Football Diary: Selhurst explosion ahead

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TANGOMANIA is spreading. The craze started in Butch Wilkins' mouth, Ray of the Rangers providing the voice-over for the fizzy- drink commercial. Sheffield Wednesday's Kop were next to take a taste, ritually saluting Tangoman, their gargantuan shirtless fan who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tango's Orangeman. Now comes another Hillsborough habitue - Diet-Tangoman, a slimmer version of Tangoman. Tango's terrace link, which owners Britvic admitted yesterday they were unaware of despite having London offices on White Hart Lane, is set to extend further, following the filming of a new ad by Tango's agency, Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, at Selhurst Park. 'An ordinary chap is watching a match and his head explodes,' HHCL's Dominic Field said yesterday. Must have been a Blackburn fan at the Wimbledon game.

OLDHAM'S ticket sales for Wembley have been going surprisingly well, given the cost and distance, but back in the Latics' first season in the League, 1910-11, some supporters were not so keen to contribute. Oldham, noticing that entrance income was not following the rise in crowd numbers, deployed a man to watch the turnstiles. He was shocked to observe that hundreds of grown men were marching brazenly through the boys' portals. A notice appeared for the next game: 'Boys enter here - Admission 3d. Boys with whiskers next turnstile up - Admission 6d'. Receipts soared to predicted levels.

TO ASSIST their multi-national defence, the Linguistics Department of Blues' top-flight fanzine, Chelsea Independent, has printed an English / Danish / Russian / Norwegian phrasebook which will be compulsory reading in one Wembley dressing-room today. Beginning with the basics such as 'Mine' ('Min]' if Kjeldbjerg is going for it, but does not want the ref to object), 'Yours' ('Din]' if Kjeldbjerg wants Johnsen to go for it) and 'Keeper', it also addresses vital Chelsea shouts - 'Whose was that?' ('Komy?' for Kharin), 'Wake Up]' ('Vakn Opp]' for Johnsen) and 'Thank God for Frankie]' for the saviour Sinclair.

SHOWADDYWADDY never played Wembley stadium, but their offspring, Dion Dublin and Scott Oakes, headline there this weekend. Chelsea, like Luton and United, boast their own musical links, but what of unsung Oldham? 'I can't think of any,' a Latic official said, before checking. Tuneful Latic-lovers he did unearth were the Inspiral Carpets, whose latest album Devilhopping may be a hopeful reference to the Red Devils, and the Welsh National Opera's Jeffrey Lawton. Non-singing fans include characters in Brookside and Coronation Street, plus TV public-affairs watchdog John Stapleton and Tory public-morals watchdog Geoffrey Dickens.

SUNDERLAND'S Don Goodman, dismissed 21 minutes after coming on as a sub at Millwall in midweek, had an interesting write-up in the Den programme: 'Goodman is one of those players who always seems to do well against Millwall.'

BERLIN is off, but Munich is very much on for another English football production, featuring players from Leeds. Not Deano and Dorigo but tenors and sopranos: Opera North's Playing Away, a Faustian epic about a pro who agrees a dangerous career-enhancing pact with a devil referee, premieres in Munich on 19 May. Katy Turner, of Opera North, hopes 'it will break down barriers surrounding opera', a desire that will see the company advertise in Elland Road programmes and When Saturday Comes. Opera North's chorus is currently sweating away in a Leeds gym.

Stats Life

THE bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon for freak fact of the week goes to to Patrick Harris, of Bristol, for the following . . .

'Every away win in the English League on Saturday ended in the same score: Coventry 1 Wimbledon 2; Liverpool 1 Sheffield United 2; Norwich 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2; Bury 1 Walsall 2; Northampton 1 Gillingham 2.'

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