Football Diary: Blue may not be the colour

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CLUB Picassos will be busy with the paint-brushes next week, following today's release of a Football Association survey about the impact of dressing-room colours on a team's performance. The best hues for home walls are orange which 'inspire uninhibited, physical drive', according to Lancaster Gate's magazine, FC. Yellow 'gives a sense of intelligence' to players while blue promotes creativity and red a raw feeling of power. Manchester United's changing-room must be a regular kaleidoscope.

To reduce the opposition's effectiveness, colour consultants advocate black (depressing) or brown (sluggish). Be careful with pink, though. Torquay painted their home quarters an aggressive blue, which increased commitment, but altering the away area to an over-relaxing pink backfired as visitors came out so composed they were able to channel their adrenalin constructively.

GLASGOW University's Celtic Supporters' Club invited Tommy Burns over for, of course, the

recent Burns Night. To honour the ex-Bhoys midfielder's involvement in the Scotland B set-up, the students bought him 'The Complete Works of Robbie Burns'. As it was presented the Parkhead scholars, so imbued with terrace disaffection, broke into 'Sack The Bard'.

DELWYN HUMPHREYS, Kidderminster's somersaulting goalscorer, represents England's semi- pros against Wales on Tuesday but a few years back the Welsh FA, aroused by the talented striker's Christian name, contacted him about playing for them. No chance. Del's dad was simply a great fan of Del Shannon, he of Runaway fame.

NATIONAL stereotyping: after a recent Madrid derby four Atletico skins beat up a Colombian photographer - because he did not have any cocaine on him.

TO STOP Fergie's Big Red Machine tomorrow, Wimbledon considered tying up Eric Cantona and hijacking United's coach. But the Dons have acquired a model weapon to inspire them: a photo of local girl Naomi Campbell. For couture junkies, the queen of Streatham is depicted in Vivienne Westwood kit, tripping on a catwalk. But will United stumble?

OVERHEARD on the Aston Villa end at Prenton Park on Wednesday as news filtered through that the Birmingham 'poaching' commission had gone into extra time: 'They've awarded Blues nine points,' one straight-faced fan told his neighbour, 'as compensation for appointing Barry Fry . . .'

AFTER completing his daily round last week, Welling United's Middlesbrough-supporting postie was solemnly informed by work-mates that Lennie Lawrence had resigned. Suitably gutted, he rushed back to the Park View Road stadium to see if they could verify the news about Likeable Lennie. Graham Hobbins, Welling's general manager, administered a calming cuppa before picking up the phone and dialling Ayresome Park. 'Lennie,' Hobbins said, 'our postman wants to know - have you resigned?' 'No,' came the answer - to the delight of Welling's mail man.

STRANGE, but true: Eddie McGoldrick is Arsenal's most expensive player - at pounds 17.88. Any adult wanting McGoldrick's name and No 11 on the back of his ( pounds 32.99) shirt will need to fork out - calculator ready? - two times pounds 3.99 per number plus 10 times 99p per letter equals pounds 17.88. For those economically minded Gooners, your heroes should be Dixon, Davis or Adams, a snip at pounds 8.94 each.

THE bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon for freak fact of the week goes to Sophie Sparrow, from Bethnal Green, for this:

'While I sat in Carrow Road, losing all feeling in my hands and feet as Arsenal drew with Norwich on a bitterly cold afternoon, the 'Arsenal Stadium Mystery' was playing in the warmth of the local art-house cinema. Surely, due to the combination of the bizarre programming schedules of Sky and the coincidence of the football film season at Cinema City, this must be the first and probably last time both Arsenal and their famous film have been on show in a provincial city at exactly the same time (5 pm starts).'

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

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