Football Diary: Perryman sparkles at the bar

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TAKE five managers - Jim Smith, Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Steve Perryman and Ron Atkinson - and see how many times they can hit the crossbar with 49 attempts each from the edge of the area. Who would win? Peter Shreeves, the Wales coach, found out when he conducted a charity fundraiser called the Everest Challenge. 'I would have backed Glenn Hoddle to do it in a doddle,' Shreeves said. 'But he managed only 14 - although he was using alternate feet.'

Swindon's finest was beaten only by Perryman, who shook the Vicarage Road bar 16 times - a strike rate of almost one in three. At The Hawthorns another ex-Spur, Ardiles, matched Hoddle's tally while Smith was a point behind at Fratton Park. Up in Brum, Big Ron was in big trouble. A wind nipped in, ruined his aim and he finished with six.

THE halo of another Midlands hero is slipping. When Steve Bull turned out for England, legions of Wolves fans roared him on. Bully's fame grew with every game. He inspired a fanzine ('A Load Of Bull'), countless T-shirts, innumerable haircuts. But when the 450 votes for Player of the Year were counted at the Hatherton Branch of Wolves' Supporters' Club it transpired that not one had been cast for Bull, who is again top scorer and has traditionally monopolised the award. Curiously, Molineux's centre-half, Rob Hindmarch, polled one vote despite languishing in the reserves since 1991 - the annual gesture of a Wolves fan grateful for his last-ditch equaliser against West Brom two years ago.

BRENTFORD may be struggling, but their wonderful fanzine Beesotted is going from strength to strength. The current issue addresses the problem of a fan taking prospective partners to matches to test their devotion. Tina did well until 'she asked what team was Brentford at half-time'; Sally never forgave Mr Bee for continuing to Griffin Park after denting her car on the way; Paula received the red card for being only five foot ('we were expecting large crowds so having a midget for a girlfriend was out of the question'); the lady who responded to the ultimate chat-up line 'What about coming to Wigan on a Tuesday night?' with 'How exciting, I haven't been to Kent for ages'; and the Brazilian woman who refused to be called Zico but still lasted six months. Unreconstructed but irresistible.

Beesotted (80p), normal outlets, and 323 Staines Road, West Ashford Common, Middlesex TW151RS (plus p/p).

MARK BEENEY'S greatest save of the season - saving debt-ridden Brighton by moving to Leeds for an initial pounds 350,000 - had a certain irony to it when one considers the keeper's previous clubs - Maidstone United and Aldershot.

ON the train back from Wimbledon, where Forest had lost 1-0 last Saturday, two footsoldiers of Brian Clough's red-and-white army were overheard debating the possible ways they might stay up: 'Perhaps we'll manage to finish third from bottom and then some club will win the play- offs only to be found guilty of fraud and the FA will decide only to have two clubs going up.' 'Has anyone heard of any other desperate claims,' writes Roger Woodgate, of Wellingborough. Entries to normal address.

NOT everyone has stopped backing Aston Villa. At a packed Bonhams auction house in Honiton, Devon, yesterday the world's largest collection of programmes went under the hammer - and Villa made a real impact. The sale raised pounds 25,000, a figure inflated beyond expectation by Lot 32: Villa's first programme, a 1906 gem was bought by a private collector for pounds 1,000, 10 times more than its estimate and an auction record. Appropriately, given Villa's midweek misery, it was for the visit of Blackburn Rovers.


THE bottle of Aberlour Malt for freak fact of the week goes to Ken MacAskill, of Edinburgh, for the following . . .

'A culinary XI turned out last Saturday: Butter (Alloa) or Fridge (St Mirren); Baker (St Mirren), Scales (Wimbledon), Rice (Falkirk), Berry (Hearts), Pepper (York), Lemon (Chesterfield), Crabbe (Dundee Utd), Butler (West Ham), Lamb (Gateshead), Banger (Southampton). Subs: Rennie (Coventry), Andrews (Southampton). Manager: Beaton (East Fife).

More malt next week. All freak facts to Football Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.