Football Diary: Barnet move for Giggs

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The Independent Online
IT IS a tough life being Ryan Giggs, photographic model, heartthrob and icon of the nation's youth . . . oh, and professional footballer, of course. Sometimes it seems he can do nothing right. Juggling the demands at a prominent club like United, as even the Best of superstars have found in the past, can be hair-raising.

The Welsh winger had a bit of a hard time after he was spotted on a slow-motion video of Paul Ince's tumble in the penalty area during the Charity Shield match against Blackburn. He was flicking his head as he pushed his hair back with both hands in a way that some saw as, well, girlish. Now, of course, the mop-top has become a crop top, but his new look of a man who means business is a little at odds with his old look of a man who meant a whole marketing industry. Just what do the commercial sponsors do with all those pictures of Giggs with all that seductive hair, and is there a chance that looking like just another lad, he will also look like just another player?

Someone as self-critical as Giggs (as will be clear from his imminent autobiography - 'Giggs: the first five minutes' might be a good title) is sure to work it out, so long as everyone else plays ball and let's him get on with doing likewise.

CLUB and country tangles can be curious, like Tottenham's dispute with Terry Venables, but none more so than that involving Dynamo Kiev and Ukraine. The home of Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov began the chase for a place in England '96 with a 2-0 home defeat by Lithuania. Their coach, Oleh Bazylevych, was not helped by having Kiev players withheld to prepare for a Champions' League match against Spartak Moscow, but he duly resigned. Who has taken over? Dynamo's Jozef Sabo, of course.

RED Hall Rangers revisited: David Dean, the 18-year-old goalkeeper with 'the worst team in the country', has left Rangers after feeling he had been made the scapegoat in the press for the Auckland and District side's opening early this season, 25-0, 24-0 and 20-0. But it hasn't dented his confidence. He has joined his father's team as the next step along the way towards his goal of replacing his favourite, Peter Schmeichel, at Manchester United.

JACQUES GLASSMANN, who exposed the Marseille match-rigging scandal, has been shunned by the professional game. Glassmann, who alleged two Marseille men tried to bribe him and Valenciennes colleagues before a league match in May, was let go by Valenciennes and his only offer has come from Fourth Division amateurs, US Maubeuge.

EVER wondered what happens to managers after they are sacked? Kenny Swain, ousted this month after 14 months in charge at Wigan Athletic, has been keeping his hand in by scouting for Wolves and some freelance coaching at Blackburn and Sheffield United. Lest anyone suspects Swain's love for the game has been dimmed by his dismissal, the player who gained a European Cup winner's medal with Aston Villa is also turning out for Haslington Villa (no relation) in the Crewe Regional League.

TEAM SPIRIT: OF all the entries for the Chef's XI, only one managed a complete line-up of chefs. So the winner of the Wild Turkey Bourbon is Kieth Vernon, of North Cornwall, with:

CHEFS XI: Delia SMITH (Hearts); Emily GREEN (Gillingham), Margaret POWELL (Southend), Shaun HILL (Plymouth), Marco Pierre WHITE (Scarborough), Sophie GIGGSon (Man Utd), Keith FLOyd (Sheff Utd), Andrew Worrel THOMPSON (Scarborough), Bob PAYTON (Barnsley), Ricky STEIN (Chelsea), Graham KERR (Millwall).

Next week: A Baldies XI. Entries to Sports Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

(Photographs omitted)