Cracking up in Moscow - Sport - The Independent

Cracking up in Moscow

Muscovites were stunned by the sight of the Scots' kilts this week, but not nearly so much as the Tartan Army were to find a Scottish- run nightclub and casino in the Russian capital. "Jacko's Bar", run by a Kilmarnock exile, is in one of the neo-gothic skyscrapers ordered by Stalin after a trip to New York. Pre-match fare featured "lesbian strippers and all-day buffet", though needless to say a few drams were also consumed. So much so that Radio Five Live had to scrap its live phone link-up with the bar, due to what is known in the trade as "a terrible line".

***

Some way south in Georgia, the build-up to the visit of Jrgen Klinsmann and Co was rather more wholesome. Dropping in on Tbilisi's Paychadze Stadium the day before the game, German reporters found local musicians and dancers rehearsing with several hundred students. They were chanting: "Long live sport! We love sport! We love Georgia!" As if to underline that, 75,000 Georgians paid $1.20 per ticket - a sum not to be scoffed at in a country where wages average $2 a month.

***

Barry Hearn, now chairman of Leyton Orient, intends to fill Brisbane Road through promotions, including offering under-16s season tickets for £10. That forward-thinking plan might avoid the problems that family enclosures can run into, as happened at Twerton Park this week. Birmingham fans, desperate to see their Second Division side play Bristol Rovers, tried to borrow "spare" kids from families as a ruse to get into the special section. Stewards were wise to them.

Hearn's plan to stir up Orient is based on expanding the club's good work with the local community. There is a chance to discuss their plans with the man responsible, Neil Watson, at the Football Supporters' Association question time evening at the Ebury Arms, London SW1 on 13 April (All welcome, entrance free).

***

Leicester's promotion to the Premiership may not have been successful but they won the Programme of the Year Award from the Football Programme Directory, beating Norwich, and Middlesbrough, who won the First Division award. Stockport County edged Plymouth Argyle in the Second and Fulham picked up the Third Division prize.

***

Plymouth are facing programme problems, however. The Pilgrims had two home matches called off at short notice in mid-winter. If they re-use the original programmes, punters for Tuesday's game against Bristol Rovers will be greeted by manager's notes penned by Peter Shilton, while Steve McCall's thoughts will be in the programme for the 19 April game against Birmingham. Words of wisdom from the new man in charge at Home Park, Russell Osman, will have to wait.

***

A Wolverhampton barber thinks Wanderers fans will let their admiration of Steve Bull go to their head. An ad in the Express and Star shows one style in a sketch of what looks remarkably like Bully's bonce. It might go down well with the youngsters, but what about the OAPs? Well, the robust Bully might just be thinning on top and and is the colour fading?

Plenty of Kings of the road, a few Dolly Barton's and a Witschge Line Man, But the Wild Turkey Bourbon goes to a Country & Western XI wrapped into a song, by Phillip Hill, of Leicester:

BUTCHER sweet lips a LIDDELL closer to the phone, Let's pretend that WEIR together HALL ALLON, I'll tell AMMAN to THERN the juke box way down LOWE, and you CAN-TWELL your friend there WITHE you he'll have to GOW.

Next week: A Broadcast XI. Entries to: Team Spirit, Football Diary, The Independent, One Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

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