Football Diary: Cure for taints and sinners

Click to follow
THE sin bin could soon have a place in football if the game's international governing bodies take up suggestions put to them by leading European coaches, who this week attended a two-day convention organised by Andy Roxburgh in his new role as Uefa's technical director. The 10-minute exclusion of players shown the yellow card, which was among ideas generated by the coaches' discussion, was supported by Terry Venables. 'If a recommendation improves the game then I would be all in favour of it.'

Fifa, the world game's governing body, will put the suggestion to the Taskforce 2000 group responsible for innovative changes to the game.

JUST when it seemed that nicknames to match the likes of Inchy, Choccy, Sparky and Psycho were being replaced by simple plays on surnames, along come Port Vale with some monikers to rival the best. Andy Porter, the Vale midfielder, is known as 'Goober' after a porter in the hospital soap St Elsewhere. Dutch keeper Arjan Van Heusden was dubbed 'Jigsaw Man' when he arrived because he kept going to pieces, and Kevin Kent, once plain 'Kenty', is now 'Manager's Son' because, an out-of-favour colleague explained, 'he's so popular with the gaffer'.

ROBERTO BAGGIO may have the nattiest ponytail on the international circuit, though with less to work on, Bryan Gunn ran him close last season. The Scot dispensed with the hairstyle after it became clear it was not to be an FA Cup talisman, but the attention it attracted is amusingly recalled in a new book. David Chisnell's Gunny: A Year in the Life of Bryan Gunn * is a good read in aid of an excellent cause. Fifty per cent of profits will go to the keeper's appeal for leukaemia research, for which he has worked tirelessly since the death of his daughter, Francesca.

* pounds 8.99 (incl p & p) from Parrot Publishing, 7 Steward Close, Wymondham, Norfolk.

FOOTBALL on television almost every night of the week now that European games are spread over three days is not everyone's idea of fun. Rome restaurateurs are complaining that too many people prefer Calcio Milanese to Spaghetti Bolognese and are not coming out to eat. Business is suffering.

NORWICH's manager, John Deehan, spoke out for the old school of fair play after his side's 2-1 victory at Ipswich last Monday when post-match questions centred on the TV camera's view of two penalty awards in the match. Deehan thought there was too much frame-by-frame analysis and referees' split-second decisions should simply be accepted. The interview over, though, Deehan asked Sky TV's commentator Ian Darke if the video showed whether an Ian Crook shot had come down off the crossbar behind the line and should have been a goal.

GARETH JONES has proved there is some real value in spending your time watching football. The Stockport County fan armed himself with a tape recorder to gather songs for a research project called 'Football Songs, A Way of Life or Just a Passing Trend' and he was rewarded with a music degree from Anglia University. 'I thought there was a chance the signing would die out after the Taylor Report,' he said. 'On the terraces no one knew who started the singing. Now stadiums are all-seater everyone can point at the fat bloke who starts it all off.' And, presumably, the fat lady who wraps it all up.

The Milliner's XI proved testing but from the usual supply of inventive entries the winner of the Wild Turkey Bourbon was Katherine Wilkinson, of Kent, with:

Milliner's XI: Peter BONNETTI; Earl BARRETT, Mark BOWEN, PATTE van den Hauwe, Julian DARBY, S HATTON (Linfield), Gerard BOWLER (Hull), Sir Matt BUSBY, Trevor PEAKE, Mark HATELEY, John FASHIONU.

Next week: A Chef's XI. Entries to: Team Spirit, Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, EC1Y 2DB.