Football Diary: Wolves' fruity drama

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The Independent Online
WOLVES play host to Oxford United today, and woe betide any visiting fans trying to smuggle fruit into Molineux. Back in August, three Wolves supporters - two bearing apples, one carrying a pair of plums - were told by Oxford stewards that they could not enter the Manor Ground because the fruits were potentially offensive weapons. When pressed on the dangerous qualities of Granny Smiths and Damsons, the officials argued that Stanley knife blades could be pressed into the round comestibles and then thrown.

After some debate (including the suggestion that the fans could pick up the fruit after the match), common sense prevailed and the fruit fiends (plus plums and apples) were allowed in. On the Monday the Applegate Two complained to Oxford, who, commendably, apologised and offered them free tickets to any game. The Manor missive (on '100 per cent recycled paper') was printed in the Wolves fanzine 'A Load of Bull', which suggested 'that every Wolves fan takes along a piece of fruit to the match next season, preferably a big one like a melon or a pumpkin or a marrow (fruit? - ed), and hands it in to the stewards and demands they put it in a place of safekeeping until the end of the match'. All together: 'Stevie Bull's Fruit 'N' Veg Army.'

TO ALL fans harbouring suspicions that there are snakes in the boardroom, here's proof. Burnham, of the Beazer Homes League, have a python in theirs. Not a stuffed one, or a painting - this python is the full Monty. Rosie, a 5ft Royal, arrived at Wymers Wood Road (near England's pre-Wembley retreat) as part of a sponsorship deal with Rep-Tech, the Buckinghamshire town's leading supplier of exotic reptiles. She spends her life dozing in her boardroom vivarium, waking when handled or to knock back the odd dead mouse. Rosie was not the only surprise signing. 'A scorpion also appeared half- way through the deal-making,' Neil Young, Burnham's commercial manager, revealed yesterday.

WE'VE had Brian Moore's Head, Shagging Magpies, Killer Penguins, a Deranged Ferret, and a Grorty Dick but what is the tale behind the name of the brand new Sheffield Wednesday fanzine, 'War of the Monster Trucks'? Wednesday worshippers often grumble that Yorkshire TV is interested only in life at Elland Road and have nicknamed the channel Leeds TV. But surely, Owls fans felt, when Wednesday beat Manchester United in the League Cup final two years ago, the station would indulge in some glorifying post-match analysis. The Trucks' driving force takes up the story: 'Then something occured which I could not believe. Elton Welsby said: 'Most ITV regions will be back for the post- match celebrations'. TV announcer: 'and now on Yorkshire . . . War of the Monster Trucks'.' A crashing disappointment.

THE great smell of success at Newcastle United has prompted Tynesider John Appleby to send in the following puzzle. Q: Which five past or present Newcastle footballers have advertised Brut? (Answer at bottom.)

VANISHING hospital beds have dominated the news this week, but big-hearted Big Ron has other ideas. Atkinson is so keen to fill Villa Park with noisy fans that the club has promised to donate three beds to a local children's hospital if today's gate for Everton's visit hits 30,000. Nurses at the Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield have already voted Villa 'champions'.

STATS LIFE:The bottle of Aberlour Malt Whisky for alternative statistic of the week goes to Terry Mullin, of Barnsley, for the following . . .

'Four ex-US presidents were on the field for Port Vale's match with Swansea. For Vale: (Zachary) Taylor (12th president). For Swansea: (Rutherford) Hayes (19th) and (Gerald) Ford (38th). Plus the referee: (Benjamin) Harrison (23rd).

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

BRUT ANSWER: Keegan, Gascoigne and Kelly Lee Brock.