Football Diary: A nice line in laces

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The Independent Online
EVERY penny counts in a recession, but certain Scottish Premier Division clubs have been a bit snooty about Airdrieonians' fund-finding efforts. The main object of the millionaires' mirth has been the Diamonds' boot-lace sponsorships at pounds 2 per season. 'I can't imagine it is a lucrative earner,' writes Peter Cross, a Hearts fan whose team play at Airdrie today. He's right: 17 of these deals have been tied up, swelling the Broomfield Park coffers by a modest pounds 34.

Which is pure gold-dust, according to the commercial manager, Frank Carroll. 'The lace deals are just for kids and it gives them an attachment to the club. A few Premier clubs have said 'you are scraping the bottom of the barrel' but they forget that the kids of today are the businessmen of tomorrow.' These mini-moguls get their names in the programme - plus the laces to keep at the end of the season.

FACED with the eternal programme question 'what would you be if you weren't a footballer?' Arsenal's teenage defender, Scott Marshall, resisted the pub-running, sportshop-owning reply. His answer? 'A brain surgeon'.

THE new Flora margarine ad featuring Jan Francis was filmed at Twerton Park over the summer and Bath's players were asked to simulate a game. No problem replied the Conference club. And it wasn't, until they learned that the script called for David Bailey to shoot a winter scene. City's secretary, Paul Britton, takes up the tale: 'It was a baking hot day, around 89 F, and suddenly they appeared with a snow machine and covered the rooftops with fake snow. The players had a horrendous amount of clothing on because it was supposed to be cold. They were absolutely boiling.' The Bath boys' next advertising assignment comes tomorrow - an aerobic session with Princess Di's fitness instructor.

THERE was a massive 'Non' in France this week. In a player poll at First Division strugglers Toulouse, 15 out of the 16 professionals voted for their coach, Viktor Zvunka, to resign. He did.

PORT VALE'S Hamil Road End stand passed a late fitness test on Thursday and makes its debut today for Chester's visit. The visiting fans will certainly feel at home - the new structure was bought from Sealand Road, their old abode, and has already been unofficially christened the 'Chester End'.

WHERE are they now, No 1874? Popping up to score Asante Kotoko's first goal in the Ghanaians' African Club Champions Cup quarter-final second leg against ASEC, of the Ivory Coast, was a . . . Mr Maxwell.

SPARE a thought for Nicky Coppin, recipient of one of the most unfortunate injuries of the season. The 20-year-old defender with Wimbledon's women's team was standing on the touchline after being substituted in last Sunday's draw at Red Star Southampton; equally intent on watching the game was a linesman who ran straight into her. Coppin was taken to hospital suffering from concussion and a broken nose, and will be out for five weeks.

CHAIRMEN can be so troublesome. When non-League legend 'Thommo' Thomas dies, his will insists the club employ a former player, 'Nudger' Noakes, to lift them out of the dreaded Thermal Insulation League and back to the dizzy heights of the Summit Travel League. An everyday tale of football folk, except that 'Thommo' passed away after falling from the directors' box on to the referee and 'Nudger' is the wrong side of 50, one-legged and must play in every game. 'Totally Gutted' is on Radio 4, 2.0pm, Monday.

THE Aberlour Malt goes to Gateshead's Alastair Gilmour for pointing out that when Newcastle's Brock was brought down by Rockett of Rotherham in a reserves game there must have been 'fireworks'. All freak facts and figures to Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.