Football Diary: Arsenal hit by blues

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The Independent Online
ARISTOCRATIC Arsenal were a bit miffed when they discovered that the people who had hired their hospitality rooms on Thursday were promoting a near blue video called 'The Ref's A ]*]*]*'. Made by Vinny's friends at VVL, the tale-telling tape is a compilation of stag-party jokes from George Best and Tommy Docherty, among others.

A statement boomed out of the marble halls, saying: 'Arsenal . . . does not in any way feature in, nor endorse the nature of the product.' Keith O'Keefe, the comedian and ex-West Ham reserve who features in ']*]*]*', replied: 'Although Highbury is being used to launch the video, Arsenal Football Club has nothing to do with this video - it's too bleeding entertaining]'

'COME on you Silver Kings.' The mighty Reds of Liverpool have acquired a strange new nickname. In one of the four programmes on sale at Spartak Moscow, Liverpool received a particularly warm greeting from the Russians' supporters' club - 'Nice To Meet You, Silver Kings'. After a brief eulogy about the Kop came a grand conclusion - 'Welcome to Moscow, Silver Kings'. Where does this silver streak come from? The colour of Graeme Souness's hair after Bruce Grobbelaar's display? Or maybe 'Red Army' has different connotations around there.

BOTH are thoroughbreds. Both compete in black and white. Both are unbeaten. Both are owned by the Hall family. One has 22 legs, the other four. Three days after Newcastle United won at Sunderland, the club's horse Satin Lover won at Ascot. Who will lose first?

LET'S hope Uefa, so sensitive about national eligibility, didn't see the L'Equipe headline on the Rangers-Leeds tie which read 'La Bataille d'Angleterre'. If Rangers are English, they were certainly fielding too many foreigners.

THE ecstasy at Ewood has not embraced their London supporters' club football team. While Blackburn (home: Ewood Park, crowd: 20,000) were winning promotion, their exiled fans (home: Wormwood Scrubs, crowd: man and dog) were falling to the Second Division of the Supporters' League. Rovers (star: Alan Shearer, ex-Southampton) are on their way to Europe; their capital fans (star: Neil Arthur, ex-Blancmange) are pointless and according to one player, Michael Taylor, 'are heading for the Third Division like a juggernaut'.

WITH Christ playing for the Swiss U-21s, Paul Clare from Marlow, Bucks, had the divine inspiration of picking a religious XI: Jesus (Vitoria Guimaraes); Abel (Chester), Saul (Spurs), Moses (Man United), Isaac (Chelsea), Joseph (Wimbledon), Lazarus (QPR), Daniel (Portsmouth), St John (Liverpool), Christ (Swiss U-21s), Eli (Burnley). 'If The Boss isn't available as manager, how about someone who has actually Metgod]' Clare writes, 'Failing that . . . Brian Clough.'

TALKING of Lazarus, Chadderton were also in the comeback business last Saturday. With 13 minutes left, David Platt's old club trailed Skelmersdale 4-0 at home in the Bass North-West Counties League. Two goals seemed mere consolations but Skelmersdale's spirit was broken by the third, caused by a 'horrendous refereeing decision', according to Chadderton's Dave Ball. The hosts' winger - 'at least two yards offside', Ball admitted - ran through despite the linesman flagging. The referee waved play on, thinking his colleague was signalling a foul on the flanker, who crossed for Dave Kershaw to score. Skelmersdale lost possession at the kick-off and Kershaw equalised. Goals in the 87th and 89th minutes gave Chaddy victory.

THE bottle of Aberlour Malt Whisky goes to Peter Overall, of High Wycombe, for this freak fact . . .

'On Saturday the crowd at non- League Wycombe Wanderers (4,065) was greater than the whole of the Scottish Second Division (3,948)'.

All odd statistics and figures to Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.