Football Diary: Bees are stung into action

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The Independent Online
THEY CALL it the romance of the Cup but three strikers might disagree, Wednesday's events having exposed football's seamier side. Kevin Campbell, Lee Chapman and Darren Beckford were all subjected to serious incidents of verbal abuse: the London pair from their own supporters, while Beckford was racially taunted by Stoke City fans.

Although they do not have a problem, Brentford, in typically innovative fashion, have introduced a scheme to prevent similar outbursts at Griffin Park. Throughout last Saturday's game with York City, senior stewards listened for barrackers. Two loudmouths were located and the stewards moved in, each offender being shown a yellow card which warned that Brentford are a family club and continued yobbishness would be met with a red card and eviction from the ground.

'They were as good as gold afterwards,' Keith Loring, the Bees' MD, said yesterday. 'It's a gentle warning to people who persistently offend. We're not on a holy crusade but people who swear a lot cause offence. We're trying to lean away from the police, and their charges; without them our stewards want to avoid confrontation. This can be done through the cards.' With seats proliferating, offenders can be easily monitored. Other clubs, take note.

JUDGING by the programme photograph of Ronny Rosenthal's contract signing, Spurs' new striker was taking no chances - the contract was upside down.

AS A man who had represented his country at schoolboy, under-23, B and senior level (where he won 59 caps, many of them as player-manager), Terry Neill was slightly surprised following his expression of interest in becoming Northern Ireland's manager again to receive a letter from the Irish Football Association which began . . . 'Dear Sir'.

GHEORGHI HAGI, the prince of Romanian football, has a cousin in California. Nothing special about that, except that the American relative owns a pizza chain and has told Gheorghi that the boys can eat free during the World Cup. The offer was politely declined. 'Pizza is a top performer's biggest foe,' Romania's doctor, Pompiliu Popescu, explained.

THE treatment meted out to Terry Yorath was shown to be even more irrational this week when Welsh tyros he helped nurture hit the headlines. Hartson (Luton) and Edwards (Bristol City) stood out in the FA Cup, while their under-21 team- mates include Blake (Cardiff), Meaker and Reddy (QPR), Jones (Sheffield Wednesday), Margetson (Manchester City) and the Newcastle target Bowen (Swansea). Some legacy.

MORE Brazilian refereeing nonsense: Airton, a substituted Toledo player, was walking behind his goal en route to the showers when he noticed the opposition's attacker had rounded his keeper during a Parana State match. As the Atletico Paranaense player rolled the ball towards the empty net, Airton ran on to clear into touch. The referee awarded a throw-in. (Atletico's players, who went bananas, did eventually win).

IT SOUNDS like a breathless broadcast from a Norwegian commentator, but the following boast a footballing link: Josef Stalin, E T, Alfred Hitchcock, Alf Garnett, Sid James, Sid Vicious, Rolf Harris, Frankie Howerd, Spock, Ken Barlow, Elvis Costello, Claire Grogan, a Dalek and a Womble. All are pictured in the Gillingham fanzine, Brian Moore's Head Looks Uncannily Like London Planetarium. 'We started to put in pictures to break up the text,' Simon Baker, Brian Moore's editor, said. 'People send in the weirdest pictures.' Although the celebrity roll-call changes, two are ever-present: Rolf Harris and Claire Grogan.

THE bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon for freak fact of the week goes to P Greenwood, of Burnley, for the following . . .

'Following Tuesday's replay, bitter rivals Blackburn and Burnley have both lost to Charlton in the FA Cup and Spurs in the Coca-Cola Cup'.

More bourbon next week. Entries to Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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