Football Diary: Bizarre shot in the arm

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The Independent Online
A visiting goalkeeper has been shot by home fans. Not in South America, but near Southampton. Mark East was playing in an important Hampshire League match for Broughton at Paulsgrove when the shooting occurred.

'The first thing I knew about it was when a pellet whizzed past my legs,' East, a 20-year-old warehouseman, said. 'I was trying to attract the attention of the referee when another shot was fired, which went straight into my arm. I was too busy worrying about shots on goal to notice someone shooting a gun at me from behind the pitch. The Paulsgrove fans had been giving me some stick but I didn't expect anything like this.'

East was hit in the arm, but the thick padding on his goalkeeper's top prevented serious harm. Four teenagers ran off as East was carried off, the game finishing 0-0 with a sub in Broughton's goal. Local police and the Hampshire FA are investigating. 'This incident has very serious implications,' the FA's Mike Tucker said. 'We will be hearing from the two teams and the referee at a special meeting. You can't go round shooting goalkeepers without expecting someone to complain.'

TOMMY WRIGHT, Newcastle United's commanding goalkeeper, has one of the strongest Irish accents in football. He also possesses an impressive measure of diplomacy. After turning out for Glenn Hoddle's First Division all-stars against the Italians, he was asked whether his sterling performance had improved his chances of an England call-up. Wright's reply was the model of good manners, the Northern Ireland international answering that he didn't think he quite figured in Graham Taylor's set-up.

BOTH Mark Pembridge, of Derby, and Arsenal's Anders Limpar came on to the English scene in the '90-91 season, and there has been little love lost in their meetings since. Even before the midweek tangle at the Baseball Ground, there was a history of ill-feeling between the two internationals.

Last season at Highbury, the Swedish winger was sent off for elbowing Pembridge, then with Luton. The return fixture at Kenilworth Road on, appropriately, Boxing Day, was no less eventful, Limpar breaking his jaw in the first minute after an accidental, but shuddering, collision with the three stripes on the Welshman's boot. A fixture pile-up has delayed the next Pembridge-Limpar reunion until December. But will there be any seasonal goodwill?

PSYCHOS I and II. . . the Beeb linked the two nicely on Tuesday night. Philip Law, from Cuffley, in Hertfordshire, spotted that a trailer for the movie Psycho immediately followed Stuart Pearce's appearance on A Question of Sport.

WHO are the most intriguing individuals in England's World Cup qualifying group? San Marino's shop-assistants? The Netherlands' Milanese? No, it's the referees. This month saw Arturo Brizio Carter, a Mexican, officiate England's tie with Norway, and Ali Bujsaim, from the United Arab Emirates, take charge of Turkey's midweek success over San Marino - the first time non-Europeans have refereed World Cup qualifiers between European nations.

PIERRE PETRY, Luxembourg's maths-teaching, slide-rule passing sweeper, withdrew from a midweek match in Moscow because his wife was due to give birth. 'Petry didn't do his calculations properly,' the coach, Paul Philipp, was quoted as saying by a Luxembourg federation official. 'It was said jokingly, but Philipp wasn't too happy.'

The Aberlour Malt Whisky for obscure statistic of the week goes to Lewis Baker, of Manchester, for this . . .

'Of the 19 'United' teams playing over the weekend in the English, Scottish and GM Conference leagues, only Scunthorpe United and Carlisle United could win - the teams they beat . . . Colchester United and Torquay United. None of the eight 'Towns' lost.'

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