Football Diary: A room with a view

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The Independent Online
Times are hard but you cannot quite imagine B & B or camping signs hanging outside Wembley or Hampden. One national HQ offering rooms (11 doubles) is the Faroes' Toftir Stadium, perched high above a stunning fjord. Other facilities at the new home of Faroes football include a sleeping-bag hall (with access to showers) plus camping (but not on the pitch). The inaugural game on Toftir's turf was the 4-0 defeat by Belgium in June; 5,000 fans attended, the equivalent, in terms of percentage of population, of England attracting five million to Wembley. The only problem is ball retrieval - one shot flew over the bar and dropped 200 feet into the Atlantic.

BOSTON UNITED have a similar problem. The Conference club, who broadcast police news about local burglaries, may soon be making announcements about themselves. During the game with Stafford Rangers, John McKenna, the Pilgrims keeper, twice cleared back-passes out of York Street. The balls, pounds 35.99 each, were dribbled away by passers-by.

NICKNAME check . . . Gordon Watson, the Sheffield Wednesday striker infamous for his unforced fall in Leeds United's box last season, is known locally as 'Pond's Forge' after the city's international swimming pool. Even more subtle is the saintly sobriquet for Celtic's new Albanian defender, Rudi Vata - 'Holy'.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN are going downhill . . . the Terriers have just received planning permission for a new stadium which includes a dry ski slope.

IN THE run-up to the Uncle Sam Soccer Experience - aka the 1994 World Cup - football is being slowly, subtly Americanised. The latest stat-happy dispatch from Fifa HQ has an interesting column of who scored the most goals - and 'assists'. Poland's Ryszard Staniek is listed joint second on seven, which comprises two goals and five assists. Behind him on six is the great Ghanaian, Kwame Ayew, who scored three times as many goals as Staniek. What next? Gazza's yardage gains? Rush's rushing?

THE road to Wembley moves up a gear today with the first qualifying round of the FA Cup. Some names to listen out for - the North-eastern derby of Dunston Federation Breweries v Norton & Stockton Ancients, and a potential minefield for the man on the videoprinter - Stocksbridge Park Steels v Stalybridge Celtic.

IN THE Fulham programme for last Saturday's game with West Brom, Don Mackay, the Craven Cottage manager, had a gentle pop at the media for calling the match a 'top-of-the-table clash', a fair point with only a 10th of the season gone. But what was this, six pages on, in Jimmy Hill's 'boardroom comments'? . . . 'Isn't it great to be taking part in a top-of-the-table clash again?'

WEDNESDAY was a night of missed opportunities for England's forwards - and Ed Alleyne. Six weeks ago, the Manchester United fan asked the bookies William Hill for a price on Paul Ince making his international debut in 1992 and was quoted 12-1, generous odds given the turnover of new caps. Alleyne took pounds 60 out of the bank but forgot to place the bet, a pounds 720 mistake. 'The last time something like this happened,' Hills' Graham Sharpe said, 'was when a Welsh punter declined to accept 200-1 on the Berlin Wall coming down just two months before it fell.'

THE bottle of Aberlour Whisky for the obscure fact of the week goes to Paul Clare from Marlow, Bucks, for the following . . .

'Within a two-minute period at approximately 3.20 last Saturday Leicester City scored a goal (v Southend), Leicester RUFC scored a try (v England XV) and, at Lord's, Leicestershire took a wicket (v Northants). Unfortunately all three teams lost]'

All weird stats to Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.