RICK PARRY, the embattled Premier League chief executive, yesterday appealed for top clubs to stop 'bickering over money'. (That'll be the day.) In an article headlined 'Don't knock the Premier League yet]' published in every Premier programme, he called for peace and also asked fans, thousands of whom have deserted the game this season, to keep supporting the League. A questionnaire will assess fans' attitudes to facilities and whether they are getting 'value for money'. Falling attendances would suggest not, though Parry blames the dip in gates on the recession and rebuilding work at large grounds.
LIVERPOOL'S excessively modest Premier League form notwithstanding, their match against Manchester United at Old Trafford this afternoon promises as much red-hot grappling as a Madonna video and only fractionally less television hype. 'You have got to get stuck in early,' Liverpool defender Steve Nicol said of United games. Or perhaps he meant the Madonna videos. 'You go for tackles you would not normally go for, balls you don't really have a chance of winning. You are so fired up by the occasion.' United manager Alex Ferguson agrees: 'I don't need to motivate my players for this one.' Last season Liverpool beat United in the penultimate game, allowing Leeds to win the title. The squeamish might prefer Channel 4's mouthwatering Italian alternative: record-chasing champions AC Milan entertain Lazio and Gazza.
TODAY'S other big British game is the north-east derby at Roker Park where struggling Sunderland entertain Kevin Keegan's rampant Newcastle, who have not won there for 36 years. Sunderland boss Malcolm Crosby does not want for optimism. 'We are lucky in that we have a great opportunity to get last week's result (humbled 6-0 at West Ham) out of the system by playing Newcastle.'
THREE one-nils tell yesterday's Second Division story. West Brom's slump continued apace when they lost at Wigan to Chris Makin's goal. Hartlepool missed the chance to go top, beaten at home by the Mark Harris goal which sent Swansea third. So step forward Ricky Otto, scorer of Leyton Orient's 77th minute winner against Bournemouth at Brisbane Road which made them table-toppers.
SYMMETRY, too, at the top of Division Three where the top three scored three. York and Barnet were comfortable 3-0 home winners but Scarborough had a fright at Darlington despite going ahead through a Darren Foreman goal after 16 seconds. Eleven minutes from time, Ian Juryeff brought it back to 3-2 but 'Boro held on.
HERETICS recanted at Thames and TVS yesterday when both announced that they would after all carry live coverage of the European Cup second round first leg match between Leeds United and Glasgow Rangers on Wednesday.Reuse content