Football Diary: Life's a beach for Walker

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The Independent Online
NORWICH'S players will watch the Cup final in a pub. In the Cayman Islands. The Canaries, who lost to a bunch of Jamaican part-timers in midweek, will gather at the Hog Sty Bay Cafe (Canary Cocktails on the house) for a game which could send them to Europe. But the manager will not be there. 'My watching makes no difference to the result,' Mike Walker said. 'I shall be on the beach.'

WEDNESDAY will have Giuseppe Verdi on their side today. The Owls' march to Wembley has been accompanied by Verdi's March from Aida, which the fans have been singing since they heard their Kaiserslautern counterparts blasting it out. One Owl, John Wilson, has even produced a single where Covent Garden meets Hillsborough amid a sea of raucous cup commentaries - it's proved one of the fastest selling cassettes in south Yorkshire.

FOR most players, protection on the park means shin-pads. But not now; Goya, an ozone-friendly, oppo-pleasing deodorant, has just been introduced for the footballer who likes the smell of success, pine-tinged forests and Nordic waterfalls to waft behind him when he glides across the field. But it's not just for the professionals: those 'participating in some vigorous cheering from the terraces' will appreciate it's defensive capabilities according to the full-page ad in 90 Minutes. Goya's squad for pro 'n punter includes: 'Havana . . . ideal for special occasions' (Cup finals and summons to Lancaster Gate); 'Cadiz . . . perfect for daytime use' (Saturday games and trips to the bookies); 'Lorient . . . perfect for warm, summer days' (post-season tours to the Cayman Islands) and 'Sapporo . . . for those intimate moments' (being booked or marked by Vinnie Jones). Roll on next season.

IT'S Tipp-Ex Time at KLM, worthy sponsors of Brentford. The Dutch airline has just given the code-sign PH-BFC to its latest Jumbo in celebration of the Phil Holder-inspired Third Division championship success last year.

HAVING made their mark on the Premier League, Manchester United immediately made their mark on the new Gerrards-designed trophy. The cup has taken a bit of a knock. 'Only the base was damaged - not the precious metal bits,' an Old Trafford official said. Another United VIP said: 'It's an aesthetic trophy - but totally impractical with its lift-off crown. But we'd be happy with an egg cup.'

NO WONDER Martin O'Neill wants to stay at Adams Park - Wycombe Wanderers have a burgeoning reputation for possessing the best manners in the land, as Halifax and Northwich discovered. The Shaymen's mood at being relegated to the Conference was lightened slightly on Monday morning when they received a call from a Wycombe fan not only offering profusive commiserations, but adding that they were bound to bounce back pronto. Northwich's switchboard was even busier, with 40 Chairboys on the blower to congratulate the Vics, who had just beaten them in the Drinkwise Cup.

EUROVISION night tonight, and it's a surprise that Uefa, normally so keen on amending its tournaments, has not thought of incorporating the European Cup into the annual singalong. In next year's Eurovision Cup contest, old songs could be revived by new singers: Eric Cantona reworking the French 1962 winner 'Un Premier Amour'; Wimbledon remixing Lulu's 'Boom-Bang-A-Bang'; Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins with 'I'm Never Giving Up' (sixth for GB in '83); and, of course, not forgetting Claudio Caniggia dueting with Diego Maradona on 'Looking High, High, High' (GB's 1960 entry).

STATS LIFE

THE bottle of Aberlour Malt for the final alternative statistic goes to Bristol's Richard Webber for this . . .

'If you took, from last Saturday's games, the Huddersfield keeper, Shrewsbury's right-back, Lincoln's left-back, Mansfield's No 4, the Bristol Rovers No 5, Dundee United's No 6, Gillingham's No 7, Walsall's No 8, Hamilton's scorer, Clyde's scorer and switched Chelsea's No 6 to the left wing, the resultant team would read: Clarke; Clark, Clarke, Clarke, Clark, Clark, Clark, Clarke, Clark, Clarke, Clarke.'

With Forest's Clark as the new manager. Thanks to everyone who sent in freak facts or letters. The Football Diary returns next season.

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