Football Diary: Stairway to the stars

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GLADYS PROTHEROE, a Watford pensioner with a penchant for advising stars on how to run their clubs and lives, has just heard from Lancaster Gate that her application for FA Personnel Manager was unsuccessful. Her letter might not have helped.

'I envisage spending, say, 25 per cent of my day dealing with the more mundane clerical duties (employing my drinking friends, sacking deadbeats and subversives) and the rest working closely with Mr Graham Taylor. This would mean travelling abroad a great deal, taking in such games as Bermuda v Haiti. I would then report back to Mr Taylor on their strengths and weaknesses.

'I would imagine after, say, three months Mr Taylor would give me more and more responsibility for running the national team, with me taking over fully by autumn 1993. . . As far as my salary goes, I'll have the same as Mr Taylor.' Protheroe, alias Simon Cheetham, of the fanzine The Watford Book Of Soccer, has offered her services to many: Glenn Hoddle (hypnotism, to cure a pulled muscle); Peter Reid (selling anti-grey hair- gel); David Pleat and Terry Butcher (exhorting the joys of Buddhist chanting). Letters and (invariably polite) replies are all in Bra] The Collected Works of Gladys Protheroe, out now.

WEST HAM fans have always enjoyed taking the proverbial out of Manchester United, a predilection encouraged by Paul Ince's move to Old Trafford. Despite the Reds' revival, the leg-pulling from the Chicken Run continues. The latest teaser in the West Ham fanzine, On A Mission From God, runs. . .

'Q: What is the difference between Windsor Castle and Man United?

A: You can rebuild Windsor Castle properly for only pounds 60m.'

THE SELECTION of a Lilleshall Alumni XI (last week's diary) prompted Malcolm Berry, the chief executive of the English Schools' FA, to respond with an ESFA side. 'It is a team picked from players who have represented England at schoolboy level and have now progressed into the professional - without the benefits of the FA National School.'

ESFA XI: Pressman (Derbyshire Schools and Sheffield Wednesday); Jackson (Bedfordshire Schools and Everton), Wright (Tameside Schools and Blackburn Rovers), Awford (Worcester Schools and Portsmouth), Atherton (Wigan Schools and Coventry City), Atkins (South Yorkshire Schools and Blackburn Rovers), Clark (Newcastle Schools and Newcastle United), Redknapp (Bournemouth Schools and Liverpool), Black (Bedfordshire Schools and Nottingham Forest), Giggs (Salford Schools and Manchester United), Stewart (Bristol Schools and Bristol Rovers).

LEGAL eagles at Tannadice. . . The rival No 11s in the Dundee United v Aberdeen match last week were (Mark) Perry and (Paul) Mason.

THE HEADLINE in the Tresco Island Newsletter said it all - 'OIKs Soccer Sensation'. No, not a tale of raging yobs in the Scillies, but news of the first-ever goal scored by OIKs - the Off-Island Kickers FC, who beat Rovers 3-1 on the main island, St Mary's. Thanks to Tresco's Richard Barber for a Newsletter clipping that reveals all: 'St Mary's has the smallest League in the world (2 teams) and the smallest 'gate' (1 man) who sits in his own portable grandstand; it qualifies under the Taylor Report as an all-seater stadium.'

NORWICH'S fame knows no boundaries. Following the news last week about the recently formed Islamabad (Pakistan) Norwich Supporters Club, Sue Prutton writes from Canaryville to relate an experience she had in a tiny village on the Adriatic island of Hvar: 'My husband's spectacle case lay on the table with the optician's name and address embossed on it. As the waiter served us, he said: 'Up the Canaries'. We were staggered.'


The bottle of Aberlour Malt for alternative fact of the week goes to Robin Taylor, of Wokingham, Berkshire, for this . . .

'The mascots at the Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest Premier League game were Lee Aston (Villa) and Aaron Sherwood (Forest).

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