Manchester United.

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The idea that managers and club directors should take responsibility for bad behaviour on the pitch inspired Gordon Jones, of Tonbridge, to send in a piece of positive action on that line from Mauritius. Paul T Jones, the president of the local Super League leaders, Sunrise Flacq United, sent a memo to his club's players and directors instructing them to "refrain from making any remarks or gestures against the referee, linesmen, opposing players and officials which may be construed as being derogatory and/or inflammatory. There is no doubt that our behaviour, both individual and collective, will create either a positive or negative environment which would be followed by our supporters."

He concluded the memo by reminding all at his table-topping, semi-professional club of their responsibilities, and asked everyone to sign the memo to signify their acceptance of the conditions.

English football is popular in Mauritius, and television interrupts its schedule to show live matches via satellite, especially if Manchester United are playing. They are role models, no doubt.

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A controversial scene from a television advertisement for Walkers crisps has been cut because it showed Gary Lineker using a kung-fu kick, la Cantona, to break down an old lady's door after she stole his crisps and ran into her house. The ad agency thought it would be fun to play on Lineker's nice-guy image by casting him in the role of a football bad boy, but they hadn't anticipated the sense of outrage after the Cantona incident, and had to cut the scene.

David Seaman was not the only goalkeeper to be involved in a tale of the unexpected during the past week. Alan Fettis, the Northern Ireland keeper who has at times had to battle for his club place, secured his role in the Hull City side last week - as a striker. He scored the last- minute winner at Blackpool. If he signs a new contract at Boothferry Park, will he need his gloves?

That question must be familiar to Colombia's Rene Higuita, of "mistake as big as a house" fame. The keeper took his career goal tally to 37 for Atletico Nacional and Colombia on Wednesday, when he scored for his club in a 3-1 win over Pereira. His first 36 came from penalties, but this time he branched out, curling a right-foot free-kick round the defensive wall to put his side ahead. "I have never practised free-kicks before because there are plenty of players in the team who take them well. I simply saw a chance, took the kick and scored," he said.

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Kilmarnock have made today's Scottish Premier Division game with Hibernian a "carnival day" for youngsters. Children will be admitted free to Rugby Park between 1.45pm and 2.30pm for pre-match entertainment.

Two versions of "Summer Holiday" as Cliff never sung it were very clever, as was Hose Pike Ban. The winner of the Wild Turkey bourbon for this last week of the Football Diary is Glyn Haggett, of Aylesbury. Thanks for all your entries over the weeks.

SUMMER XI: Mervyn Longest DAY; Pat RICE-CREAM, David MAY-FLY, Paul BEES- LEY, George STRAW-BERRY, Torben PICNIC (Piechnik), Alan BEACH-BALL, David HAY-FEVER, Roberto COOLBAG-GIO, S-TAN BOWLES, Adrian HEATH-WAVE.

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