Football: Football Diary: Black to the fuschia

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The Independent Online
THOSE pink (officially fuschia), silver and gold (officially yellow) outfits for referees at the 1994 World Cup were unveiled in Dallas this week at a seminar for match officials, where fashion victims from France, Italy and Germany who usually blow whistles rather than attract them dutifully paraded next season's collection. 'We reached a full consensus that referees should also be adapted to our times and our times are colourful times,' said that colourful General Secretary of Fifa, Joseph Blatter. 'The man in black will not be in black any longer.'

The manufacturer, Adidas, said the new style was 'in keeping with the younger, fitter and more dynamic image projected by this year's tournament officials'. Fifa has introduced new age limits and fitness tests for referees and linesmen.

Why not go the whole hog? Hire Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and her brother Mick and give them a whistle each and a book of rules, once Fifa have decided what those are going to be. Excuse me while I have myself fitted for a sandwich board bearing the words 'The End of the Jamboree is Nigh'.

THERE was an earthquake in Wales this week. Seismologists, who measured the disturbance at 3.1 on the Richter scale, reckon the movement occurred some 12 miles below ground. Could it have been someone from the FA of Wales shifting uneasily in his chair?

IT was a big day for Danny Murphy last Saturday. Liverpool's North- east scout popped along to watch him play for Crewe at Darlington because even though he only reached his 17th birthday yesterday he has already caught the eye after launching his career last year by scoring with his first touch on his debut. Murphy, the nephew of Paul and Ron Futcher, didn't put a foot wrong at Feethams but then he was the player sacrificed to allow the substitute goalkeeper to come on when Crewe's No 1 was dismissed after a record-setting 19 seconds.

THE intensity of the rivalry between Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle is well documented, so it came as no surprise to learn that the Pilgrims went the whole hog in celebrating their first victory at Exeter's St James Park since 1928. Into the club shop went a video of the match and in came the first batch of 'I was there' T-shirts, emblazoned with the 2-3 scoreline, the Pilgrims' line-up and the club name 'Plymouth Aryle FC'. Whoops] A new version, complete with the missing 'g', was ordered as a matter of urgency.

IF Roy Keane joins the ranks of the great unwashed, don't expect too many complaints from his neighbours. He spent part of Thursday in a Manchester studio with his United team-mates and Status Quo recording a single called 'Come On You Reds'. It is a reworking of the veteran rockers' 1988 hit 'Burning Bridges'. Asked what he thought of it all, the Irish midfielder said: 'This is all a bit low-brow for me. I usually sing Nessun Dorma in the bath.'

NOW in his 46th year, the former Ipswich and England captain Mick Mills must have thought his days of playing in top-of-the-table clashes were over. But tomorrow, Mills, who is now Sheffield Wednesday's chief scout, lines up in defence for Hixon & Stowe of the Uttoxeter Sunday League against leaders Plough. Since he joined third-placed H & S five games ago, they have conceded only one goal. They have scored 19, with another new signing, Robbie Law - son of Denis - a regular contributor.

THE result Cowdenbeath 3 Queen of the South 1 might have slipped by most people unnoticed on 25 April 1992, but it is etched on the memory of those hardy fans of 'The Blue Brazil'. It was Cowdenbeath's last home win.

The bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon for freak fact of the week goes to Geoff Lowe of Leyland, Lancs, for being the first to point this out: 'Preston North End's crowd on 12 March was 6,641, exactly the same as the previous home gate on 1 March. In each match Preston scored three times, Tony Kelly scoring two of them.'

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

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