Football Diary: Giggs' guide to music

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RYAN GIGGS has already inspired one song ('when you go down the wing, my heart begins to sing') but what of the man's own musical tastes. In the current Manchester United Magazine, Giggs is quizzed on his pop picks. His favourite female singer is one Mary J Blige, a hip American soulster in the Chaka Khan mould; his fave male vocalist is Prince; his first record bought was 'Uptown Girl' by Billy Joel; and his 'Karaoke Classic' is 'It's Not Unusual' by fellow-Welshman Tom Jones.

The question, 'Which song would you like to run out on the pitch to?', provoked the best responses from United players. Mark Hughes selected '2001: A Space Odyssey' (presumably out of a desire to be over the moon at the end of the season), Steve Bruce wanted the Rocky theme while Gary Pallister set the pulse racing with 'Land of Hope and Glory'. Giggs chose 'Wild Thing' by The Troggs. The spirit of George Best lives on in more ways than one . . .

BERTI VOGTS'S admission that he turns to Chancellor Helmut Kohl for advice is intriguing. Does Kohl seek the German manager's good counsel? Here are Kohl's new ministers (as voted in by Vogts): Information: Reuter. Industry: Matthaus. Ballet: Klinsmann. Waste: Binz. Youth: Doll. Defence: Brehme. Diplomacy: Voller. Plus posts for Vogt's premier keepers? Police: Kopke. Health: Illgner.

HOURS after the Manchester City disturbance, the singer Billy Eckstine died in Pittsburgh. The band leader and balladeer is best remembered for his versions of 'Blue Moon' and 'Fools Rush In'. Old and new City songs.

BEFORE departing to defend (briefly) their world title, the cream of Portugal's youth footballers were asked to name their favourite players. The top guys were Van Basten, Gullit, Maradona, Futre and Baresi. Plus one Englishman. Gazza? No. Lineker? No. Come on down, Paul Parker, a legend in Lisbon.

CHELSEA'S 'Easter Soccer Special' at Paddington Rec in London has great prizes, including 'a certificate signed by Ian Porterfield for every player'. A collector's item?

WHEN Giuseppe Ciarrapico, Roma's president, heard the news that his team had ended Milan's run he had to congratulate them. There was one problem. Ciarrapico was in a hospital bed awaiting a medical. No worries; he simply hailed a taxi and sped to the Olympic stadium. In his pyjamas.

INSTEAD of attending drama school, budding board-treaders are urged to enter the thespian academy that is the Vauxhall Conference. Roles so far this season include: a Flora ad (Bath City's first team), a NatWest ad (Welling), a feature film Born Kicking (four Woking players, one even had lines), an episode of Casualty (Bath's striker Adie Mings portrayed a rugby player), while Dennis Greene, the Wycombe Wanderers forward, is on London's stand-up comedian circuit.

ADWICK FC have snuff all over their shirts. They do. Honest. The south Yorkshire sunday side have just signed a sponsorship deal with snuff-makers McChrystal's of Leicester because so many of the players have a nose for it.

JOSEPH GREEN, a four-year-old Leeds fan, threw a wobbler when told he was off to meet David Batty. Green refused to appear before his hero without the appropriate hair-cut, so his mother agreed to him stopping off on the way for a Batty-style crew-cut number. Joe was all smiles when he was introduced to Batty at a launch for, what else, Uhlsport shin-pads.

THE bottle of Aberlour Malt for freak fact of the week goes to Rev Peter Sheridan, of Leeds, for this:

'Tradesmen were well represented last weekend: Butcher, Baker, Barber, Draper, Butler, Taylor, Porter, Shearer, Cooper, Miller, Dyer. Subs: Wright, Pitcher. You could have had a Crook - but is that a trade?'

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