Football Diary: Wright's right to peerage

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The Independent Online
CUP I . . . The Kop has had its kings and Parkhead its princes - now Arsenal want a lord. A real one. In response to John Major's new Honours initiative Gunners fans are campaigning to have their premier striker ennobled as 'Lord Ian Wright of Highbury'. Copies of the following form are being distributed:

'Dear Mr Major,

I would like to nominate Ian Wright for a life peerage for his services to Arsenal FC, English football, and for keeping sports journalists off the dole.

Yours sincerely . . .'

'That'll make refs think twice before booking him,' Ian Macpherson, of the Independent Arsenal Supporters Association, said. 'And the ref will have to call him Sir.' Don't they always?

IF players were punters (and perish the thought), who would nap which nag in today's Grand National? Some suggestions: Joyful Noise (Dave Bassett); Bonanza Boy (Ryan Giggs); Wont Be Gone Long (English clubs in Europe 92/93); Sure Metal (Neil Ruddock); The Committee (Spurs' management); Formula One (Jan Molby); Direct (Wimbledon); Captain Dibble (Andy of that ilk); Romany King (Terry Hurlock); Royle Speedmaster (Neil Adams); On The Other Hand (Tony Adams); Riverside Boy (Jimmy Hill).

CUP II . . . Wednesday have Heaven on their side. Well, Heaven 17 at any rate. Martin Ware, the driving force behind the Sheffield band who brought you 'Temptation' and other up-tempo gems, has produced a new single - 'If it's Wednesday It Must Be Wembley'. Sung by Tricky Dicky of 'EastEnders', (the actor Ian Reddington, another Owl), the song represents, according to Virgin, 'a catchy rebel (or rabble?) rousing chant, which terrace fans everywhere can relate to'. Unless they're Unitedites.

A POLICY of 'find us keepers' is in operation at the Vauxhall Conference clubs Altrincham and Kettering Town. Last weekend Kettering fielded their No 8 No 1 of the season while Alty gave a debut to their sixth. The Conference reports that 'the two clubs now claim unenviable ratios of a new goalkeeper every 4.38 games at Kettering Town and 5.66 games at Altrincham'.

CUP III . . . It's an expensive business being a fan. Take the case of one group of Spurs supporters. They thought: 'Let's make it a good day out at Wembley tomorrow, and have a top-flight bite beforehand'. Nearest venue: Wembley Hilton National and pounds 35 a head for champagne brunch (champagne extra). Add that to parking ( pounds 6), programme ( pounds 4) plus ticket which, if you failed to get face value, were retailing through agencies yesterday from pounds 65- pounds 100 ('right next to the Royal Box') and 90 minutes could set you back close to pounds 150. Plus petrol.

THE Lambada, the Can-Can, and the Telephone Tango are now banned as post-goal dances in Brazil. Flamengo's Moulin Rouge twirl and Corinthians' kangaroo hopping have driven the Brazilian FA to demand restraint. So, farewell, then the Telephone Celebration, in which the scorer picks up the public telephone which most stadiums have behind the goal and pretends to dial a number.

CUP IV . . . Dave Bassett will soon be celebrating a Wembley final win. Guaranteed. On the day Sheffield Wednesday meet Arsenal for the Coca-Cola Cup, the Blades' boss has agreed to turn out for his old club, Walton and Hersham (ex-president: Sir Stanley Matthews), at their Stompond Lane ground in a rerun of the 1973 FA Amateur Cup final against Slough Town. Bassett was booked early on at Wembley and revealed this week how he was nearly dismissed after a later foul. 'The ref called me over and said 'you're lucky it's Wembley'.' A portent?

THE bottle of Aberlour Malt for freak fact of the week goes to Dr David Lowry, of London, for this . . .

'Dai Rees's second sending-off of the season for Afan Lido (again against Newtown) in the Konica League of Wales sounds like a bizarrely unique coincidence - a player-manager, sent off twice in a season against the same side, both times after coming on as a sub.'

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